We’re back for our weekly article, and today we’re bringing you a subject that’s a bit more elusive and far less tangible than marketing, statistics or royalty statements.
Inspiration. What is it, where does it come from, and how can you- the writer- trap it in a jar and spread it across your blank pages?
Well, much like advice on how to write in a specific genre, you can only advise so much before you hear a chorus of voices say; “Hey, this isn’t working for me, what do I do now?”, and you realise that there’s no one size fits all for something as vast as inspiration. So, we’ve tried our darndest to come up with some general advice for how to get the gears turning if you’re well and truly stumped.
#1: Change of Scenery
So, you’ve been staring at a blank page in a tiny room for God knows how long, and you can’t even formulate a simple sentence. Our advice? Get out of that room. Take your eyes off the page, quit breathing that stale air and head out into the great outdoors, whether it’s the concrete jungle or the sprawling wilderness. A slow, relaxing wander around can really help clear the head, and once your head is clear, you can let some new ideas sink in.
#2: Just Write
One not-so-productive writing habit that we’re all guilty of is snuffing out a story in utero just because we don’t like the way a sentence reads, or because we’re daunted by the prospect of ironing out a kink in the story or filling in a plot hole. Lots of successful authors tote a piece of golden advice for times like that, and we’re going to relay it to you now; just write. If you can get to the end of the page, or even the end of a chapter or short story, then you’ve made it over the first hurdle. You might not love every sentence, you might think “Hmm, I don’t like that character’s name” or “How am I going to incorporate themes into this”, but just keep going until the end, and at that point, you’ll have a rough draft that you can re-shape to your liking. Having something complete- no matter how skeletal- in front of you can help you form a wealth of new ideas.
As a writer, the first thing that ever inspired you to do what you do was likely a reading experience that you had. If you haven’t picked up a book in a while, maybe return to an old favourite and re-discover what made you love it so much, or maybe delve into a newer title to see if you find yourself falling in love with a new book, author or genre. From there, you can find inspiration for your own work.
#4: Look to Other Mediums
In the spirit of the last bullet point, finding inspiration in other artistic mediums is a great way to go as well. Movies, music, theatre, and especially visual art such as painting can be a great way to germinate a seed of inspiration.