A staple of any prolific writer’s diet. But what is it? Where can you find it? And what exactly is its nutritional value?
Well before we go any further, I think we can agree on the arguably universal truth that writing is hard. Editing, I would suggest, is even harder. But there’s one thing that makes the whole process that much easier to digest. It’s the writing dietary equivalent of fibre; it’s inspiration. To be taken whenever available. Recommended dose: daily.
We can find inspiration from many sources. The key is, learning to recognise it when it happens. It may come from a dream, a conversation with a friend, a sight of beauty or uniqueness, or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you may be able to draw it from anything at any time!
Is it possible to be constantly inspired?
In some ways, yes! Just like motivation, unfortunately, we can’t afford to wait around for it to show up. Instead, if we become open to it in all its forms, we can conjure it from almost any situation. But how?
We become resourceful.
As writer’s and editors, it’s likely you’re already quite resourceful. Well, inspiration is just another resource that we can draw upon at any time if we really put our mind to it. It just takes practice.
What things can we do to find inspiration daily?
1. Take a long walk. In order to notice inspiration when it comes, it’s helpful to reduce distractions and set the mind free. I find walking to be one of the best ways to do this.
2. Read. Whether fiction or non-fiction, reading can help to spark all sorts of other ideas. Try to read outside your genre, or area of usual interest sometimes too.
3. Ask yourself ‘What if?’ This sort of divergent thinking opens the mind up to new possibilities that might just inspire your next great idea!
4. Merge two ideas/concepts. This often follows tips two and three. By learning new things and then combining them with something you already know, new and wonderful things can come to mind. What if I apply this event in history to this part of my plot line?
5. Talk to strangers. Okay, not just strangers, but people you don’t know can be great sources of inspiration because we’re sometimes more receptive. We’re looking for ways to categorise and understand them, and that can provide great character inspiration.
6. You. Everything you perceive in this world is filtered through your own personal lens. You apply your own history, world view and experience to everything in your life. There’s a wealth of inspiration already within you. The key is learning how to dust off old experiences and apply them to something new.
Inspiration is everywhere. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but by beginning with these small tips, you will eventually be able to find inspiration anywhere at any time. You are your own greatest resource. If what you seek isn’t already within you, the tools, or the ability to find the tools is well within your power. So let’s start today. Take one of these tips and apply it where you need it most. Tackle your day knowing that you can handle whatever your writing life throws at you!
As always, keep writing, keep learning, and build a better book!