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Inspirational Writing

I’ve been a closet writer for the last few years and it wasn’t until I did NaNoWriMo last November, that I actually plucked up the courage to socialise with other writers. I surprised myself by making such a bold step and I haven’t looked back since.

Now I’ve gone one-step further and signed up to a 12-week course at my local bookshop. The attraction was that the course aims to focus on your work in progress, along with some exercises to help improve your writing skills. I thought it would be useful for me as I re-write my novel. I hope that having some help and support will spur me on to get it finished. There will also be key people from the industry coming along to give talks on some evenings, dishing out some invaluable advice no doubt.

The course starts on Thursday and in preparation for it, we have been asked to bring along a piece of writing– something we admire, of a quality we aspire to or that may have inspired us to be a writer. I thought about this for a while; as it is not easy to pick out one piece, but it didn’t take me long to come up with something. Although I have wanted to write a book for a long time, I didn’t start to write ‘properly’ until after I had children. My eldest daughter was my inspiration. She struggled to read and never enjoyed any of the school reading scheme books. We had many arguments, tears and tantrums in her first few years at school and I despaired that she would ever enjoy books.

Then I came across some old books in my mum’s loft and decided that I would read them to her. I thought that if I read her all the stories that inspired me as a child, perhaps it would inspire her too. I wanted to show her that there are some great stories out there, if only she would give them a chance. Well it only went and blooming worked didn’t it. We read Heidi, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Little Women, The secret Garden and countless Enid Blyton stories, to name but a few and her love of reading went from there. At the age of eleven, she is proper little bookworm.

One series I decided I must read her was the Ramona books by Beverley Cleary. I had only read the first two because that’s all there was in my local library, but I remembered them. I remembered how taken I was with this little girl and I knew my daughter would love her too. This was probably the most inspiring set of books of all the ones we read. My daughter was so into Ramona’s world that she even modelled herself on the character. She had her hair cut the same, declared she was a tomboy and spent most of her time at the bottom of the garden hanging upside down on the monkey bars.

Don’t you think it would be amazing to write books that inspire the reader to that extent? To be able to create a world with characters so real and alive. That’s what made me finally pick up a pen and start to create my own stories and eventually led me to where I am today.

I took my piece for Thursday from the second Ramona book. On her very first day of Kindergarten, the teacher gets them to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Ramona is confused because when she hears the first line, ‘oh, say can you see by the dawnzer lee light,’ she doesn’t know what a ‘dawnzer’ is. After a few times of singing it, Ramona decides that a dawnzer must be another word for a lamp. This extract is significant to me because I remember reading it when I was a child. At the time, I didn’t know what a dawnzer was either and it wasn’t until a few years later that I worked it out. The story of Ramona came back to me and made me chuckle. I never forgot that part of the book and it was the memory of it that prompted me to look up the series for my daughter. Though first printed back in 1955, the Ramona stories still hold up and are just as fun today. I’m looking forward to reading them again with my younger daughter and son.


My question to you this week is what would you choose as your inspirational piece?

I’m sharing this for What I’m Writing.

Writing Bubble


  1. Mummy Tries says

    I have absolutely no idea what a dawnzer is and a cursory glance at Google couldn’t tell me either, I’m intrigued now! Course sounds fab hon, best of luck for Thursday. I agree that inspiring a child to that extent is a wonderful thing. I’d love to write a children’s book at some point but just would not know where to start 🙂

  2. redpeffer says

    What a great idea, enjoy the course. I love watching my eldest daughter devour books-it reminds me of when I was younger and would do exactly the same. A love of reading is one of life’s true gifts 🙂

  3. maddy@writingbubble says

    I loved the Ramona books as a child too! Also the Flossie Teacake books by Hunter Davis – definitely worth seeking out if you don’t know them. My eldest – at seven and a half – has FINALLY (it feels to me) just fallen in love with books. Since Christmas he’s always got his head buried in one. I love it when kids discover reading – magic. Hope you enjoy the course, it sounds fab. My inspirational piece would be something by Rachel Joyce I think. Maybe something from her Queenie Hennessey book. She has a way of seeing the wonder in the every day and describing heart-rending tragic things in a way that is somehow beautiful. If I could write like that i would be very happy indeed!

