Every now and then I feel completely uninspired and just sit in front of a blank page and don’t even know which genre to pick for my next story, and sometimes I simply don’t know how to continue the story I’m working on. Where am I going with it? How can I complicate things? Can I raise the stakes? How can I add more conflict?
Those are the moments I turn to the following things for inspiration:
- Books. I generally pick one up in the same genre as I’m currently writing and have a notebook with me to jot down particularly well written paragraphs. If I’m trying to choose a genre for my next short story, I often browse Goodreads and Amazon summaries of popular or new books.
- Cooking. I find cooking relaxing. It’s my way to meditate. Slowly stirring a stew offers plenty of time to think about the next chapter.
- Music. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics since I either end up paying attention to the lyrics or (worse) end up singing along. When I’m looking for inspiration, I really enjoy classical music or even better, a good soundtrack. I made several playlists on Spotify to fit different moods. (My favourite is probably the Doctor Who soundtrack.)
- Walk the Dogs. Alternatively I just go outside. For a walk, or maybe a run. If outside doesn’t work, or if it’s too cold, then maybe it’s time to take a shower. All these activities offer plenty of time to have arguments with my characters or think of a new plot. Plus it’s relaxing. Except for running. I don’t understand how anyone can relax while running.
- Cinema. Films (much like books) often provide inspiration for me.
- History. I love reading up on bizarre, horrific or important historic events to find inspiration for major conflicts in my stories. Things like the Jonestown Massacre, the Manson murders or even just reading up on the British Empire or the American Civil War can be a well of inspiration.
- Newspapers. You know the crappy local news that tell you these ridiculous stories about feuds between neighbours? Those are great fodder! I love reading the letters as well. And I make notes whenever something catches my attention.
However, no matter how uninspired I am, one of the more important lessons I had to learn as a writer was: You can’t wait for inspiration to hit. You have to put the work in and that means that some days you just have to write and give it your best without any inspiration.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Let me know in the comments.
See you next week,