Getting Inspired

13 Mar

I’m caught in a sort of plateau with my writing life currently. I have a horror short sitting stale and unfinished on my computer and a partially edited fantasy novel on my hands. I think about my writing quite a lot, but it’s difficult to just sit down and write. I’m a go-with-the-flow type of person– I can’t write well on command. The inspiration needs to be there. I’m always getting in and out of writing funks, and so I’m always looking for strategies for getting back on track.

There’s the practical way, sure: sitting down with a pen and paper and planning where you’re going to take the story next. You can brainstorm plot ideas, make character profiles, focus on worldbuilding… It must work well for a great deal of people, and sometimes it works for me, too. I could have novels mapped out in detail on the desk in front of me, but I’d still be missing that spark to get started. I’m on a quest to find out where that comes from.

Music helps me a lot. I love putting together playlists of songs that remind me of a character, or a certain scene in the story. Listening to these songs repeatedly often charges me up and gets me excited to start writing. It adds another dimension to the story, in a way, and makes it feel more real.

Another thing that gets me fired up to write is reading and watching books and films that have nothing to do with my stories. It’s kind of strange. Reveling in the genius of other creative people inspires me to take up my own work; I view it as a challenge, if you will. Gormenghast? Doctor Who? The Mortal Instruments? None of these are related to the things I usually write, but they still inspire me.

But what helps me most of all is becoming my own fan. Drawing my characters and writing out little side scenes that aren’t in the story but still popped into my head get me excited about the story again. Sometimes I need to just let my narcissistic side come out, read something I’ve already written, like my one published masterwork, and let myself think, Hey, this isn’t actually that bad.  I can be a pretty harsh critic, and I think it bogs me down sometimes. Self-doubt is definitely not productive in the writing field, especially in the drafting.

So, readers, have you got any particular strategies for getting yourself inspired to write? Would you be inclined to share them? As always, happy writing!


Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Writing


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7 responses to “Getting Inspired

  1. Liam, Head Phil

    March 13, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    You know, someone once said “If you wait to write until you get inspiration, you’re going to be waiting a long time.” It’s quite true. If you just force yourself to write, eventually, after writing a ton of stupid stuff, you’ll get back into the groove. Sure, inspiration is great for getting you going, but if you keep writing even when you don’t feel like you have it, you’ll find inspiration coming much more often.

    • Allegra Davis

      March 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      Sage advice. Forcing myself to write when I really don’t feel like it is a skill I have yet to acquire, unfortunately.

  2. tomte

    March 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Truthfully, I hate just sitting down and writing. So, I’ve got a strange, series sort of thing. Whenever I have an idea, I take out my iPod, and write a new installment in my story in the notes section. 🙂 Although, if I cant type it thn, i write it on a sticky note and stick it in an obvious place.

    • Allegra Davis

      March 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      I like the sticky note idea! I’ve had far too many good ideas slip away because I didn’t write them down. I think one of the worst feelings a writer can have is, “What was that idea I had, anyway?”

      • tomte

        March 15, 2012 at 6:57 PM


  3. UnrestrainedFancy

    March 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated. I can have good intentions, then get completely distracted by, well… life, or exhaustion, or an old episode of “Buffy” that I just have to re-watch right NOW. It happens.

    Music is great for inspiration, but I’ve found it impossible to actually write while I listen to anything with lyrics. I own a lot of instrumental stuff that I can use to set the mood while I work. I also can’t write worth a darn if I hear the TV going. Again, their words interfere with mine, so I put on headphones and blast the instrumentals to block everything else out.

    I agree with Tomte’s idea of making notes. I use index cards the same way. I keep them with me, and jot down scenes, character facts, dialog, or whatever. I empty my pockets when I get home from town and toss them in the correct file. Then, after a long time passes, I find something I tucked away, and get all excited because I re-discovered some lost tidbit that was just BRILLIANT! It’s great… and it makes me do a happy-dance.

    Good luck fighting that nasty writer’s block. Take heart… it happens to all of us.

    Laura Ritchie

    • Allegra Davis

      March 16, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      Usually I manage to work around music with lyrics, but for some reason hearing people actually talking distracts me a lot.
      I think I’m going to start making notes on ideas. Being a rather forgetful person, I could use all the help I can get…
      Thanks for the comment!


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