Sunday, 22 May 2011

Where I find inspiration to write

Often I find that I’m inspired to write, but have no writing ideas. 
Or that I have heaps of ideas, but no inspiration to write them.

Lately I’ve had a lot of both.

Thought I’d share with everyone where my inspiration and story ideas come from.

  • Often I find that I lack the inspiration to write, because I don’t feel confident in my writing ability. If I’ve had a break from writing, starting back up again feels like the hardest thing to do (which is definitely why I’m trying to write every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes). To combat this, I like to read over some of my favourite bits of writing. I look at journals or magazines that I’ve been published in and use that reassurance and confidence to write something new.  
  • I have a scrapbook of all my favourite poems/descriptions/excerpts… I love reading over them and finding inspiration from the meaning and beauty of those words.
  • I also love reading literary journals or magazines. I find inspiration in the fact that other people are writing and the competitive part of me wants to write and be published, too. There is no better feeling that discovering a literary gem. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and I just want to reread it over and over. I always wonder if any of my short stories have that affect on people, too.
  • Talking to other writers or going to literary events really gets me inspired. If I have writers block, or if I’m feeling a bit detached from the writing community, I look up events and book in straight away. Or I spend hours online reading about writing and authors.
  • Blogging, of course, is another source of my inspiration. Not only maintaining my own blog (and having to stick to my writing goals), but seeing other peoples blogs and reading about their writing and thoughts. 

Ok, to be honest, a lot of the time ideas just pop up at complete random. The other day I was driving and idea after idea just came into my head. I had to pull over and write them all down. Sometimes it's a situation that comes to mind, other times it’s a characters.

But sometimes, my creativity evades me and I feel like I have nothing to write about. 
Here are some of the things I do and places I go to when this is the case.
  • I go to a coffee shop and eavesdrop on conversations around me and people watch for character ideas.
  • Post SecretThis is a great website for ideas. Every week, 20 new postcards with people’s secrets are updated. I have a folder on my computer with saved pictures that I want to write stories about.
  • Photos. I love writing stories based on photos. A few years ago, I started buying old secondhand photography books and writing short stories on all the photos.
  • I like experimenting with writing styles, and writing in the same way an author has. It’s a good writing challenge. I usually write quite elaborately; I like similes and metaphors (although not in excess) that link with the themes of the stories, and I love writing descriptions. I recently read a book that was written with really colloquial language, and for descriptions, the author meddled with the format and made lists where every word was indented on the page. Like this:

He was

I plan on experimenting with this writing style soon. 

Where do you find inspiration from? 


  1. Loved this, mostly because you gave me some good ideas ;) I'll have to check out Post Secret.

    I totally know what you mean, when time's elapsed since I've written - I'm afraid to start! Like I've somehow forgotten the words and lost all my vowels. But once I start, I may be stiff at first, but I always get back into the flow. Sometimes after a chapter :D

    I get most of my ideas while listening to music. I listen to anything and everything, but what really stimulates those mental images are movie soundtracks and classic (romantic period).

  2. ahh yes, music is a great one that I forgot to add to my list. So many of my stories have been inspired by music.

  3. I've recently started getting ideas from dreams. I never used to, but for some reason I've had a few lately. Holly Lisle has a cool technique she calls Calling Down Lightning. Basically, it's a way for writers to pull ideas out of nowhere, if they need one fast.

  4. I'm glad you are finding inspiration from Chrysalis! :D