Every writer needs inspiration and we all have different ways of bribing our muses to stick around and help us finish our projects. So, here are ten different tricks that you might find helpful, or just plain fun, in your quest to complete a book!
1) Listen to music, especially themed playlists. Whenever I hear a song that makes me think of a scene or character, I take note of the song and what it made me think of, then add it to my playlist. For Astral Rain, I actually have a “theme” for each of the main characters. Listening to that music when I’m trying to write a scene or just to have in the background when I’m writing for a story helps me drift into the writing mindset.
2) Look at artwork (photographs, paintings, sculptures, etc.) that reminds you of a character, a setting, a mood, and event that helps propel your writing. A photograph of a landscape that looks like your world, a painting of a person who looks like your character, a piece of abstract art that just gets you in the writing mood. DeviantART is my favorite place to go for this, but the art can really come from anywhere. Also, if drawing your characters or a scene works, go for it!
3) Watch a movie that gets you in the mood to write. This happens more for Foxglove than me, but I know that when I watch anime, I get in to mood to write anime-style stories or characters (although this can lead me into writing fanfiction rather than focusing on my own work. ^_^;;)
4) Read something that makes you think about your own writing or gets you psyched to write. Reading books about writing, advice from other authors, and occasionally reading books that somehow resonate with my own work. Reading Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown gets me in the mood to write for Mariner Sequence.
5) Take a walk. Not only does a change of scenery act rejuvenating and refreshing, but exercise helps stimulate you brain. You can chat to yourself about plot difficulties and work things out, or just stay silent and not think about writing at all. Breathe the fresh air and enjoy the scenery.
6) Take a vacation. You get a break from the daily grind, and a change of setting full of relaxation can help. My personal favorite is going to the beach, especially if you can manage a week. Try to go either alone or with one or two other people who stimulate your creativity (fellow writing or drawing types) so they will help you focus rather than distract you. I spent a week at the beach with Birde Williams and I got a lot of drawing and writing done. Alas, I haven’t been able to repeat the experience.
7) Chat with a writer’s group. This can be in person or online, as long as you can find a few fellow creative types who are both encouraging and not afraid to give critical feedback. My own writer’s group to go to when I need inspiration or to vent is Pens in Space.
8) Reread what you’ve already written. That gets me back into the mindset of the world. Try to either just reread the beginning of the scene you were working on, or the scene just before it because if you have lots and lots of pages written, you’ll exhaust yourself reading them and end up not writing anything. I also sometimes retype the plot, just to organize events in my mind and see where things need more detail or to find plot holes.
9) Act it out. Movement helps stimulate thinking, and sometimes acting out a scene or trying to get inside a character’s head by speaking their lines can help. This is a trick that I don’t use very much; I’ll generally pace back and forth in my living room muttering to myself and tossing my head like a nervous horse. But for those of you with an acting streak, this might help you.
10) Find your own quirks. Mine is nail polish. I collect different kinds of nail polish and chose a different color for each writing project. Mariner Sequence is deep blue, Astral Rain is dark purple, the same shade as Matthias’s hair, Rinamathair is emerald green for its heavy Celtic influence… Since I divide my time between watching the screen and watching my fingers type, I like being able to watch richly painted nails dance across a keyboard. For some reason, that helps me continue writing because if I’m not typing, the nails aren’t moving. Hooray for ADD!
A word of warning: while you’re engaging in activities to get inspired, don’t get distracted and forget to write!