One of the biggest challenges for aspiring writers is finding inspiration. Some people are great writers, they’ve nailed all their high-school and college term papers but can’t seem to grasp the skill to craft their writing into something enjoyable to read.
Maybe your life is so scheduled or mundane that the thought of something extraordinary doesn’t even cross your mind because you’re so focused on the ordinary: What am I going to make for dinner? Tomorrow is laundry day. I have to remember to pay the electric bill. Do I need to get gas this morning?
The solution: Make your life more extraordinary amongst the ordinary.
Let your mind wander a bit to consider potential scenarios. What if sweet little Betty-Sue who was peddling Girl Scout cookies is using the money to save for a cruise instead of fund her next camping trip? What if your dog could actually talk…what would he say?
Honestly, consider what would happen if people didn’t follow the norms. Read a lot of fiction, watch TV (in moderation, it’s not going to help you become a better writer), engage in conversations with friends and family and exaggerate or twist their stories to accommodate other characters that you envision. Find sentence or plot prompts and let your mind wander from there.
For me, I find inspiration through the above-mentioned ideas. (Work in retail for a bit and you’ll encounter all sorts of characters…) I also let ideas fester before committing them to paper. Over the course of a few months or even a few weeks, new ideas can add to the depth of your characters by walking with them for a bit before you set them in motion.
Inspiration can come in the form of an idea for a story, an idea for a strong character, a desire to personify a cause that you’re passionate about, or something you’ve witnesses through media that triggers your creative juices. Hell, I even got inspired by a song title to write a book that was completely irrelevant to the song.
You never know where inspiration is going to strike. The important thing is to jot down your ideas and walk with them for a bit. Maybe one day when you’re feeling particularly inspired at midnight when you’re crawling into bed, you’ll be able to sacrifice your next morning by staying up until two or three in the morning to plot out your next novel.
You never know when the idea for an inspiration will slip away so it’s best to lock it down while you can. With that being said, don’t alienate yourself from keeping ideas separate. For The Blood Moon, I combined two stories to create the novel and worked on weaving them together seamlessly from there. That spurred a prequel that I’m also working on.
Chances are, if you’re a writer, you’re also very creative. However it is very easy to let your life slip into the boring routine that is life. Where others pine for a stiff drink at the end of the day, maybe you’re looking forward to hitting the keyboard and plotting your next novel–with a stiff drink nearby…