1. Reading books I love. Sometimes I read things that are similar to what I write, but I get just as much inspiration from books nothing like my style and way out of my genre.
2. BETA reading. I feel lucky to have fallen into a fantastic group of writers: The ladies of the Weekend of Awesome. Not only does reading their work introduce me to new things, but I love seeing how their work evolves over time. It is truly inspiring.
3. My family, and not just because we're expected to be inspired by our life partners and our kids (this is especially true for women in our society... but don't get me started). It is more that I feel they have made an investment in me. When I take time to write, I am dividing up the time that goes to sleep, housework, cooking, myself, and them. That they are counting on me to make something of that time inspires me.
4. Non-fiction and documentaries. Because most of my books have an environmental theme, I get a lot of inspiration from the reading and films that are a part of my job. I've been watching FLOW: For Love of Water with my students this week and it never fails to inspire me about worldwide water issues.
5. Seeing others succeed. It seems to me that the road to publication is a series of peaks on a ginormous mountain range.
It feels like an endless series of obstacles.
But because of the openness and transparency of the web, you can see people working their way through those obstacles every week.
When you realize it truly can happen --that it does happen all the time-- it's inspiring.