Waking the Muse: How to Find Inspiration
Many writers are of the mistaken opinion that great work only comes when they are inspired, but that’s backwards. A writer doesn’t wait for inspiration to find them; a writer creates inspiration by starting to write, even when they don’t feel like it. The simple act of writing will kickstart your brain and let your Muse know that it’s time to get started. However, for those times when nothing seems to work and your writing just feels bad, here are a few ways to inspire yourself.
Yeah, it’s counter-intuitive – but it works. A friend once told me she was having trouble working the dialogue out of her story. She told me how the character was obsessed with his work and couldn’t break away from it. Then she told me she had spent every day for three weeks on the novel. I told her to take a break; she was projecting her own worries onto the character. A few days later, she was able to return to the novel without difficulty. Relaxing allows your subconscious to work out the problems while your conscious mind takes a well-earned break.
Don’t worry about writing anything in particular. Just jot your thoughts down into a journal. It’s usually better to do free writing and journaling by hand; it connects you with the writing more than the keyboard does. Spend just fifteen minutes writing down whatever comes to mind, even if it’s just the phrase, “I don’t know what to write,” over and over again.
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh
Go somewhere different to write.
If you normally write at your desk, go to a coffee shop. If you always write indoors, take your laptop and go to the park. Changing up your surroundings can spark inspiration in the most unlikely of ways, and sometimes it can be fun to change your approach to writing.
“Read” doesn’t adequately convey this idea, as the best writers look to a lot of different places to find inspiration. Find a great book that you enjoy. Revisit an old classic. Turn on the television and watch something new. Go online and browse fan fiction. Taking in all the forms of storytelling you can handle will inspire you. You’ll have your own personal take on a plot, or see an element that you can apply to your own work. Besides, what’s more inspirational than seeing the success of other storytellers?
Go for a walk.
Many times, the block on our writing is self imposed. Your consciousness is getting in the way. If you let your mind go blank and just take in the sights and sounds of the world around you, your brain will sort everything out. In addition, it has been shown that walking improves your creativity. You’ll burn off some of those calories and spark your mind at the same time!
Inspiration isn’t some sort of mystical force that only comes around when it feels the time is right. It’s there, inside of you, right now. You just have to find it. Like Jack London said, chase it with a club. Force it to work for you. Don’t be a slave to the need for inspiration.
What inspires you to write?