How to Find Writer’s Inspiration
We all write for different reasons–to practice our art, to communicate with others, or to benefit from the therapy that writing offers.
Regardless of our personal reasons for writing, some days the ideas just aren’t there.
Sometimes this condition might be defined as writer’s block (the situation of not knowing what to write or how to move forward with one’s writing), but the condition could also be malaise, lacking vision, or low self-esteem. When we lack the vision to see our work producing an effect, we tend to slow or stop the creative process. There are a few different ways to reclaim our creative mojo and get back to writing.
Go for a walk
Without a doubt, I am convinced that a walk is the most therapeutic activity that a writer can do for themselves. Even a short, 15-minute walk has the potential to clear one’s mind of the creativity-blocking clutter.
When we walk, we open our eyes to images that we miss while sitting at a laptop in the basement; we are able to experience sights, sounds, and smells that open up new ideas that were stifled when sitting at a desk. Walking moves the body, gets the blood flowing, and forces a change of atmosphere. Anytime you get stuck, go for a walk.
Create in a different medium
Recently, adults have thrown off convention and pulled out the coloring books. Some suggest that adults who color, draw, or doodle experience a meditation-like therapeutic effect from engaging in the visual arts. People are coloring and doodling their way to stress relief, increased creativity, and breaking up the monotony of the doldrums.
I color once a week with my kids and it is a great time for everyone. Spending time working in a different medium–drawing, coloring, sewing, sculpting, photographing, or any other form of creativity–can spark the mind in another direction and get the creative juices flowing again.
Here is the coloring book I have been working through Art Nouveau Animal Designs
Use music as your inspiration
My high school creative writing teacher used to play a different style of music and have the students write while using the music as a guide for the class period. By practicing her method, I learned to utilize music as a means to break up the monotony of grey thoughts in my head and think about something different. That was many years ago. Today, research into the effects of music shows that it can have a positive effect on learning, studying, relaxation, and creativity. Here are a couple of You Tube links with music to try to break up writer’s block.
Instrumental Music https://youtu.be/mPf1W5LfsEk
Classical Music https://youtu.be/8ptfyhBjXj8
Use writing prompts and visuals
Another technique to get back on track when writer’s block has taken hold is to write about something different. Switching subjects, genres, or stories can make a big difference in getting the creativity back on track. If you ever experience writer’s block, try and write a letter, a blog post, a commercial script, a single scene for a play, or a mini-story (like a 100-word story) to jolt your system.
One way to apply this technique is to do a short write like a character sketch, a plot outline, or a story overview. Since we live in such a visual society, using an image tends to work well for many people. Choose an image, ask and answer questions about it, and go where the story is.
What are these people doing? What are their names?
What is their relationship to each other? Are they hiding something?
What is it and why? What is the secret they are holding?
What does the man know that the woman does not?
What are three favorites of the female character?
What is her background? Where did she grow up?
What is her family like? What did she want to do when she grew up?
What is her greatest fear?
How about the male character–what is his background?
What was he like as a teenager?
What goal did he set for himself that he never met?
Who was his unrequited love? What is he hiding from?
Continue asking and answering questions about the characters in the image to get the creativity flowing and break out of that writer’s block.
Now take a look at a setting and a character. Here we have a setting–a place in time and space.
Where is it? When it is? What is the political environment?
What are the social mores? What is happening with the environment?
How are people interacting? How are children treated? How are women viewed?
What do people exchange? What are the daily problems in this setting?
This image also gives us a person, a character. Ask questions of what this character is doing in this setting to deepen the creativity.
A brief 15-minute brainstorming session to create a character, a setting, a plot, or a story outline can lead to some innovative material, either that you can use to break out of writer’s block or may turn into a story itself.
Copyright free images courtesy of http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/
Take a look at this incredible site for images that you might use to spark your creativity.
Hopefully, one of these suggestions will help in a moment of creative languor and offer a little boost to get you back on track. Feel free to peruse the link the the New York Public Library, which has thousands of gorgeous images that could become an incredible source of creative inspiration for those moments when your writing is blocked. Writing can be incredibly hard work, but keep at it. The rewards are unending.
Good Luck With Your Writing!
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