FullSizeRender (2)

It’s no surprise that I love words, and more specifically, I love words that inspire. In my Word Nest where I write, I have surrounded myself with many, many items of inspiration. I could probably do a whole series of posts about the trinkets I’ve picked up from my travels, photos of friends and family, gifts I’ve received from loved ones, art created by my daughter, and so many bird and elephant figurines.

On the wall in front of my laptop are sticky notes of quotes and cards from friends and family to inspire and motivate me.

I currently have four sticky notes of quotes that I look at daily before I start writing and while I write.

1. Love is always an act of courage. — Alice Hoffman

This reminds me to be brave as I write, to risk digging deep and to risk being vulnerable. Even now as I draft this blog post, insecurity runs rampant within as I worry about sounding trite or insincere. As with anything I write, blog post or stories, I wonder, will anyone care? And so, writing as with love (and love of writing) is truly an act of courage. Be brave!

2. Is it true yet? — Jo Knowles

Long time writing partner, talented author, and dear friend Jo shared this with me years ago. Jo first heard this from author Jennifer Richard Jacobson and she asks this of her own drafts as she writes. I ask myself the same as I write, and when my answer is “not yet,” I continue revising and digging and exploring and writing. It forces me to take my time, to not rush to be done, to write what’s true to me and to my heart.

3. When I’m writing a book, I’m writing 95% for myself and 5% for my best friend. — Ann Patchett

Recently, an author friend asked a group of writers whether or not we keep the audience in mind when we write. It was a good question and the answers were varied. I am distinctly aware that I am writing for young adults or children, but while I write, I’m not thinking specifically of the audience. If I did that, I think I’d become paralyzed with fear of meeting expectations. Instead, I write the story I want to tell. I definitely try not to think about the “market” and whether or not it’s going to be a best seller or award winner. I try to write the book I want to write, I try to write the book that’s true, and I try to write the book that requires courage.

And finally, the last quote/s on my wall:


Emily Spring by Kevin Slattery

The art of Emily Dickinson is by Kevin Slattery, a friend who passed away just this year. Almost up to the day that he died, he continued creating. While I miss him and am so sad he’s gone, I’m comforted by his art, hanging here on my wall, keeping me company, reminding me that life is precious and not to squander this gift of time. The quote from the artwork:

A light exists in spring.  –Emily Dickinson

I love her poems and this one in particular. I won’t go into what the poem means to me, here, but I will say that this one line helps me get through dark times, including the down times when I lose confidence and faith in my stories and writing. It reminds me that even in darkness, light will come.

And the last sticky note that is stuck right below Kevin’s Emily Spring:

4. I live in possibility.  –Emily Dickinson

This one reminds me that dreams can come true – and that one of my own dreams has, with the sale of my chapter book Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen to Grace Kendall at FSG. Not only that, but dreams can be surpassed, as I now have a contract to write three additional books about Jasmine. I’m still in the process of writing these books and I am very grateful to have such a smart and fabulous editor to help guide me.

What quotes and words inspire you? I’d love to hear yours! Happy writing, happy reading. Keep believing!




authorDebbi Michiko Florence writes full time in her cozy studio, The Word Nest. Her favorite writing companions are her dog, Trixie, and her two ducks, Darcy and Lizzy.

The first two books of her debut chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi will be coming out from Farrar Straus Giroux in Spring 2017, with two more books to follow. She is also the author of two nonfiction children’s books.

Before she started writing as her career, Debbi worked at a pet store, volunteered as a raptor rehabilitator, interned as a zookeeper’s aide, taught fifth grade, and was the Associate Curator of Education for a zoo.

You can visit her online on her web site and her reading blog. She’s also on Twitter.




Filed under Inspiration

29 responses to “Words

  1. annbedichek

    Oh, I love these quotes. Thank you for this post. I’m in the midst of my early morning writing, and I feel like I’m getting to sit in your Word Nest with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Debbi,
    I especially like the Emily Dickinson quote, “I live in possibility.” Yes, for that message.

    I recently started writing my own quotes, as they come to me, and posting them as posters on the internet. I posted one today at my blog and on Facebook which says, “To be encouraged, be an encourager.” Linda Martin Andersen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that you have a Word Nest. That sounds so cozy and welcoming. Happy writing! Thanks for sharing words that inspire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad I stopped in this morning!
    A warming post…Emily Dickinson is a favorite of mine as well.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hayley Barrett

    Good old Emily. Make mine:

    It’s all I have to bring today –
    This, and my heart beside –
    This, and my heart, and all the fields –
    And all the meadows wide –

    Thanks for an inspiring post, Debbi!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jody Feldman

    Once again, your words have given me chills. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tamaraellissmith

    We needed this today, don’t you think? Thank you, Debbi, for words of hope. I always go to Mary Oliver (Wild Geese):

    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What lovely quotes, Debbi! And MAJOR congrats on your contract to write three more books!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lynn Bauer

    Such a lovely, heartfelt post. And, yes, there is always room and need for light in the darkness. And the other wonderful replies with favorite quotes show this and also show the need to share both the quotes and the light. Thank you for inspiring such sharing by sharing yourself! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kristy Boyce

    Debbi, I think you already know my favorite quote because I heard it from you. 🙂 “A year from now you will have wished you start today.”

    Another wonderful and inspiring post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mariagianferrari

    The fact that your writing space is called the Word Nest conjures up so many cozy images, Debbi! I’m a Dickinson fan too–she says so much in such a spare and potent way. And I also love the emotion and humor in Billy Collins’ poem, Taking off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes:http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/taking-off-emily-dickinson-s-clothes/

    Thanks for your inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Elly Swartz

    What a wonderful post. I love all the quotes, and love that you surround yourself by inspiration. One of my favorites: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Live for the now, be grateful, happy and kind. So happy for all your joy, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. darceyrosenblatt

    Lovely quotes every one. I think I may sticky note the “Is it true yet” for my wall. I’ll credit you and Jo!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the idea of quotes being “passed along” like this – thanks to Jennifer Richard Jacobson for starting it all! Cheering you on, Darcey!


  15. Pingback: Debbi Michiko Florence » Blog Archive Words - Debbi Michiko Florence

  16. Thanks for the inspiration, Debbi! Huge congrats on all your success!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.