inpiration to write

Finding Inspiration

“You can find inspiration in everything. And if you can’t, look again.” -Paul Smith

By Terry Gassett


I could totally write in an outdoor cafe in Paris. I know I could. Each. And. Every. Day. It would most definitely feed my inspiration.

Inspiration to Write

I can envision the scene perfectly. I have just ordered a cup of Café crème, along with one of those not-so-good-for-you, but oh-so-delicious pastries. Chocolate, of course.

There is a tiny pink rose bud in a crystal vase sitting in the middle of my table. I bend over, gently breathe in its delicate fragrance and lightly run a finger over one of its velvety petals.

People are strolling down the cobblestone path in front of the cafe, doing what people do in Paris: lovers holding hands, ladies meeting up for coffee, men and women browsing the nearby shops.

I decide to go ahead and set up while waiting for my order. First, I pull out my iPad, which is covered in a luxury-purchased pebbled leather case, which was hand dyed by the artisan to the most vibrant color fuchsia I have ever seen! I’ll admit, I purchased it more for its beauty and inspiration than for its functionality. Next, I pull out my favorite Cross writing notebook (in a softer shade of pink) with its accompanying pen.

The waiter arrives soon afterward, holding both my coffee and pastry on a silver tray which he is balancing high above his head with just the tips of his fingers! With expertise, born out of repetition, he quickly transfers my fare to the table and asks me in French Est ce que tout va être madame?”

Ah… such a beautifully inspired setting.

Yes, I am absolutely certain I could find the daily inspiration to write that I crave if living in Paris.

But I don’t live in Paris. I live somewhere else in the world, where the rest of us live, and the senses are not as easily stimulated. And therein lies the challenge for me as a writer; I need inspiration and beauty to write. But inspiration isn’t always a willing participant. And beauty sometimes seems to be playing hide-and-seek.

Sometimes inspiration finds me, other times I must go looking for it.

When it does find me, it most often comes in the form of a word. I will hear that word in my mind and then begin to think about it, examine it from all sides, and look at it from both a practical and a creative viewpoint. I get into my writer’s mindset (which begins with the thought process) and live, breathe, and think about that word, and the ideas that flow from it, before I ever sit down to write about it.

On days, when inspiration eludes me (as it often does), I have to look for it or create it.

One of my favorite quotes is by fashion designer Paul Smith which reads, “You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t, look again.” Yes, always, look again.

Because I know I am inspired by beauty, I have carved out a creative space to write which is located in a nook in front of our home and is furnished with beautiful things I love and cherish. My lovely white marble-topped writing desk, which my husband purchased for me as a birthday gift, is centered in front of the largest window in our home, which overlooks our front garden. The window is flanked on both sides with plum-colored satin draperies. My desk is bordered on each side with delicate ivory bookcases, which hold sentimental gifts from family and friends and a few of my favorite books. It may not be in Paris, but it is such a beautiful, inspirational spot. I love creating there!

Another favorite spot where I find inspiration to write is on my back porch. I take out my ironing board, set it up as a table, and sit and write as I look out over our back garden, listen to the calming sounds of the water fountain, and watch for feathered visitors.

As a writer who is an extrovert, I get a bit antsy with the whole isolated writer life, and I have to go out to connect with people. So, I will often trade the comfort of my home for a seat at the local coffee shop where there are people to observe and conversations to listen in on. Being around people always infuses me with a new creative stream of ideas. There, it is easy for me to invent lives for other people, lives that are not their own, but, rather, “made-up-in-my-writer’s-mind” lives; lives that may be more interesting to me than they are to the people who own them.

My creative places to write are the places where I find myself most inspired and productive. It is in these places that I am best able to capture the thoughts swirling around inside my mind, and transfer them into black and white print on a page.  It is in these places that I am best able to go about the process of molding 26 characters into words, those words into sentences, and those sentences into paragraphs that convey both meaning and emotion.

It has taken me a long time to discover what process works best for me and to learn to work with that process, rather than against it. But here’s what I’ve also learned: that while this is my preferred process, life is never perfect. I cannot always write in one of my favorite places, or wait for the perfect time to write. Neither can I wait for inspiration to find me. More often than not, I have to find it.

Because the most import thing a writer can do is write.

Terry Gassett


Hi, I’m Terry Gassett, Jesus Follower, Wife, Mother, Nina, Life Coach, and Writer. I was born and raised in the “Deep South” and I still live and work there. I have been married to my heartthrob for over 30 years, and we have three grown children, three granddaughters (two who are twins!) and a Chi Chi/Jack Russell perpetual pup.

I am a Life Design Coach and I work with Creative Christian Women to design lives of purpose, passion, and joy!

When not listening to women’s hearts through the coaching process, I am expressing my own through writing.  Currently, I’m writing my first book – “Breathe, Just, Breathe: Breathing in the Extraordinary Gifts of God on Ordinary Days.”

     Two Drops of Ink/A Literary Blog:

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) An Instrument of Beauty

2) Journey to Joyful Living

3) Hump Day Humor: ‘The House on Lesseps Street’

4) Fridays with MaMa’

5) Memoir: Leaving a Legacy of Love

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  1. Yummm…ummm…ummm! Yeah, that means I love it, Terry! Your writing is delicious, vivid, and delightful. Inspiration unleashed! A pleasure to read! Thanks for your time and effort to anchor this in our lagoon.

    I’m in the group that prefers solitude surrounded by beauty. However, my salvation is I’m not a grouch about it.

