Hello everyone! I can’t believe it’s already December. November was a whirlwind of a month because I participated in Nanowrimo. And yes:
I wrote 50,078 words in thirty days. My characters grew, my plot twisted, and, most importantly, I was writing every single day. Now that Nanowrimo is over, I was struggling to get back into doing creative work. Between writing and school, I was worn out.
So, before I dove into another writing project, I decided to take a break and find some new ideas to mull over.
Before I tell you what I did, let me just give my thoughts on ‘inspiration’ when it comes to writing: Nothing replaces hard work. I’ve known some writers who only work on their books or poetry when they feel ‘inspired,’ which is fine if you’re a casual writer, but if I only wrote when I felt enlightened, I would never finish anything. Muses are finicky, but hard work is steady. And sometimes, hard work produces better writing.
However, after coming off of a hard month of writing where I accomplished a lot of my goals, it was time for me to refresh and see what was going on in the world beyond my laptop. Also, it’s super important for artists to support other artists. I am a firm believer that art inspires art. After I see amazing achievements in music, traditional art, and film, it just inspires me to do amazing work of my own. If you ever need a creative source, just look around at all the other talented people around you.
Or, try these 8 Easy Ways to Find Inspiration!
1. Take a Walk
I spend far too much of my time sitting. I can’t help it! I have to sit for all my favorite things: Writing, reading, and binge-watching Project Runway. (I tried to read and walk when I was younger, but my mother made me stop doing this.) But exercise is good for the body and mind, and walking has been hailed as a writer’s exercise of choice.
Probably because you’re going slowly enough that you can take in your surroundings and think poetic things about them. Runners probably just think, Oh my GOD why oh why my god WHY while the world around them turns into a miserable blur. (I am not the biggest fan of running.)
But really. Go on a walk. Bring a journal and two pens to write down everything that may cross your mind. Go to a park and observe the stillness. Go into a city and observe the bustle.
And, better yet, go to a park and look for the moments of restlessness. The bird that hops from branch to branch, never satisfied. The way water never stops moving. The way that a deer’s eye twitches when its body is frozen in fear.
Go to a city and look for the moments of still. A pigeon eating the remains of a hot-dog. A mother covering her ears when her daughter starts to cry. Minutes later, the mother will cover her daughter’s ears after someone drops an f-bomb.
If inspiration was something you needed for a research paper, taking walks would be a primary source. Humans and nature at their purest and unfiltered.
2. Go to a Museum
This painting is by Renoir, one of my favorite artists!
I am a HUGE fan of museums. If I hadn’t read From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a kid, I would probably have tried to live in an art museum by now. Bring a journal and go to a museum. Write down your immediate thoughts about an exhibit, whether it be about art, science, history, or something we don’t even have a name for yet. I really think museums are the true marker of a civilization. Everyone gathering in one spot to absorb culture. You can read more of my thought and tips on museums here!
3. Try Journaling
Journal about your life. Write down the names of the people you’ve met and the things that happen to you. One day, you might be able to use them as inspiration for characters and plot. This could be the first draft of your memoir. But even if you don’t use actual events of your life in writing, nothing is better than emotional truth, and journal writing is a great way to hone this skill.
4. Read A Book
If you want to be a writer, you must be a reader!
- Try a New Genre
If you write fiction, try reading some poetry. If you write poetry, read a biography. Remind yourself of all the different ways words can be used. Also, if you read a nonfiction account of a famous person or event, you may be able to use it for your own creative writing. That’s how Lin Manuel Miranda wrote Hamilton, after all!
- Be inspired By Older Writers
I recently attended a poetry workshop where the poet reminded us that we must remember the writers that came before us. They were the innovators of their time, and seeing how they used language may inspire us with our work today. My personal suggestion? Emily Dickinson, of course!
- Or, Take Inspiration From the New Kids On the Block!
SUPPORT NEW WRITERS. Buy their work, listen to their poetry, and get excited, because this is a great time to be alive, if only for the new amazing literature.
5. Take a Day Trip
Travel has always inspired writers, myself included, but since we can’t just drop everything and go to Europe whenever we need ideas, here’s a spin on taking trips: Be a tourist in your own town. Visit the shops you never enter and the restaurants you’ve never tried. Walk around instead of drive. Don’t be afraid to indulge. You may see things you’ve never seen before, or, at the very least, see them in a new light.
6. Attend a Writing Class
I love going to writing classes! Being surrounded by other writers, feedback, and prompts really gets my creative juices working. It’s so refreshing to work on short free-writing exercises after doing formatted poetry and plotted novels. Sometimes I leave with an idea or two that I can then expand into a much longer piece.
7. Go Onto Pinterest
This is a more modern and ~tech savvy~ approach, but Pinterest is one of my favorite social media platforms because it lets so many photographers, artists, and writers share their ideas and work. On my Pinterest, I’ve saved everything from writing pep talks to Harry Potter party ideas. Maybe you could find a drawing that inspires your next fantasy world! Just remember to give credit to image owners, and don’t steal any pictures.
8. Listen To A New Album
I used to be able to listen to music while I wrote, but unfortunately, now I just get distracted by the lyrics. That means whenever I’m not writing, I’m obsessively listening to music. (In other words, no, I don’t have a social life.)
Need some song suggestions? Here’s what I’m currently listening to.
- Literally every song off of Lorde’s Melodrama
Um, best album of the year and maybe possibly the decade? Lorde is my flowers-with-thorns-moon-child-chiffon-gown-goddess. I love the art, the heartbreak, and the wittiness of Lorde’s coming of age music. (And hey, her album cover is a painting of her! Art inspires art, amiright?) Honestly, I love every track, but if you’re a writer, you might want to start with Writer in the Dark.
- Alaska – Maggie Rogers
The ULTIMATE song to wander around a forest in thinking about all the things you used to love and your past mistakes.
- Winter Song – Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
I have always loved singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, and this lovely song captures all the feelings of wondering about true love and the change that winter brings.
- Issues – Julia Michaels
Michaels is a talented song-writer who decided to sing one of the songs she wrote instead of giving it to someone else. So, what I’m saying is, rebel writer? Issues is a love song for our time.
Thanks so much for reading. How do you find inspiration? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest or Instagram.