Fact of the Day: this is my 200th post.
If you follow my Facebook Author Page, then you already saw the photo I’m about to share. But this is at the beginning for a reason:
Yesterday, after sharing my journal excerpt that inspired Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy), Minutes Before Sunset hit #586 in Books > Romance > Paranormal on Amazon.com! Thank you for sharing my dreams with me.
So, yes, thank you so much! It’s an amazing feeling to know my inspiration can inspire others, and that’s why I wanted to say this: although my dreams inspire me, you all are my ultimate inspiration. Your support, encouragement, and kind words continuously bring a smile to my face.
I know I often mention how inspired I am by dreams—how my novels are derived from my nightmares—but today I wanted to talk about four other ways writers can find inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you’ll try one outside of your usual inspiration and find a new love you would’ve never expected:
Unless you’re a hermit, people are all around us. Society holds teachers, parents, kids, cops, doctors, hippies, and so many other kinds. And they can all be heroes. (They can also be villains.) I think psychology is one of the fundamentals to life—and it transfers to writing. Knowing how people work or where they come from can help create more realistic and rounded characters—especially if you get to know more unique individuals. Taking a moment to talk to someone you never thought you’d talk to might end up in a novel one day.
As a child, I clearly remember reading an article over an eight-year-old organ donor who saved ten lives. This story struck me as beautifully tragic, but it is so alike to the 2008 movie “Seven Pounds” that I wondered if maybe the writer saw an article just like I had. Basing a story off of news events is pretty common. But there are also tales, mythology, classical literature, legends, and more. Recently, for instance, I shared “6 Baffling Discoveries that Science Can’t Explain.” The point of this was simple: mysteries from real life can often inspire fiction or the famous Mark Twain quote, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”
Most people wish they could do more of this, but it’s expensive and time consuming. If you can, great! Travel away. I find traveling to be one of the most energizing life experiences, but, like many, I can’t do it as much as I’d like. Thank goodness for the internet. The World Wide Web has hundreds—millions—of websites dedicated to traveling and/or learning about other countries. It’s not as authentic, of course, but it can spark the imagination. One of the best articles I read recently was “He Was Arrested 20 Times For This. But I Think It’s TOTALLY Worth It.” The article follows photographer, Dan Marbaix, as he travels the world, trespassing into abandoned locations. Just seeing these unsettling photos is enough to make your mind wander.
Drugs & Alcohol:
I am, by no means, encouraging this. Again, I am not encouraging this. I’m actually very against using anything that can be potentially harmful for inspiration. But, nevertheless, this is a commonly used tool. In fact, there are entire articles dedicated to this topic, including this one, “Top 10 Substance-Addled Writers.” Reasons for this seem to be simple: drugs altar the mind and body. It can often relax the creative walls artists put up. But I think there are better and healthier ways than this.
So what to do?
Try talking to someone you wouldn’t usually talk to. Try going somewhere you haven’t been before or somewhere you never thought you’d like to go. Read about cultures you’ve never been interested in. Or, if you have extra time and money, travel somewhere.
If you share your story and/or a unique idea in the comments, you might be the one picked to be a guest blogger!
7 thoughts on “Challenge Your Inspirations”
I’m a dream inspired person as far as my novels go. If I go over my list of novels that I plan to write in the future, I remember that nearly all of them evolved from some strange dream. I really don’t get nightmares anymore, but my dreams get really weird. Ironically, my short story idea usually come from daydreaming when I’m supposed to be doing something else.
It’s so funny that you would share this post, because I was just talking about how my dreams sometimes show me different ways to write and see the world. I was just talking about this very same thing. I believe there are no coincidences. My significant other just said that I should write a book with all my dreams because I have so many. Lol. I currently have about 400 dreams in my dream journal online, but that’s after I deleted hundreds of other ones. My imagination is very active. Music is also another big inspiration when writing. It connects in a beautiful way and my writing sometimes flows effortlessly with the soundtracks in the back of my mind. Keep writing, congratulations, and much success in the future!
May I add one? You can gather inspiration by… reading! Reading your genre to keep up with what’s coming out, but also reading outside your genre to cross-pollinate with fresh ideas. Reading nonfiction can spark ideas for SF and historical. One of my best stories came from another author’s story that was completely creepy, yet in a way silly. I simply had to write that “no, no, this is what would happen” story — and it sold!
I find when I am uninspired I need to change things up. Go on a walk, stay up late to write, or get up at 4 AM. The one thing I would add to this list is to meet with another writer for coffee or tea. Nothing inspires me more than meeting with others who share this common goal.
I find inspiration by disconnecting for a moment from Facebook, Twitter, email, TV, etc. and just observing. It could be something as simple as an exchange between a mother and child, a glance between lovers or a flash of anger on a stranger’s face. The world around me without the filter of the internet is a great source of inspiration.
Woohoo! And they said taking drugs was bad? 🙂
All kidding aside, I personally do meditations and one side effect is a build up of those DMT chemicals that make you see through the fabric of the universe. It’s great for creativity, but it really makes you depressed sometimes lol.
Not a sad depressed, but a more apathetic-type depression.
I talk to strangers all the time. I’ve been doing it since I was two years old. But when I listen I’m wily. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve eavesdropped on or happened upon that ended up being food for a story or the main story line. Listening to other people’s conversations (discreetly) can be a great way to get story ideas.