    • Hi Slug – Always a pleasure to hear from you! I’m so glad you liked it and as always, I appreciate your feedback – a combination of wit, humor and encouragement!
      Thanks so much for sharing your writing preference – I find myself a bit obsessed
      with wanting to know how and where different writers write. So thanks for letting me know where you fit in.
      Oh – and I can’t imagine you ever being a grump! 😊

  2. Terry, this is beautiful. I’m like you in needing to be surrounded and inspired by beauty. I don’t have a Cross writing book, but I have a Cross pen my husband bought for me. And your ironing board idea has me thinking–thank you–I needed a new idea to help expand my creative space.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Thank you Wendy! I might have guessed you need to be surrounded by beauty when writing. And it’s always special to use a special gift like your Cross pen in the process isn’t it? Let me know what you come up with to expand your creative space. 🙂 My little fur baby is happiest when I choose to sit outside and use the ironing board! He loves laying at my feet and chasing the birds away 🙁

  3. Thanks for your wonderful description, Terry – I love Paris, too. My inspiration seems to come from here, there and everywhere – and often just as I’m going to sleep. I don’t know what I did to my brain in a past life, but it does insist on giving me its most wonderful ideas when I’m trying to rest. My writing process is different too. I can only have my own mind for company and I have to get going and let it all flow out with no interruptions, distractions, or normal human behaviour, such as formally getting up, brushing my teeth, or knowing what time of day it is. So, most of the time my format is: 1. Don’t dress or open curtains (switching a light on is optional) 2. Try to decipher last night’s midnight scribblings on bedside table (now I know why my handwriting was described as “calamitous” at school) 3. Bring laptop to bed 4. Ignore phone (sorry, friends, family and tele-salesmen) 5. Get annoyed at parcel delivery interruption (it’s for next door anyway and now my postman knows I hang out in a “Cat In The Hat” T-shirt and don’t brush my hair) 6. Decide to ignore the doorbell forever 7. Resume writing until either fingers or eyes bleed, or OH comes home from work (usually, the latter happens) 8. Click “save” desperately and repeatedly as my laptop starts to sizzle 9. Spend evening being fairly normal (with occasional twitchiness of fingers which want to type some more) 10. Try to fall asleep while my brain has other ideas and wants me to write the next War & Peace, judging by the number of notes it’s spewing out. Of course, all of this has to be fuelled by strong coffee and peanut butter bars (Yes, I do keep a coffee-maker and snacks in my bedroom. It’s not lazy – it’s efficient). Sometimes I hate my brain and the way it works. But I truly adore writing.

    • BB, your comment had me rolling. The brutal truth about being a writer, which we all relate to here, is often hilarious when we share it openly. Your wit in this comment would make the beginnings of a fabulous blog post. Thanks for sharing.

      • Thanks, Scott. Sadly, this is a fairly accurate picture. I don’t do it every day of course. Sometimes I have to be a normal human being, and the “Cat In The Hat” T-shirt does get into the laundry basket from time to time 😉

    • BB – I loved your comment! They say all comedy is based on truth – and you’ve laid it all out here! I can see a half-crazed writer (but aren’t we all) trying desperately to keep the world out while frantically working to capture the thoughts that came last night (why oh why do so many of us suffer from insomnia??).
      I loved having a peek into your writing process and agree with Scott – I am in stitches –
      It is so funny and witty – and would make an absolutely wonderful relatable post! I hope you will offer us one!

      • Thanks, Terry. I would say 3/4 crazed, possibly. Your writing process sounds much nicer than mine, but we gotta do what works. I am hoping when I find out how to make millions in some reasonably legal way, my brain will adapt to writing from a sunny rooftop terrace in the Algarve.

  4. Terry, I could never write in an outdoor cafe in Paris. I know because I have tried. I was simply too fascinated by everything else that was going on around me. There was simply no time to write. In saying this I am simply offering my personal experience of the situation. It is true that it is a lot easier to write using a Samsung Galaxy Tablet than even a laptop that I had at the time, but I prefer to watch people. I have tried writing in those places that are supposed to drive inspiration, the most I can do is take brief notes. Looking and seeing what people do is more important to me. It is, however, different for each person.

    • Thanks Peter for sharing your perspective! How exciting that you were there to try though 🙂
      I totally understand what you are saying.
      My husband and I are complete opposites on our writing preferences! I like to be in a public place, lots of people, lots of activity, etc. My hubby prefers a quite place, no activity, no interruptions.
      I am always fascinated by each writer’s process and what works and doesn’t work for them. Thanks for giving me a peek into yours, Peter!

  5. I was in the room Terry. I could smell the coffee and hear the conversations in the cafe. Your home is so beautiful and the view from where I am is stunning. I could feel and see everything. You write beautifully Terry. John.

  6. Terry! This is wonderful! It just so happens I will be in Paris on Sunday this week on my birthday! I will let you know if it is as inspirational as you painted! Currently I am in Romania, Paris is only a 24 hour layover on my way home…but I plan to cram in as much inspiration as possible. 🙂

  7. Along with a great space, the next great “excuse” is finding blocks of time. Oh, if I only had a few hours to sit and write. I could really be productive. 🙂

  8. Terry – I love this! I felt like I was right there with you, in Paris AND in your lovely home. Your words are evocative and true. I wanted to drop by and have coffee with you and talk about the writing and the world and the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful. You have a gift, and I’m thankful you share it so well. Blessings – Barbara 🙂PTL

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