Looking for inspiration

I don’t know what inspires me to write, to be honest. Long story short, I get ‘brain farts’ and they either stick around and end up becoming specific ideas or they dissolve into nothingness.

Sometimes, if I’m reading a book I feel very strongly about (liking or disliking it), I may think about the characters acting differently in other settings or meeting other fictional characters. Mostly, I’m just fooling around in my mind, but sometimes a figment of an idea may appear—in the form of a character, a characteristic or a conflict that appear in a different context.

I think that that’s why reading, as a writer, is so important. Not only because you are aware of what’s going on in the publishing world and you can stay updated on what’s interesting readers, but also because you may read stories that in indirect ways may trigger your own imagination.

I believe it’s key to read not only the authors you enjoy or the genres you’re usually drawn to, but to give others a try as well, at least from time to time.

Getting to know different writing styles, genres and writers is an excellent way of opening one’s mind and leading to, maybe, even trying new things as a writer.

Besides, as a reader, you may find plot devices you don’t like and you discard them from your written productions, or you may discover new tropes that you want to try out or employ in what you create.

If you’re stuck and you don’t know how to start writing something or you’ve ran into a wall, writing prompts can help your mind be active. If you have any favorite paintings, you can think of a backstory for the work of art, or you can use the title as a prompt.

Even if it’s just writing a few pages or a few paragraphs, I find that simply sparking a few ideas and developing them can be enough to trigger other types of inspiration—more long-lasting and workable.

As I write, I also listen to music that sets the tone for the story or that maybe speaks of a character; sometimes classical music gets me in a ‘zone’, other times it’s classic rock songs. Some writers need silence to write—I don’t.

Whatever you need to do to get creative, do it. And don’t be afraid to try new things, read different books and listen to music—anything and everything can help get your creativity flowing.

Do you have any specific activities that help you get inspired? What do you do if you’re stuck?

Moira Daly

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