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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Stuck for ideas?

No matter how much you love writing, there will always be days when you need inspiration. In fact, I would argue that inspiration isn’t just a desirable thing; it’s an integral part of the writing process.

Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce fresh ideas. And sometimes, they can come from the unlikeliest sources.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite ways of finding inspiration — some of them obvious, some of them less so. If you haven’t used a few of these sources, give them a go.

  1. Blogs. This is one of my favorites, of course. There are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. I like to read about what works for others. Now and again, I discover something totally new, and it inspires me to action!
  2. Books. I’ve confessed this aspect before. I read authors I love, and then poach good ideas from them. I analyze their writing. Their way of thinking. How they develop things. Then I’ll apply it in my own way to help keep the ideas flowing. Sometimes, I’ll try a genre I don’t normally enjoy, just to branch out into something different. You might find something that works for you.
  3. Magazines. Good magazines aren’t always filled with great writing, but you can usually find one good piece of either fiction or non-fiction. Entertaining for its writing style, its voice, its rhythm and ability to pull you along to the end.  
  4. Movies. Sometimes, while watching a movie, a character will say something so interesting that I’ll say, “That would make a great blog post!” or “I have to write that in my writing journal!” Sometimes screenwriters can write beautiful dialog. Other times I get inspired by the incredible camera work, or the way a face or the landscape captured on film. I even get ideas from blending movie themes together.
  5. Music. Along the same lines, it can be inspiring to listen to great music. I can’t listen to music while I write, but I do have it playing in the background while I research. Allow the tone and mood of what you’re listening to, to lift you up and move you.
  6. Quotes. I don’t know why, but when I see a great quote, they sometimes help inspire me. I like to go to various quote sites to find ideas to spark my imagination. Try it, you’ll be surprised.
  7. Dreams. I have a real knack for this. I’m also fortunate, in that I can remember and take control of many of my dreams. However, I only do that from time to time, as its usually best just to let my unconscious creativity manifest. So, I make it a practice to keep a dream journal by my bedside to write down what I remember. Not because I think it’ll tell me something about myself or my future or past, but because dreams don’t have boundaries. They completely disregard for the rules of reality, and have an otherworldy sense I want to capture, especially in my fantasy and paranormal works.
  8. Writing journal. I highly recommend this for any writer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or something you write in every day. Just a plain notebook will do. Write down thoughts and quotes. Snippets and ideas. Phrases or dialog and plot ideas for new characters.
  9. Poetry. How can poetry inspire prose? Through its beauty and flow and style and use of rhythm and play on words. Through its use of language and music. Some of my best short stories started as poems.
  10. People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, disappoint and fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.

So there you go. Just 10 little ideas I’ve found inspiring. Hopefully, you’ll find something there to motivate you whenever you’re stuck for an idea and have a blank page to fill.


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