I is for Inspiration

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

Before you can put words on paper (or screen), or create characters and worlds, or build stories, you need one key ingredient: inspiration. A writer’s well needs to be full of inspiration at all times, or at least, have a little bit in it to slosh around in. Sometimes it feels like the well has run dry and those are the agonizing times that come along with writing, the times when you get scared and doubtful and start to worry that you’ll never write again. It’s easy to panic when inspiration is nowhere to be found, and conversely when there’s plenty of it to be had, you want to dance and sing and shout.

Where can you get a fill up on inspiration when the well is empty? Here are a few of my go-to filling stations:

Music: Music is my number one inspiration. I make playlists for all my longer works (and even some of the shorter ones) and a single song can inspire entire chunks of writing. Music gets the gears turning and helps me find a mood. I can come up with ideas from just a few lyrics from a really good song. If I need to work out a scene, sometimes I put on appropriate music and hash it out in my head to the beat.

Reading: Nothing makes me want to write a story more than reading a really good one. I’m not talking about imitation, but borrowing inspiration from your fellow writers. Sometimes tapping in to someone else’s magic helps you get your own flowing.

Taking my mind off writing: Occasionally the problem is your head is too deeply buried in your work. You can’t see your way out, or around. That’s when it’s time to take a breather and give your brain a break. Hang out with friends. Binge watch some Netflix. Work on a hobby that has nothing to do with writing. Get out and clear your mind.

Revisiting old stuff: Sometimes reading over old stuff you wrote will spark an idea. Visiting something you’ve written but haven’t looked at in a while may impress you and make you feel good about yourself–or make you realize how far you’ve come–opening you up to your creativity.

How about you, how do you get inspired? Is there something special you like to do to jumpstart your creativity?

19 comments

  1. What others have said about taking a walk. I have learned to take a notebook along, because even when I am seriously stuck, by the time I walk past the park, I have part of a scene playing in my mind. If I wait until I get home to take notes, it’s gone.

    I have had story ideas come up while I’m stuck in traffic–without my notebook. So I’m scrambling for old receipts, anything to write key words on.

    Happy A to Z!

    Laura

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    1. I wonder what it is about moving that makes so many of us creative? Maybe it frees up the mind to think about our writing since we’re not doing a bunch of other stuff? I’ve never been a person who writes down things, but I SHOULD, lest I lose something good!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. A lot of my ideas have just come to me. For example, I have no idea what exactly inspired the juvenile genesis of my first Russian historical, or why I’d decide to start a picture book (as its original form was) about two cousins living in Russia in 1917, but that’s the idea which came to me. It just developed more characters and actual storylines over time. The hotel my family stayed at on Cape Cod in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Bob, however, did inspire my characters’ initial hiding place, as I saw an old house without electricity and running water, and a similar layout to our hotel.

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    1. That’s fascinating, thank you for sharing! A lot of my ideas are like that too, they just come to me out of nowhere. I’ve used some places I actually know in stories too. Isn’t it great how a writer’s brain works?

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Walking is good for me too. It’s as though my brain can work while my body moves automatically. Interestingly, I can’t write to music as I find it destroys my concentration, and equally I can’t read if I’m writing either.

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  4. Walking does the trick most times. Music also works well for me. I go to to tumblr and just look at images to jar my imagination and find images to fit the right mood. When I see one that feels right, I usually can’t type fast enough. Art in general works for me, so I make sure to go to exhibitions, plays, concerts, etc. as often as possible.

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    1. Walking works for me too! Just generally being in motion, it seems to get my brain fired up. Especially if I’m walking and listening to music at the same time.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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