4 Ways Of Finding Inspiration
How can you find things you love to write about?
I stumbled upon this question on Quora a while back, and saved it. It seems like such a simple question, and yet, the more I read it, I couldn’t help but see how much more there is to it than just a simple answer.
The thing is, that we all have interests; things we enjoy, and are knowledgeable about, and these things are great. They are our passions. They are things that we would possibly consider ourselves to be experts in (to varying degrees).
For me, these things are:
These are the things that I have an interest in and a passion for. However, for some others, these might not be of any interest at all, but they might have three completely different things that they would like to write about.
This is the patchwork of life. We are all different, and we can all bring different things to the table.
There is a saying, “Write what you know”, which was said by Mark Twain, but which, in some variant, is also attributed to Hemmingway.
The thing is, that while I do agree with this; we should be writing about the things that we know; if we only ever do this, then we will possibly never learn anything new.
So, how do I come up with my ideas?
Sometimes, they come to me randomly (they are the few and far between). Mostly, though, I have several techniques that I use to mine for ideas.
This is a no-brainer (pun intended). When I get stuck in a real creative funk, I take a blank screen/piece of paper, and write down whatever comes in to my mind. These can make sense or not, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to get them out of my head and on to paper. I generally find that by doing this, I will get at least a good few sparks of ideas, plus, I have the added gain that all the thoughts flying around inside my head are now given some order and containment on the paper.
Yes, really. Any type of reading. The silliest things can spark ideas that we would never have thought of before. We’ve all been stood in the kitchen at one point in time, waiting for the kettle to boil, and we end up reading the label on the pack of coffee, or tea, etc. Even this could stir up an idea.
For example, you might decide to write a story about a man, whom, on becoming bored with the limited ranges of teas available to him locally, decides to start brewing his own special blends, with potentially magickal side effects.
· Going Out For A Walk Or A Run
Sometimes, when things are really blocked, the best thing you can do is to take a step back. Walk away from the screen, which, let’s face it, can just stare at you blankly (quite rude, in my opinion). Taking a walk in nature, always helps me to refocus my thoughts. It takes me away from my current environment, which is clearly stagnant, if I am unable to come up with ideas.
Plus, exercise causes the body to release endorphins (the happy chemical), which leads to a more positive mindset. I generally find that I come back to my desk, feeling refreshed and ready to go.
· Observe, Observe, Observe
One of my favourite things to do, when I’m struggling to come up with writing ideas, is to go somewhere, and to sit and observe the people. As I watch them, stories come into my head of what their lives must be like. I take a notebook, and free write about these real life ‘characters’
Not only is it a huge resource for inspiration, but it’s also great fun to do.
· Keep A Running List
If I think of an idea, I make a note of it. I keep a running list of ideas, so that if I find myself stuck, and unsure of what to write, then I know that I can always refer back to it.
The most important thing that I’ve found, though, is for me to try not to limit myself. We are creatures that seem to want to put limits on ourselves, and this is something that as creatives, we need to fight against with every creative muscle we have.
When the world says “You can’t do that!”
We must simply respond, “Why not?”
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.