Finding inspiration


One of my newest treasures is this hand stitched Double Irish Chain scrap quilt made by my aunt. She was 86 at the time. It took her two years, and I believe was the last one she made. I apologize for the cliché, but it truly is a work of art.

She had a sewing machine, but it was too heavy to lift from the cupboard shelf, so she decided she would sew the quilt entirely by hand, just as her mother and her grandmother had, and as she had done before. She said if she’d realized at the beginning, however, just how much work this one was going to be, she might not have undertaken it.


I wonder if that isn’t true for many novelists, too. Few realize how much work will go into producing 90,000 ‘just right’ words, until ‘The End’ is staring back at us from the page. If we knew how much effort and time it was going to take, and the possibility that it would never be of publishable quality anyway, would we even begin?

While some might not, I believe the dedicated ones would, simply because they have a creative spirit and the desire to try. The drive to produce something special, something of significance, has to be followed by the determination to make a start. Then, word by word, stitch by stitch, we keep going. We know our earliest creative attempts aren’t going to be perfect, but only by learning and experience will we improve, and we have to begin somewhere.

Like playing a concerto, hand stitching an intricate pattern, or painting a masterpiece, writing an outstanding story takes more than desire. It takes ability, dedication, perseverance, and very hard work.

I’m not there yet as a writer, but the exquisite beauty created by my Aunt Norma inspires me to continue on my journey.

What inspires you in your creative pursuits?


“For everything that was written in the past
was written to teach us,
so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures
and the encouragement they provide
we might have hope.”

[Romans 15:4]

~  ~  ~

 (Photos by Norma McGuire)



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

11 thoughts on “Finding inspiration

  1. Amazing quilt and all done by hand. A treasure to be sure. Yes, most projects would never get started if one knew how much work would be involved, but it is always worth it when it is completed.

  2. I’m often inspired by the works of another writer. If it’s a book I really enjoy, my mind often soars.

    How fortunate you are to have such a beautiful quilt. What a wonderful gift from your aunt, something to be treasured for a lifetime. 🙂

  3. The good news is, you don’t have to do all that work at once. And the time passes anyway, so you might as well have a book (or a quilt) at the end of it!

  4. Hi Carol –

    What a beautiful quilt and remembrance you have from your aunt!

    I’m starting my fifth novel right now, and it’s a daunting task. Yet, I know the satisfaction and joy of finishing a project, so I keep plugging away.

    God bless,
    Susan 🙂

  5. That quilt is so beautiful, and I’m still amazed she did it all by hand. Truly inspirational! And it makes a great analogy for the hard work and persistence needed in writing. Thanks for this! 🙂

  6. Oh, Carol! That quilt IS a work of art. Thanks so much for sharing it with us and for using it to teach and ask good questions. Lovely all round.

  7. I’m inspired by beautiful prose, endearing characters, a story that tugs at my heart and moves me to tears or laughter. Your aunt’s quilt is spectacular. I can sense how proud you must be to know she made it for you with love in her heart. That’s very special.

    1. Actually, the quilt wasn’t made *for* me, but was given to me from her possessions after she died. But it’s no less precious. I love that her fingers made every stitch.

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