It would be nice if your writing muse appeared whenever they were needed. But unfortunately the inspiration to write rarely crops up at the perfect time. The truth is you usually have to go find your writing inspiration. Even that initial spark of a book didn’t actually come from nowhere. The idea was probably wandering around your subconscious for a while. Your brain is quite good at filing away creative ideas – but less good at offering them up when required. In fact it will usually only give you titbits to keep you writing if you, in turn, keep it fed. So don’t wait for writing inspiration to find you – here’s six ways to hunt it down.
1. Take a walk
Wandering around your local area may not seem like it’s going to be inspiring, but try approaching your familiar streets with fresh eyes. That old tree in the park could be the portal to another realm. The local war memorial may bear the name of a fascinating real-life character. The chap walking the dog every day at the same time, may have been a spy. There’s fodder for your writing all around you, if you pay attention.
2. Go to the library
A library can be a very inspiring place. I’m not suggesting you nick from existing books – although “borrowing” creatively is always present in the literary world. I just think that libraries can inspire a writer, simply by being a building full of words. For starters you’ll find plenty of voices of encouragement. Row after row of people who’ve been just where you are and doggedly gone ahead with their vision. Libraries have more than just novels of course. Non-fiction, magazines, newspapers – there are plenty of scraps of information all ready to be moulded into new stories.
3. Visit an art gallery or museum
I love a good collection – whether it be sculptures old or sculptures new. Art galleries and museums are a treasure-trove of inspiration for a budding author. With art especially, comes the distillation of creativity into one vision. A vision that you have the chance to interpret how you wish. There’s an immediacy and diversity in the experience that you can build on with your words.
4. Write without thinking
A good exercise can be to write without thinking. Just grab a pen and paper and start. Write down any words, any sentences as they come. Don’t stop, don’t think, just let your brain throw out whatever it wants. You’ll be surprised what it may come up with. In amongst the jumble, could be the lead you need.
5. Stop, look and listen
I’m not suggesting you to spy on people, or nose into private conversations (although we all do sometimes). But when we’re out and about, especially when we’re waiting for something, it’s easy to distract ourselves with our handy dandy phones. Next time this happens to you, try not reach for the phone (or tablet, or even book). Try not to do anything. Just sit and observe. You never know what you might see!
6. Do something new
Get up, breakfast, travel, work, home, dinner, bed – routine is both comforting and stifling. And it does nothing for the creative mind. So try doing something different. You could take an alternative route to work, cook something new (or in my case actually cook!), try a new hobby, take a class, or just wear an outfit you’d never usually wear. Anything to shake up the same-old, same-old habits we can all get into from time to time.
These are only a few ways to get inspired. What do you do to find inspiration? Please share in the comments!