    • Nicola Young says

      It’s great seeing them get into reading isn’t it. I will look up those books thanks. I would also like to read some Rachael Joyce. If I ever finish Game of Thrones number 4, I intend to move on to one of hers!

  4. sophieblovett says

    Sounds like a fab course – good luck with it! I was so inspired by writing as a child, and it would be amazing to be able to write something that had that effect on other people… It really is hard to pick out just one inspirational piece though. I might be inclined to go for something from ‘A Child in Time’ by Ian McEwan. It’s a devastatingly sad book, especially as a parent, but the writing is so powerful. It’s the book that reignited my passion for reading after letting it slip during my teenage years, and will always be one of my favourites. X

  5. Emily Organ says

    What a lovely way to be inspired. I’ve not read the Ramona books but I remember loving Anne of Green Gables at that age. I think my inspiration is the books I read and read again without ever tiring of them. They include Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Bleak House, The Great Gatsby – most of them classics but all of them helping me aspire to be the writer I want to be. I’m looking forward to hearing how your course goes.

  6. Dana says

    How wonderful that you’re taking a class! I find that writing can be so isolating it’s really nice to take classes or attend workshops so you can be around like minded people and share your work. I also loved all the Ramona books as a child, as well as Judy Blume and pretty much any book about friendship I could get my hands on. I tried reading my daughter the first Ramona book last year when she was five years old, but maybe she was too young, or it was too dated for her, because she wasn’t a fan to my great dismay. Maybe I’ll try again now that she’s nearing seven.

    Good luck with your writing and I hope you enjoy your class!

    • Nicola Young says

      Judy Blume was a big favourite of mine. Remember how controversial ‘Forever’ was? Definitely give the Ramona books another try. There was a film made from them a couple of years ago and that’s good too.

  7. Morgan Prince says

    Sounds like a fab course, I hope it goes well for you. For me it’s not a particular book that inspired me, it was a person. Heather Killough-Walden has written loads of books and when I was looking for something for myself (LP was about to start nursery) I found out that Heather was a stay-at-home mum too. At that point I thought I’d try to write something. She inspired me to become a writer and at the time I never knew I would love it so much. Now though, someone who I admire and aspire to be like is Michael Crichton. He was, in my opinion, one of the best writers ever. I love his books and the depth of the research amazes me every time. If I could be anything like him I would be very proud of myself. Thanks for sharing Nicola. xx #WhatImWriting

  8. Chrissie@muddledms says

    Isn’t it great when they get inspired to read? My 5 year old has discovered the animal books of Holly Webb (So sad) and Jill Tomlinson as well as the Frozen book (from the little-known Disney animation called Frozen.)
    The Ramona books sound like they would be great read as an adult as well. I’m not sure what I would pick as my inspirational piece. Probably something cliche like a line from On Writing by Stephen King or a passage from one of the middle Harry Potter books which helped me through a couple of very tough years by whipping me away from reality when I needed an escape.
    Hope the course went well tonight! You’ll have to let us know.

    • Nicola Young says

      Frozen – yeah I think I’ve heard of it! My 8 year old isn’t in to anything in particular at the moment, but I think she might like the Holly Webb ones. The older one has just whizzed through the Harry Potter series and loved it. Where do you go from there though?!

      • Chrissie@muddledms says

        Lord of the Rings? Diary of a Wimpy kid? (assume these are like the Adrian mole books). Twilight is probably a bit too teen maybe. Sweet Valley High? Jacqueline Wilson Is perhaps a bit young.
        Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon series books might be a bit later, and Tamora Pearce (sp?) is supposed to be good.

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