It’s not easy being original with nonfiction, as regular readers of this space well know. It’s sometimes difficult to tap into that creative spirit that is lurking deep within us, especially on deadline.

But others, who do well at creative writing, know that their sources of inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. Research, journals, dreams, memory, emotions, imagination and just plain thinking can spark the fire. Some writers think a mythical spirit occasionally enters their brain.

As an editor I tend to think that necessity is the primary force pushing many writers to create.

But for a creative writing scene to grow around writers it takes more than pressure—you need to provide a place for the work to be read. This paper, for instance, decided to provide the soil for creative fiction in Sacramento by sponsoring a short story contest where the winners will be published here (see announcement on page 33). We hope that in the same way the SAMMIES helped the local music scene, we’ll be able to throw some recognition toward those with talent. And more important, just get people involved in writing.

So try deepening your appreciation of the literary art, sensitizing yourself to the music of words—light and lyrical or dark and cynical. Finding inspiration is sometimes difficult, but attempt to see the world as only you can and let us know about it.