Writing Inspiration Tip #002
Unlikely Places to Find Inspiration
Inspiration can be irritating. When you need it, you can’t find it. When you least expect it, it bites you in the butt, be there’s no pen. You’ve probably sat for hours staring at your word processor’s cursor as it blinked at you, mocking the progress you haven’t made. For most, leaving your computer is the issue, but sometimes you have to do a little stretching to get the inspiration you need.
The Internet is filled with things to keep your mind and your fingers occupied. Visit other writer’s blogs to see what they’re thinking, what they are writing about, and what they’re inspired by. Sometimes a little spark of inspiration that helps someone else can be everything that you need.
My favorite thing to do is sit in Starbucks and watch. Over a cup of coffee, people will reveal a lot about themselves. Whether it’s the girl with bejeweled Uggs (can you even buy those?) or the guy who sets up three computers at the handicapped table to check his email – inspiration is everywhere.
Barnes and Noble
Pick up a random book and read the first chapter. Grab a magazine that you normally would have no interest in and start reading. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of likely places. Read the editorials or letters to the editor and see what people are talking about. Chances are that if someone has taken the time to write to an editor of a magazine, they have something they really want to say. Chances are, more than one person will want to read it.
Yes, it’s cold outside, but this means that the people or things you see have a real reason to be there. Grab a warm coat, a cup of coffee and just wait. You might find inspiration for a car accident scene, or a lover’s quarrel.
The news today is horrifying. In one of my local newspapers, each day at least one person is shot. How many story lines could you come up with to explain that? Rip a story right from the headlines and rework it into fiction, see what you can come up with.
Children really are, in my opinion the best place to get inspiration. They are still uninhibited, silly and say exactly what is on their minds without regard for social norms. Ask a kid what’s going on – you are guaranteed to get a great story.
When was the last time you left your GPS at home and just drove without aim? Try it, not only is it liberating, but you can discover some really unique places you didn’t know were so close to home. Driving for most of us allows the conscious mind to focus on a task while at the same time leaving your unconscious mind free to roam. Just don’t forget to signal when changing lanes. The point of this is not to find a destination, but just to get somewhere.
Find your old photos
Remember the days before cheap SD cards and memory sticks? Open up an old photo album – what the hell were you thinking with that hair? Those clothes? Not only will you find memories you forgot about, but I guarantee you will a story you thought was buried.
Play a word game
Play around with letters. Ever heard of Words With Friends? Of course you have, so has Alec Baldwin. Try playing with a friend or a random opponent. Trying to make words out of scrambled letters will do wonders for your creativity. Try gaining inspiration from the words that have popped up onto the screen. Can you relate jury, wind, apple and young into a story?
Google random words
Google is literally the greatest thing since sliced bread. You can do anything with it, so instead of traveling, or wasting gas (if you are like me and leave your tank on empty), Google random words and see what videos or news stories come up. Try ‘barf-bag’ it will either make you laugh or cry at the amount of information that comes up.
Pages from old books
Pick up an old book you haven’t read in ages and read one page. Even if it’s the most boring page in the book, chances are it will spark your memory or remind you of something – anything!
Finding inspiration isn’t necessarily a passive process. It’s hard to sit, and stare at a wall waiting for inspiration to smack you in the face. If this is what you have been doing, it’s time to change tactics. Try anyone of these.
Have your own ideas? Let me know. What gets your juices flowing?