Writing Inspiration: The Basics

Trying to get back into the groove of writing is a challenge, one I admit I wasn’t quite prepared for.  I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling before.  You know, you sit down at a fully charged laptop in your work chair with a fresh cup of coffee (or tea.   Or water. Or even a bottle of wine.  Who am I to judge your drinking preferences?) ready to crank out a motivational blog post or a poem straight from the soul.  You place your fingers on the home keys – at least, that’s what we were taught back in middle school, am I right? – and wait for the words to flow across the open document.  You keep waiting.  Maybe after checking a few emails and seeing how many likes you’re newest Instagram upload got you’ll have something to write.

Five hours later, you’ve check each social media outlet, all 3 email accounts, watched Jenna Marbles’ newest video, and caught up on the latest political drama.  That writing thing you wanted to do never actually happened.

Finding a desire to write is easy for those of us who crave creating masterpieces with words.  Finding the inspiration to fuel said masterpieces is far more difficult.

When I was younger, I thought people took ideas from other authors and just called them different things.  Yes, I know now that’s plagiarism.  Don’t guffaw at me, okay?  I was little and ignorant.  A mere fetus.  Granted, I wasn’t too far from legal inspiration.  You may not be able to take the characters or invented creatures from a book or movie, but you are more than welcome to let that character inspire you.  For example, in the famous Harry Potter series, Harry comes across creatures called Dementors that suck all happiness and life from the victim.  Rowling designed these creatures after her vision of depression.  If you like that idea, give anxiety your own characteristics and boom.  You’ve got yourself a villain inspired by another author but with your originality.

Scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

All throughout my life, I’ve come across the idea that the best place to go and stumble upon ideas is the great outdoors.  First of all, if you’ve ever found this mystical place, please take me.   Second of all, unless the focus of your writing is legitimately about a naturalistic aspect, what good will staring at rippling water do?  Personally, it just relaxes me to the point of cat-napping.  For the rest of us, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we write more about people than nature.  Ergo, watch some people!  … uh.  Wait.  I didn’t mean stare through someone’s window for 5+ hours, ya creep.  I meant go to the beach, go to a park, go to a grocery store, go to a city square.  As long as it’s somewhere that the people you’re watching act as naturally as they do every other day, you’re golden.  As numerous psychology and sociology studies have proven, natural observation is the most ideal way to solidify certain interactions between groups of people.  As an author, it’s your job to develop characters from beginning to end, and this includes multiple things you can observe from real people: how emotions affect body language, the type of person who reacts selflessly v. the type of person who reacts selfishly, typical reactions to an inconvenient situation, etc.  Long story short, expose yourself to what you want to write about.

Image result for people watching
Alfred Hitchcock watching people

Lastly yet absolutely not least, stop writing.  *shattering plates* *dropping laptops* *collective gasps* No, no, really.  It’s so important to just STOP writing when you’ve come to a complete mental block.  I mean, you could try to force words out of your mind – it’ll probably just be a long string of crap if we’re being honest.  Unless you’ve a massive, unyielding deadline, there is so reason writing should be to simply fill a page.   Quality writing often comes when you’ve a freshly stretched and refreshed mental state.  This could look different to everyone: for me, it usually involves a musical cleaning spree or a solid workout; for others, it may look like dinner with friends or a trip to a pet store to play with the puppies and kitties up for adoption.  Actually, that sounds like a great idea … NO.  Focus, Kaden.  Finish the post first … Right.  So after you’ve taken a step away from your work, certain things become clearer.  Words flow with more ease and come together with more harmony.  It may sound like you’re taking two steps back instead of forward but trust me , and the next time you find it impossible to write, stop.

Killarney Forest Trail II

 

A final few suggestions involve mainly a writing buddy like a cat or some fish, baggy sweatpants, and multiple cups of coffee.  Happy creating, my friends.

 

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