Think of all the things that inspire you to write. Think of all the habits and activities, interests and experiences that add value to your writing.

It’s funny. Often we think of writing as something we do when we have time to do it. We block out a space on our calendars and sit at our desks and get the writing done.

But writing is so much more than that.

We have to draw from our daily lives and interpret the world around us that only we know. We have to interpret the intimate world that lives in our heads and translate it to scribbles and scratchings and keystrokes that our readers can relate to.

It’s not an easy job. But still, we do it.

And it’s precisely because we’re inspired that we do it. It’s the emotions we feel, the thoughts we think, the foods we taste, and the places we see.

There are many things that inspire me personally. Hiking, reading, good conversation, nature, travelling, big cities and small towns.

Many, on the surface, seem like they’ve nothing to do with writing. But this would discount the essence of my personality. All of these things contribute to the whole. They make up who I am and who I am is reflected in my writing.

There’s something I left out of that list, and it’s perhaps the most important thing that motivates us to write: relationships.

We write because we want to inspire others, sure, but we also write because those people have inspired us. They’ve helped us along the way and we want to return the favor. They’ve made us laugh and so we want to entertain them with our own words. They’ve said something mean and nasty and so we want to write that human frality into enternity, hoping that maybe the same mistake won’t be made twice.

Writing allows us to write our souls into the world.

It’s Valentine’s day today, a holiday that has a special place in my heart. Not because of the silliness associated with it, but because seven years and two days ago, on the twelfth of February, 2008, my now fiancé and I started dating.

It was pure coincidence that we started dating this time of year. We’d met through a friend and had started spending a lot of time together that January. After a month we both knew we were right for each other. And so it goes..

Out of all the things that inspire me to write, she’s number one. She’s my first reader and she’s the one I have in mind when I write.

Today I celebrate her:

We’ve Travelled So Many Roads

To The One I Love
Hillbrook Inn, Charlestown, West Virginia
We've Travelled So Many Roads

We’ve travelled so many
roads together,
and many more lie ahead.
But darling — and I
swear it’s true —
the only road I want
to travel is the one
that twists and winds
through mountains and
rivers, through the
good times and bad,
it’s the road we both
seek and fear and dream of
when we turn violently
in our sleep and wake to
an empty bed —
the road paved with gold
at times and at others
gravelled and dusty —
Yes, darling
it’s the road we both know
so well — and, my love,
I swear it’s true —
the only road I ever
want to travel is
that twisting road
that winds
back to you.