How to Find Inspiration to Write
By Georgia Coffman
Although I don’t have answers to bottling up inspiration for future use when “we have the time,” there are a few things that I do to get the juices flowing.
Visit Different Places
It doesn’t have to be jet-setting off to Fiji or Hawaii, although that would be amazing. But switching up your normal scenery works too. For example, I once visited a regular office building. Even though there was nothing particularly special or different than other office buildings, this one got me inspired.
The cafe on the twelfth floor with a view of downtown, the offices on the twenty-fifth floor with an even better view of downtown and the river, the funny security guard and charming barista – it all spoke to me.
So, changing your scenery, going to different places, even (or should I say especially) the ones that don’t seem special – it all helps give me new perspectives and ideas. It gives me more to think about that’s outside my usual bubble.
I get fresh ideas by physically being somewhere new and fresh.
Get Some Exercise
Exercising has been shown to improve creativity in addition to making us look and feel good. Fitness helps keep me physically healthy and eases my anxiety, as well as teaches me the discipline I need to chase my goals.
But it also improves my creativity. It clears my head of all life’s noises, so I can listen to the inspiration, which is all around us to begin with. We just have to be clear-headed enough to see, hear, smell, and taste it. And no matter how stressed I am, working out forces me to only focus on the task at hand – on not dropping the dumbbell on my feet or (God forbid) my head. I’m too busy making sure my form is on point and that my knees aren’t aching to think of anything else.
While I’m working out, I have no choice but to stop thinking about my endless to-do lists, job, or even my current writing projects. It’s a time for me to listen to my body and let the natural endorphins lift my spirits. This way, I have the energy to put toward writing all the words afterward.
Take a Break
Beyond that, if you find yourself getting stuck for days on end, it’s probably time for a break. It’s hard to be ON all the time. To wrack your brain for idea after idea. To go go go. It gets to be too much, so make sure you recognize exhaustion, and stop.
Take a break, even if it’s just an afternoon to go shopping. Focus on aisles of clothing or home decor instead of what needs to happen to push your characters through their black moment. Just focus for a moment on if that blush throw blanket would look good draped over your couch – yes, by the way, it does. The answer is always yes to throws!
But in all seriousness, it’s possible to overwork your brain like it is your body. Give yourself a moment to regroup before revisiting your WIP. And above all, it’s okay to do so. You’re not a failure if you do this for yourself. It just means you’re human.
One more thing, and this is very important – when inspiration strikes, I waste no time writing it down, whether that’s on a dinner napkin, my phone, or a small notebook. No matter where I am, I take a moment to jot down new ideas or plot twists or character flaws that would help strengthen a story or start a new one.
Write It Down
If you’re like me, you’ll tell yourself that you don’t need to keep notes, that you’ll remember because you’re superwoman. Go ahead and look yourself in the mirror while you emphasize to yourself that, no. You won’t remember. Amidst your job, grocery shopping, kid-raising – you will not remember an obscure idea you had as you checked out at Target.
Sometimes I get ideas while driving, but obviously tasks like these don’t allow us to stop and jot things down (I hope you don’t, anyway!). So, we have to write it down as soon as possible. Once I’m safely parked in my driveway, I’ll pull out my phone and add to my notes with whatever idea I had.
Immediately writing down ideas, even if they turn out to be terrible and/or impossible to work into a story, will cultivate your creativity. You’ll be more likely to get inspired more frequently and easily if you listen to your mind and the ideas floating around in there. You’re feeding your soul and expanding your mind for new ideas once you let the old ones out.
Don’t repress your ideas. LET THEM OUT. You’ll feel better, and you’ll have so many ideas to work with once you sit down to work on your WIP.
Now let’s get out there and get inspired!
Georgia Coffman is a contemporary romance author with a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing. She’s a lover of all things books, the TV show Friends, and jumpsuits. When she’s not reading, writing, or daydreaming about the two, she and her husband enjoy working out or playing with their two pups.
Georgia’s book, STRIP FOR ME, is available now on Amazon.
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