What Does 'Inspiring' Mean to You? by Lois W. Stern

What Does 'Inspiring' Mean to You? by Lois W. Stern

Recently I received a question from one viewer asking, What do you mean by inspiring? Here are a few of my thoughts:

I am inspired by the people who follow their hearts to better their lives and the lives of others. I am inspired by those who reverse damaging patterns in their personal lives and move on to more fulfilling, productive ways of giving and receiving. Many animals inspire me with stories of selfless giving and heartfelt emotions that never cease to amaze me. And sometimes I get that same high from a memoir that awakens warm, fuzzy memories from bygone years.

But here’s one more thing that inspires me that might just surprise you. I’d like to add humor to my list. Humor is infectious. I see how shared laughter can bind people together, increasing their happiness and intimacy. Many independent studies have shown how laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body: strengthening the immune system, boosting energy, diminishing pain and stress. So yes, I do believe humor can also inspire us.

I posted my question on a number of social media groups asking writers what 'inspiring' means to them and was overwhelmed by the number of thoughtful responses. Many of them do hit the proverbial nail on the head. Please meet them below and read their thoughts.

What is your definition of inspiring?

I use the word "inspiring" a lot in my blogs and in conversation. The definition for me is: something that makes me think or react at a higher level.

Someone in the midst of a struggle who knows that nothing is impossible:  their past is not their present and their present is not their future, so they persevere, follow their heart and watch their dreams come true.

Some will say their story is inspiring if it is just uplifting or has a happy ending, but for me, to be inspiring, a story has to challenge negative preconceptions and change the lives of people who have them.


   Communication that motivates me to want to emulate what is presented in the story, to experience for myself what I perceive as useful, beneficial, or something that I would enjoy doing, or just thinking about, because it provides a sense of joy, pride or dignity.

Christine Campbell

   For me, it is that which gets me up in the morning, and makes me want to live another day: my family, the beauty around me and my writing.


What inspires me is The Holy Spirit! Intuitive, not psychic, and music.

Tanya Detrik

Inspiring for me means connecting with my audience and offering them a perspective that challenges or invites them to see, think or respond in their own lives in a new and positive ways.

Rod DiGruttolo


To inspire another is when events, (in the case of a story, words) invoke emotion or spur others to action–albeit only a tear, smile or a chuckle.

Debbie T Kilday

To me, inspiring means something that will create a "spark" in me to have an emotional reaction, (to) make me want to join in a cause, help out, or contribute in some way, to be a part of something. 

Inspiring is something that stirs the human psyche into feeling reassured about its own basic
goodness or excites the psyche into taking action on a heretofore challenging endeavor.

Mike Bogia

To me, inspiring means uplifting, encouraging, something that moves me into action, physical or mental.

William Metzker

It's a sugar high.

Tracey Christiansen  

An inspiring story makes me want to leap from my chair and climb that mountain or sail around the world or take the first step towards running that marathon or pick up my pen to write the next story that makes someone leap from his or her chair to climb that mountain ...

Nathaniel Ehinger

An inspiring story is one that grabs your attention on a variety of levels; emotional, intellectual, spiritual, or psychological, making you engage in the story and keeps you wanting more with each sentence.

What inspires me is the knowledge that there is a truthful answer to every question, whether we discover it or not.

Inspiring can be used interchangeably with encouraging or motivating one in a positive direction that fosters change, progress, or simply growth!

For me, inspiring relates to overcoming obstacles. The 'never give up' attitude in which the main characters rise to the challenge despite overwhelming odds.

Phil Silver

Inspiring: 1) to give hope, 2) to create a desire to do something, 3) To motivate, 4) refreshing.

I think of inspiring as encouraging. . . . looking to pass on, to share what they experienced so that we may feel it as much as they did. To offer them encouragement for their own lives.


"Inspiring" means motivating you to aim higher than you've ever aimed, to become more than you've ever been, to envision your fondest dreams and hopes transforming into reality.

Something is inspiring when it makes you want to do or be more than you are.

Independent Writing and Editing Professional

Something inspiring makes you determined to achieve your potential in the direction in which it triggers you.


Something inspiring makes you want to wake up every day with the motivation to keep pushing yourself one step ahead to achieve your potential. Each failure should be an impetus to greater success

One square of chocolate inspires me to have another :

Robert J. Tamasy

"Inspiring" means motivating you to aim higher than you've ever aimed, to become more than you've ever been, to envision your fondest dreams and hopes transforming into reality.
The following CONTEST GUIDELINES posted on my website, offer a picture window into my advice on crafting an inspiring story:

Perhaps they might even inspire some of you to submit a story for this annual contest!

Inspire, motivate, uplift the readers spirits or give them an ‘ahamoment of awareness.
Although no rule is absolute, and stories certainly can contain elements of sadness, try to focus your story so that overall the positive shines through. (Yes, even humorous stories can uplift and inspire!)

Invite your readers in so they can experience and feel the power of your story.
Avoid preaching. Dont tell the reader how to feel, how to live, how to think, etc. Let them feel it for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

If your story has a spiritual message, be sure it has universal appeal.

Avoid proselytizing. Stories must be written so that people of all beliefs can relate to the message. Do not promote any given religion, religious beliefs, ritual or deity.

Stick to one central theme and develop it fully.
First try completing this one sentence: “My story is about . . .” Once you have established your central theme and understand  the central message you want to convey, let all your paragraphs flow from that one sentence.

And then, after your story is written, polish it to perfection.

After you have written your story, give it to at several writer friends or an internet critique group for their unbiased input. Tell them you asking for their help to make your story as strong as possible. Then listen, listen, listen.

Want to participate? Visit http://tales2inspire.com/?page_id=11
for more details.
Deadline date for 2015: May 1, 2015

 Lois initiated her Tales2Inspire™ “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest about 3 ½ years ago. Little did she know how fast it would go viral, literally taking over her life with passion. So far she has published winning inspiring stories from over fifty-three talented authors, each story published in one of the four Tales2Inspire ™collections, . . . and counting. Lois is proud she has been able to help so many talented authors on their individual roads to discovery.


Thank you for that enlightening article, Lois!
Author Bio
After twenty years as an active educator, Lois W. Stern continued to pursue her love of writing, soon becoming co-editor of a popular Long Island web-zine. As she created and authored her column Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives, she solidified her special niche of investigative journalism and put those same talents to work while writing two books on aesthetics, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery and Tick, Tock, Stop the Clock – Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour  to address many of the less invasive paths to beauty. 

After these forays into writing, Lois began creating what she calls ‘Inner Beauty’ stories - inspiring stories to touch the heart and soul. She initiated her Tales2Inspire™ “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest as a means of sharing inspirational messages written by authors from across the globe. One of her goals has been to help talented authors build solid platforms on their individual paths to discovery. "Tales2Inspire™ began a whole new chapter in my life,” says Lois.

Author Links:

Website/Blog:  www.tales2inspire.com/









1 comment:

  1. Since writing this article, Tales2Inspire has published its Crystal Collection - Stories that Tickle the Funny Bone. The theme for 2016 is inspiring animal stories (animals of feathers or fur.) Deadline date: Feb. 15, 2016. If you think you have one to enter (no submission fee) check out the details at www.tales2inspire.com.


Featured Post

A Character Interview with Dillon from MOUNTAIN BLAZE, plus a conversation with author Debby Grahl!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview. These character interviews, ...