No matter how much you love writing, there will always be days when you need inspiration from something.
In fact, I would say that inspiration is not just a desirable thing, it’s an essential part of the writing process.
Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce inspired writing. And sometimes, it’s hard to find. UNLESS, you discover that it’s actually simple to discover and found from the unlikeliest of sources.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite ways of finding inspiration. (Some of them obvious, some of them less so.) But it’s always good to have reminders, and if you haven’t used a few of these sources of inspiration in awhile (or ever), give them a go. The great thing about writing is that you can change it, start over, and end it. You mold it to your desires and inspirations. It’s adaptable and forever changing if you wish it to be.
- Books. This is my ALL time favorite. In the beginning of my writing endeavor, I was terrified to read anything while I wrote my manuscript. I just knew it would make me feel so inadequate. But remember, the books you’re reading started the same way yours did, with just the author and his/her idea. However, its gone a step further through a tedious stretch of professional agents, editors, and a publisher to get it to the book shelf and in your hands. OF COURSE, it’s going to be fantastic. But, just visualize one day that sloppy, self-edited, red-inked copy of your manuscript, will one day look as prim, proper, and together as the book you now hold. Anyway, back to what I was saying. I felt like reading would make me confused in my own writing, making it hard to separate my voice in my manuscript from that of the author’s voice in the book I was reading. THAT IS A LIE. Reading is probably one of the best things a writer can do in his/her spare time. Spare time, what’s that you say? Read the books that you love, the ones that inspire you. The ones that gave you the passion and the bravery to embark on your own writing. Take books that mirror yours in ways and study them. Analyze their writing and get inspired by their greatness. Fantasy, Paranormal, and Sci-Fi are my absolute favorites. So take a break from writing when you’re staring at the blank page on your laptop screen and read. You’ll be surprised the rejuvenation and inspiration you’ll find just by opening the cover.
- Movies. Okay, so I’m one of those people that don’t go to the movie theatre just to see the movie. I LOVE the previews just as much! You can ask my husband, we never get to a movie late because it just isn’t a movie without previews. Sometimes, it’s the previews that inspire me even more than the movie itself. The music, the anticipation, the small clips of something extraordinary happening but you don’t quite know the whole story yet. Like the previews of the last two Harry Potter movies, which gave me chills from excitement. Now, I’m not saying all previews leave you inspired, but I’m sure you can think of a few in your mind that did. As far as the movie goes, you can gain a lot from listening to the characters and what they say. Screenwriters, at times, can write beautiful dialog. But it doesn’t have to be just the character’s words. Get inspired by the incredible camera work, the way that a face is framed by the camera, the beauty of the landscape captured on film.
- Blogs. This is one of my favorites, as well. Aside from this blog, of course, there are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. Every author is different and I find their diversity, a wealth of inspiration for me in times I just can’t quite get there in my writing. It inspires me into action!
- Overheard dialog. If I’m anywhere in public, whether it be at a restaurant, a mall, my workplace, or even Wal-Mart (you know you hear some stuff at Wal-Mart), I’ll sometimes eavesdrop on people. Don’t get weirded out, you know you do it too! Especially, if it’s something interesting. Just keep quiet, and listen. I love hearing other people have conversations. You can’t help but hear them sometimes, so use it for inspiration if you can. Take that snippet of intriguing dialog, jot it down in your writing journal as soon as possible. It can serve as a model or inspiration for later writing. People watching is great too. Find a busy place and just sit and watch. Don’t be a creepy stalker, but you get the idea.You’ll be surprised at what you’ll see. My most favorite place to do this is in New York City. I love that place!!
- Art. For the writer aspiring to greater heights, there is no better inspiration than great art. While it doesn’t compare to the experience of seeing the art in person, I’ve found that simply finding art work of all kinds on the internet, magazines, or books can at times inspire me and help with visualizing what I’m trying to describe in my manuscript. It gives me a depth and more dimensions in my writing.
- Music. Along the same lines as art, music can be just as inspiring, if not more. What types of music stir your emotions when you hear it? Play it in the background as you write, and allow it to lift you up and move you. I personally, listen to a lot of music from my favorite movies. They catch me in the moment and allow me to spill my words onto the paper. I match some songs with certain scenes in my manuscript as if it was made soley for what I wrote. I even listen to it in my car when I’m by myself. I replay the dialog and scene from my manuscript in my head for whatever song I’ve combined it with. I’ve found that doing this, has helped me visualize it more clearly and given me ideas to add or to take away. Yes, I have a notebook on a side pocket of my car door. I try to not frequently write while driving, but sometimes you just can’t pull over! I can’t forget my idea, right!? Can you imagine telling the police officer after he pulls you over, that you were simply trying to write down an idea for the book you’re writing. Ask him his name, maybe if he thinks you’re going to put him in your story he won’t give you a ticket. Kidding!!!
- Writing groups. Whether online or in your community, writing groups are great ways to get energy and motivation for your writing. As you read out your work to the group, they can critique it and make suggestions. The work of the other writers inspired me to do better. When I was at the Writer’s Digest Conference this past year, in my first class, we were able to volunteer to read our first few pages of our manuscript to the other writers there. It was AMAZING! I was in awe of the ideas and fantastic writing each one presented. It was such an eye opener and such an inspiration.
- Friends. Conversations with my friends, in real life, on the phone, through emails, have inspired some of my best posts or writing. They stir up my ideas, contribute ideas of their own, and they fuse into something even more brilliant than any of us could have created alone. In fact, the blog topics, Mix It Up Mondays and Fun Fact Fridays came from one of my best friends as we were eating lunch one day. So listen to your friends. I mean, after all, they chose you as a friend, so they must be pretty smart.
- Quotes. I don’t know why it’s so, but great quotes help inspire me. I like to go to various quote sites to find ideas to spark my writing, turns of phrase that show what can be done with the language, motivation for self-improvement. Try these for a start: Writing Quotes and Quotes for Writers. Google is totally your friend when looking for these.
- The Pocket Muse. A book full of writing inspirations. I mean, what could be easier than that!?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I give you 15 more ways to find inspiration.
Happy Writing Ya’ll!!