Wednesday 24 March 2010

Here's how I handle lack of inspiration

1. I start writing. No. Seriously. Sound stupid? It's not. I tend to get interesting ideas if I start writing whatever wafts into my head, even if I'm destined to delete it all after the real 'fall flat on my face idea' hits me over the head like a hammer. (If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning ... I'd hammer in the evening ...)

2. I think. I think about that 'fall flat on my face idea' through the washing, the cooking, the cleaning, the shower, the reality TV show I really wanted to watch but can't concentrate on anymore because I'm thinking too much.

3. I read. I read and read and read some more because reading other people's books helps me to learn. I try not to read books by the same author or genre in a row either. I want to see different skills and imaginations at work and how different authors have utilized the fiction writing skills I've learned and utilized myself.

4. I phase out of conversations. (caution: this is not a tip; this is a habit I need to try to stop) I immerse myself in a deep conversation with my fiance and find I haven't heard a word, and have to ask him to repeat himself, which then causes an argument, and therefore gives me juicy dialogue for my protagonist and her horrible husband, boyfriend, bff, or boss.

5. I take notes. I take notes even if it is no where near a 'whole' note. It could be a word, a feeling, an expression, a funny sentence I heard someone say in the street, a spelling error on a Greek tavern menu that cracks me up, for eg. 'rubbit with onions'. You never know, maybe it'll link to the 'fall flat on my face idea' in some shape or form.

6. I blog. And then I delete my post because I realise what I'm writing is a really great 'falling off my seat idea', and I should use it in my book. And then I post something like this instead, because I have suddenly become inspired.

From no inspiration to lots of it. That's how I do it. How do you handle it?


  1. These are really great tips! I do the first one too. I just force myself to start typing words, every day during my scheduled writing time. Some days the words start flowing fast and other days they only trickle. But it all adds up eventually into a completed novel! (And it usually isn't so bad as I first thought!)

  2. 1) Read and Read again
    2) Write in my journal how uncreative I'm being
    3) Listen to music
    4) scroll the cool postings on
    5) Take a shower

    The shower is where most of my great ideas come to me.

  3. These are great tips! I guess I shy away from my writing at that point, but I really shouldn't. I'm usually afraid I'm going to write nothing but a series of letters. I should shore up and do it anyway since I'm not afraid to revise.

  4. Excellent! I handle it a lot like you do, but with more reading and a great deal of avoidance! :-)

  5. Excellent list! I do the same thing, except for the phasing out of conversations. I'm working hard on being with people when I'm with people and being on the computer when I'm on the computer. I do all my thinking while exercising or doing mindless household chores. Or driving.

  6. Jody: Yes, this so is the best way for me. Even if I want to gag at the most of it afterwards, there's always SOMETHING in it I can use :)

    Jessica: Don't write how uncreative you're being! hahaha - you'll give yourself a complex! ;)

    T.Anne: Next time try not to shy away - I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    coffelvnmom: Damn, I knew I forgot one ...

    Shannon: I must admit, I do avoid SOMEtimes ... but only when there are other things that could really distract me.

    Elana: It sure pays to pay careful attention to coversation, doesn't it? Any time I'm either having or listening to someone else having one, it's like a slice of my brain that's storing away all the little inflections and phrasing. You think that's bad? I hope I haven't offended anyone one with my glazed over eyes ... haha

  7. I push myself too. Most times words start to click and I wonder why I ever procratinated in the first place. LOL!!

    And then sometimes I play a game of tetris. :)

  8. Love it! Writing and reading provide the most ideas for me. I write all ideas into a journal. My brain tends to circle the next novel in my mind at all times too!

  9. Excellent tips. I don't have as much of a problem of being inspired with ideas -- have tons of them continually--my problem is the being motivated to do the sit down at the keyboard and actually write thing.

    Oh, and I think that about my blog posts sometimes--like wow instead of posting this I should expand it and submit it somewhere.
    Oh well.

  10. Jennifer: Ha, yes, I've taken to playing online billiards!

    Jill: so true about the constant circling. It can actually get frustrating at times because I think, I'd really like to escape my thoughts, while I'm watching Grey's Anatomy, but instead I miss half of it cause I've been on in fairyland.

    arlee bird: If that's the case - good going! I wish I didn't have blank phases - it stresses me out.

  11. I pop around to blogs looking at photos... I ALWAYS find inspiration on blogs!!!
    BTW... you can own all of those paintings you like... they are in my Bargain Gallery too!!!
    Okkkk back to painting... found lots of inspiration already today!


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