10 Inspiration reminders

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

There are so many places for inspiration that sometimes we forget how to find it. Refilling the well is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a writer. Most of these may seem like no brainers, but speaking from experience it is always good to have a list to go back to those things we sometimes forget.

1) BOOKS- I really should list this one as print. Books, Magazines, Newspapers, graphic novels could all be included in this one. There is something special about the printed word. The smell of old paper or new paper is akin to fresh baked cookies for writers. Bookstores also have a feel about them that might get you writing all by itself. Check out your local library or comic book store too. You may just find your next character for a piece working there.

2) MUSIC- This one is one of those no brainers I was talking about. Here is something you might not have thought about though. If we are looking for inspiration a lot of times we are looking for something new to get us going. Most of the time when we listen to music we go straight for the familiar, and while this can be a good thing for inspiration why not try something different. NPR public radio or your local college station. Put on an internet radio station of someone else’s and see what it gets moving.
Another great use for music is to create a playlist your character would listen too and let it influence the way you write.

3) OVERHEARD CONVERSATIONS- I love hearing other people have conversations. If you happen to overhear  interesting dialog, jot it down in your writing journal as soon as possible.  Don’t worry about getting it exact. Remember we  are not crazy James Bond type spies, rather we are collectors of ideas. What you write down can serve as a model or inspiration for later writing.  Public transportation is great for this. I had a brief time where i would bring a recorder with me everywhere and then go back and play it for ideas on conversation in my book.

4) MOVIES- Again I want to encourage new experiences. Grab a movie you normally wouldn’t watch. Foreign movies without the sound are my favorite. I turn off the Subtitles as well and imagine what they are saying. One of my favorite movies for inspiration is called Baraka. Look for visually brilliant movies or movies entirely made out of dialogue.

5) QUOTES- There are hundreds of quotes and sites for quotes out there. I use Google for this most often.

6) History. It can be unexpected, but great people in history can inspire you to greatness. Wikipedia is a great source for historical information.

7) PHOTOGRAPHY/TRAVEL SITES- This is one of my favorites. Whenever I am stumped for something to write I go find a picture of somewhere far away and then freewrite about it.

8) Exercise- Motion creates emotion. If your having a hard time with an idea or getting started try moving around for a bit. I promise after you have been moving for a while you will come up with something.

9) Del.icio.us. This popular bookmarking site is a treasure trove of great articles and blog posts and resources. Stumble Upon is also a great resource that I use a lot. It is a web tool that lets you plug in your interests and then press a button to pull up random websites about what you are interested in.

10) People watching- This is an interesting activity for any writer. The mall is great for this, your state capital, the beach. Anywhere you think your character might spend time will also help you get into the frame of mind you need to finish or start something.

Feel free to add your inspiration ideas in the comments. These are by all means not the only ones I use, but they are some of my favorite. What are yours?

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