This month we’re talking about inspiration and perspiration, which really is what writing is all about. You can’t write without at least a little bit of inspiration. And you won’t get anything finished without some perspiration thrown in there as well.
So the question I have for you is: which one do you think is more important?
Some people believe wholeheartedly in the ‘muse’.
I’m not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think that being inspired helps. (Hey, I love writing in a beautiful setting just as much as the next person.) But…I absolutely do not believe we need to wait for the elusive muse to visit us, tap us on the head with magic writing dust and motivate us to write. I mean, it’s nice when it happens. But what if it doesn’t?
That’s where the perspiration comes in.
Writing is work. Especially when that damn muse fails to show up. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You just need to sit down and write. Even if it’s crap. Keep writing. And then write some more. And…more.
That being said, new inspiration for ideas, characters, plot twists, and fresh stories are what makes writing so much fun. So, here are a few ways I find inspiration when that unreliable muse sleeps in:
1) Talking to other writers
This one is huge for me. Sometimes just sitting down and talking things over is just what I need to get my brain fired up to start generating some great new ideas. Just hangin out with other writers is often enough to get me excited to get back to my desk.
If you haven’t been to a writers conference yet, find one and go! You can always learn something about the craft of writing and sitting in sessions where they’re talking about setting, or character descriptions, you’re sure to get some sparks of your own for your current WIP. I was recently at SiWC and filled pages of notes for some future projects.
Sometimes, when I’m really stuck on a plot point that I just can’t work through. I’ll go to the gym, or go for a run. I’m sure there’s a physiological explanation for it, but I couldn’t begin to tell you what it is. Whatever it is, there is something about exercise that generates all kinds of great ideas.
Yup, you read it right. And, this is where the perspiration comes in. There are times, when you just need to write through the hard part. You think it’s crap? Write the scene again. Try a different twist on it. Then maybe a different twist altogether. Put your character through something they’d never do. Maybe you won’t use any of what you wrote. But maybe you will. And chances are good, you’ll loosen up some new ideas in the process.
So what are some of your go-to strategies to generate new ideas and create your own inspiration?