Inspiration

Inspiration for writing comes from a host of places. Where you get your inspiration from will probably be as varied and unique as what you choose to write about. But it’s still important that you get out there and find your muse.

For the writer, inspiration is something that helps you find the right words to fit what you want to express. It’s not a crutch, you certainly shouldn’t need it every time you sit down to write. But knowing what helps the ideas flow can help you overcome those times when you sit down and confront the great white expanse of paper (or word processor) and try to come up with something worth sharing.

I don’t know most of you well enough to hazard a guess at what will best inspire you. So what I’m going to do is share a few things that really help when I’m trying to find the groove to write in.

1. Listen to music. This one is probably one of the most obvious and most talked about, so I ‘m going to get it out of the way first. Listening to music is a great way to get the ideas flowing, especially if it’s music that fits what you’re trying to write or just music that you love. If you can do both, that’s pure bonus.

2. Get moving. If you’re like most people, you probably sit down on your bum in a chair (or lay down on your stomach/back) and type/write while you’re composing. Getting up for a bit fora brief walk, cleaning off your desk (WARNING: this can set dangerous precedents) or just doing some jumping jacks by your desk can get the blood moving to the ol’ brain and help the ideas flow.

3. Eat something. Low blood sugar = low brain functions. Just don’t eat so much you get drowsy, that’s counter productive.

4. Read something. This is the intellectual equivalent of #3. Have something that will keep the ideas flowing with you when you write. If you’re writing part of your story that requires a great villain, keep Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power handy and flip through it if you’re stuck. If humor’s what you need, you might keep Charles Schultz’s Peanuts or Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes on hand.

5. Talk it over.  Having a group of like-minded people who will go over ideas, share experiences and hack about new possibilities is a real boon to creative thought. If you can find a place to get that kind of input, take advantage of it.

6. Write something else. Now sometimes you just need to take a break and come back with a fresh perspective and new energy. But sometimes, in the act of writing something else you’ll write exactly what you need for the piece you were stuck on. Don’t worry about moving writing from one story or one piece to another. Usually it will be clear that what you’ve written fits better in one place than another, and if it’s not then at least you can go back to step #4.

Hopefully that’s enough to get you on your way to writing some good, solid stuff. As you scribble or type or touchscreen(?) away, pay attention to what your best ideas are and where they’re coming from. Once you get that discipline down, you’ll be able to pinpoint what your best sources of inspiration are, and then your ideas will never stop coming.

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