Top 10 Ways to Find Inspiration

If you’re a writer, then you know better than anyone that inspiration can be a fickle thing to pin down. It’s nothing to be ashamed of for sure . . . sometimes it eludes the best of us in the corner of our minds.

Like you, I’ve struggled from time to time with character creation or being able to describe a scene just the right way.

None-the-less, finding inspiration for our projects is something we must master if we ever want our work to take on its own life. In order to assist my fellow writers, I’d like to share ten things I found helping while writing my novels.

1. Reading

If you have a passion to write, then more than likely you love to read. And, what better and more entertaining way to find inspiration?

Many authors find it helpful to read the kinds of literature they like to write. So, if you’re writing mystery novels, it may be helpful to read your favorite mystery books. This is an excellent way to get in the mood for writing, but it’s also a lot of fun.

I believe the writing style of the books I read influences the way I write. I try to read books by authors who can craft an excellent tale and whose work enjoy and admire.

We all want to get better at what we do, right?

2. Library

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but research can be one of your best tools for getting inspired for that next great book.

This will be especially the case if you write historical fiction like I do. Learning more about your subject’s time period and culture is critical and you just might learn a thing or two that will direct your plot in unexpected ways.

Now, crack open that book!

 

3. People Watching

The nice thing about people watching is that you can observe your subjects in their natural habitat. Think of it like you’re on safari. There’s the gazelle, and your job is to describe its physical characteristics, mannerisms, tone of voice, mood, and energy.

This is my favorite way to find inspiration. I like to go to a local coffee shop or public space, sit down, and watch the magic happen. You will inevitably see some unique people come and go, and they’ll enrich your writing.

The world is filled with unique and interesting people, and your book(s) will be, too.

4. Friends & Family

Isn’t it true that we all have the weirdest friends and family? Not really . . . We all have little quirks that make us special, those things the people closest to us know about or notice. Characters are the same. When I think about how characters feel about one another, I reflect on the people I care about most in my own life and the special bonds we share.

Now, don’t take this as permission to write about personal details that should stay private. Don’t use people. Period. Find characteristics to influence your writing, and let your imagination take it to the next level. Writing a book is an enjoyable thing, but not worth jeopardizing relationships over.

5. Music

This is an instrumental part of my daily writing process.

Just throw on some tunes that reflect the kind of scenes you want to write. Hey, you can warm up with a short dance, too, if you want . . . I won’t tell if you won’t.

Trust me, your writing will reflect what you’re listening to in the best possible ways.

6. Movies

If you need a reason to go to the movies, here it is.

Each movie is the culmination of hundreds of creative people’s hard work, and why not try to gleam something from their efforts. Maybe it’s a character you fell in love with or hate, or maybe it’s the setting or costume design.

There’s going to be something that you find amazing . . . and you can utilize this to your benefit. Mark it off as a tax expenditure if you can 🙂

7. TV

The only problem with using movies for inspiration is that character development is limited due to the limited nature of time inherent in a given movie. A TV series has no such limitations. They can spend a great deal of time developing one or many characters in a wide variety of settings. You can take advantage of this if you want.

I find it of value to watch a good TV series, especially those with interesting characters. This is not a hard-fast rule, but sometimes it gets me in the mood to write a particular scene.

If nothing else, it may get you over the hump of a stagnant imagination. It’s worked for me.

8. Travel

Umm . . . do I have to say anything else to pique your interest here?

I found a great deal of valuable inspiration traveling to England and Italy for my dark historical fiction books. Maybe you’ll find powerful inspiration in something closer to home, but can you think of a more enjoyable way to do research for your writing? I didn’t think so.

9. Art

If you love to write, you likely enjoy other forms of art that create an emotional response. Personally, I love going to museums and delving into other art scenes.

Whether it’s statuary, paintings, pottery, photography, or digital creations, it’s way too much fun. It’s also a gold mine of inspirational material.

I find additional value in museums as I write historical fiction. This literally gives me direct access to other cultures and time periods, material that makes it into my books.

Exploring my artist side in others ways gets me in the mood to write. Whether it’s painting, drawing, or taking photographs, taking a little time to get my creative juices flowing can definitely influence my writing.

10. Nature

If you don’t make time to get in touch with nature, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Even stepping outside and spending time in your back yard can yield a great deal of descriptive gold. Just quiet your mind, listen to the sound of leaves crunching underfoot, the smells that surround you, and how colors change throughout the course of the day.

Anything you experience outside could be translated into your own writing.

One of my favorite things to do is to go on a day hike in the mountains, the plains, trees, or parks. It revitalizes and inspires me. What do you notice when you’re out in nature? Bring that awareness back to your work.

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