Where Do Writing Ideas Come From?

Several people have asked me what inspires me to write since they learned I write nonfiction for children. (And this is a question I answer in my nonfiction programs for children, writers, and educators...because it's important.) The answer's rather simple.

Quite honestly, I'm constantly amazed by this world. Nature excites me, but so do the personal stories of people and history. Oh, and I'm curious.

I keep an eye out for cool things that I want to learn more about. Hint: Nature is incredible, but it's not always obvious. Often, one piece of information leads to another.

For example, I've known about bioluminescence for years. This year I wanted to know more. So I learned about my favorite insect, the firefly. Did you know all living creatures (including you and me) have a chemical substance called ATP in them? Apparently ATP levels remain constant in healthy organisms. That's not the cool part. The two chemicals in fireflies' lantern light up in the presence of ATP. Scientists use these chemicals (and their synthetic counterparts) to detect diseased cells and to study diseases. This is fun to research AND write about.

When I get to choose my topic, I can consider a lot of things. This image gives you a bit of an idea of how I might get writing ideas, and it's what I share with kids during Nonfiction: Facts Are Fun and other programs.

My advice: Don't write what you know. Write what you wonder!

Curious about other aspects of writing? Check out my FAQs or contact me!
So...what inspires you?