Got Inspiration? Five Authors Who Inspire Me by Sharon Struth
Ernest Hemmingway is quoted as saying “Never mistake motion for action.” Words I took stock in as I hit my mid-40s. My days were filled with work, the kid’s sports, walking the dogs, housecleaning, yada, yada, yada…but most days I had a view as exciting as my run on the treadmill. My career—chosen at the age of 18—no longer held much interest, either.
Thus began a quest to find personal fulfillment, which came in the form of starting a mid-life career as a writer. One question bugged me, though… since I was two giant steps away from turning 50, was I insane?
While I learned my craft, I searched for motivation from other writers. Especially writers whose novels inspired me or life stories reminded me why I shouldn’t give up on my new career. Here are five authors who kept me focused on my new goal:
1. Laura Ingalls Wilder – I may have thought that approaching 50 made me a late bloomer, but the first of Wilder’s “Little House” series of books was published when she was 65. Didn’t that almost make me young?
2. Nora Ephron – I love romance in the stories I read, so writing books with romance felt natural. Who better to inspire me than the sorely missed Nora Ephron, who left the world with several of the most romantic contemporary screenplays ever written? Proof that no matter how much the world changes, love keeps it ticking. Her writing is so good that no matter how many times I watch You’ve got Mail, at the end I’m on the edge of my seat, working my way through a box of tissues and waiting for the big kiss.
3. Ernest Hemmingway – I’ve always had great respect for Hemmingway’s understated style and his passion for his subject. He’s a complicated man himself and has created complicated and flawed characters. Life experience has shown me how life isn’t perfect and flaws come as part of everyone’s package. Hemmingway’s work has made me strive to get those complexities in my own characters.
4. Sue Grafton – Early in my writing career, someone told me that only two of Ms. Grafton’s first seven novels were ever published. The author is quoted as saying, “You learn by failing over and over, but a lot of people don’t care for that, thanks. I always wish new writers the greatest good fortune. It’s a helluva journey—I’ll tell you that.” (Writer’s Digest-April, 2010) I admire her honesty and perseverance. Looking at her success, it’s a good thing she didn’t give up. Neither will I.
5. Sue Monk Kidd – Writing is my second career as an adult, having spent most of my adult life in accounting and systems work. Sue Monk Kidd earned her B.S. in Nursing at Texas Christian University and worked as a nurse throughout her 20s. On her website, she shares the story of how everything would change on her 30th birthday. “I walked into the kitchen of my brick house in South Carolina and announced to my husband and two children, ‘I’m going to become a writer.’ That was my annunciation. In a kitchen. To a two-year-old and a five-year-old and a husband who was trying to get them to eat their cereal.” Guess I feel like we’re kindred spirits, both on a journey to explore being middle-aged through our writing.
These authors have helped me keep going. They’ve helped me to keep moving in a way that feels like real action. They’ve helped me define my writing mission: To write books about life and love for the ageless at heart; stories where life doesn’t always go according to plan, but the hope for a second chance always lingers.
Who’s inspired you lately?
Novelist Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, received first place in the Dixie Cane Memorial Contest and second place in the Golden Heart. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut, along with her husband, two daughters and canine companions. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com.
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