8 Tips To Finding Writing Inspiration, Even When You Swear You’ve Used Every Idea You Can Possibly Think Of
Writing is hard. Finding the inspiration, time, motivation, mood and energy to write is even harder. You're so over calling it "writer's block," and are ready to start feeling inspired to create your next great project.
We all know that simply sitting down at the keyboard and putting in effort is the first rule to getting any writing done. Then why is it important to feel inspired? When you're full of creative energy, suddenly the "work" of writing vanishes and the words come effortlessly. You find your focus and become fully captivated by your work. There's nothing quite like the high of a long, productive stretch of creative work, and inspiration is the drug.
But how to find this elusive, mysterious quality called inspiration? You've probably tried every trick there is in the book to finding that next great idea. (Going outside to take a walk has sooo already been done). If you feel like you've tried every trick out there, take a look at these tips below for a fresh, new source of inspiration that might help you find your muse.
Write a Pastiche
A pastiche is an artistic style that imitates another particular style. Pastiches are useful tools for writing exercises and prompts, but can actually create some really great work. Think about your favorite story, book, or poem. Study the writing style and try to mirror it, only with your own original characters and plot. (Like when I was 19 and wrote my own Fight Club.) Sometimes, having guidelines in place can release your mind from worrying about style, tone, or verb tense and help you to simply create.
Build a Badass Playlist
In my experience, finding that one song that resonates with me, that I for can't take off repeat, fills me with so many story ideas. Open iTunes or Spotify and start a playlist. Think of the opening track — why is that one first? What songs follow and why? What overall mood does it have? How does it reflect what you're writing? Warming up these creative skills with something simple like a well-balanced playlist is less about procrastination and more about ingenuity.
Write In a Journal — But Only In a Journal
Put away the story. Don't think about it right now. Instead, try journaling every night. After seven days, go back to your story, now with a record of your thoughts, ideas, and sketches from the week. When you track your day-to-day life, you have greater recall of the minutiae of the everyday, which can be beneficial and inspiring for your own writing. If seven days isn't enough, journal for a couple of weeks or even a month and see what you produce.
Don't Read Whole Books — Just the First Sentence
Pick out a dozen books or stories you love, and just read the first line. How does that line introduce you to the narrative? What is significant about it? What don't you know, but want to find out? Try creating some great "hook" lines, even if you don't write the rest of the story. Creating an intriguing thoughtful first line will make you, the writer, interested in what happens to these characters, too.
Write Drunk (and Edit Sober)
Go ahead, pour yourself a drink. Writing drunk might not produce the most grammatically correct writing in the world, but, hey, you're just looking for inspiration, right? Let your characters do something weird. Don't judge, just write. In the morning, look back at what you produced and see what's salvageable – you'll be surprised to find it's a lot. A few drinks could be just what you need to silence your inner critic for a night and get some serious words down.
Get An Adrenaline Rush
Forget going on a walk around the block — do something bold instead. Take an interval training class at the gym. Practice your high dive. Try rock climbing. Maybe your lack of inspiration really means that you need to get out of your comfort zone. When you're doing an activity that's high-intensity and -adrenaline, you're completely immersed in the moment. You'll come back to the computer with a new perspective, maybe even a little achey and out of breath, but feeling a thrill that you'll definitely want to try to capture on the page.
Laughter is always the best medicine. Laughing can boost activity in areas of the brain associated with decision-making and emotional response. My personal suggestion for some quick laughs is stand-up comedy (I recommend John Mulaney, Morgan Murphy, or Mike Birbiglia). Not only will you have the added benefit of laughter to boost your mood, but their witty observations and outrageous storytelling can provide some serious story inspiration.
Take a Break
Maybe you're not inspired right now because you're burned out. You want to write, but sometimes that's just not enough. Get your mind off your project and simply live day-to-day. See what time away from your project feels like. Is that desire gnawing at you? Do you just have to hit the keys? Come back refreshed and see what happens. Sometimes, taking a break from our own subconscious and simply living can reboot your brain and uncloud your thoughts, leaving it open for new ideas to form.