Inspiration. It can either be a very nasty, fleeting agenda or it could be the best to ever happen to writers. For the record, a good writer shouldn’t depend solely on inspiration. However, there are some days when discipline just ain’t enough. Discovering ways to trigger that inspiring moment could just be the one thing you need to get back to your momentum.
Now, the following tips are neither fool-proof nor dermatologically tested. Rest assured, though, I’ve immersed myself into these tactics and they pretty much worked out for me. What works for me may not always do so for you. But then again, it may also be a worth your try.
Read a book or blog.
Reading, need I stress this, is an important habit for writers. In fact, when I was doing academic writing for a living, 80% of the work required reading. 19% writing. And 1% positive thinking (sorry, no points for audience impact). In order to write well, you need to have a good set of words at your beck and call. I’ve experienced many times when I try to write something without reading a book for a long time how amazing my lack of expression becomes with words. It’s like describing things from a kindergartener’s perspective—which isn’t always a bad thing. It’s cool how kids have the best imaginations and coping mechanisms. But the awkward phrases and cringeworthy use of words? Not cool.
Watch a movie.
Isn’t this our favorite, though? Wouldn’t it be a dream just to watch movies with popcorn in tow for nights on end? But before we get too excited about the prospect of and the intricate profession that is couch potato-ing, check out the idea for a while. When we watch a particularly good movie, we often resonate with the cool protagonist (or villain, whoever is cooler) and feel like our lives could literally be the same. And after the credits roll, we find ourselves a new identity and/ or possibly call ourselves a new name. We could use this energy for a story or for creating various plots and twists into our work as writers.
Read your own writing again.
It’s kind of counter-intuitive and self-centered at first to read you own work when you need inspiration. But this one is very effective for me. Reading our written words once again reminds us of the emotions we felt while writing. And this might just be our much needed trigger to repeat the cycle. The beauty of this practice is that we find weak spots in our past work that we could improve on in our next piece.
Take a walk.
Only when it’s safe to walk outside and it’s physically doable for you, though. I’ve often found that taking walks when I have a problem decreases my own anxiety. It helps me get my thoughts together without mentally draining me out. Just the simple act of being outdoors and seeing everything outside physical walls can do wonders for the imagination. The fresh air doesn’t hurt, too.
Getting into any physical activity in between writing is something I swear by. I often do household chores between writing bouts. It’s good practice since it warms up your brain. I don’t know about any research that could back that up but this last tip I find very useful because it helps me avoid being too stationary. It keeps me moving.
No matter what tactics or strategies you use before you feel inspired to write, just know that the best tip of all is just to start writing. You could write about anything at all. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that ideas will come to you. They may not always be your best ideas for now, but still, they are ideas you can begin to work with.