Saturday, February 22, 2014

Three Tips for Finding Writing Inspiration

Are you ready to start a new writing project but are struggling with finding that new story?  I have known a number of writers who can't seem to find a new direction after finishing a big project.  If you're need of some inspiration try one of the following techniques to jumpstart your next writing project.

Dream Your Manuscript into Being: If you having trouble coming up with that
next story, stop thinking about it and start dreaming about it.  After finishing her first novel, debut author Crystal Chan worried that she might not have another story in her. One night while tossing in bed she woke up and saw in her mind's eye a boy with outspread arms standing on the edge of cliff. As she saw him jump, she heard in a girl's voice the words "Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother John".  She jumped out of bed, fired up her laptop and Bird was born.  By the time she stopped typing that night, she had written the first chapter.  If you don't think you can jump out of bed when inspiration rouses you from your sleep, keep a notebook on your nightstand.  This will keep those creative ideas from slipping back into your subconscious.

Create a Vision Board of the Story that’s Coming Next:  I often recommend story vision boards when you have a clear plotline.  You can also use this technique if you need to come up with the topic for your next project by creating an Idea Vision Board. You'll need a poster board, markers, glue and a few magazines. Start pulling out pictures and words that you are drawn to and glue them to the paper. If a picture evokes a feeling, write the word on the board. Do you want to travel across the country speaking about your next book, put pictures of faraway cities. Have fun with the process.  Fill the board with images, words and colors. When you’re done, post it where you can see it each day and see if you can find some inspiration in the board.

Find Your Story Through Creative List Making:  On your mark, get set, go! You have 90 seconds to create a list of possible characters.  Next make a list of... 
        • settings
        • personality quirks
        • problem situations
        • time periods
The list categories could be endless.  Once you've created your lists, mix and match items from each list. (e.g. A single woman in the Bayou, bites her lip when she’s nervous, just lost her job, 1950s)  Keep your lists; you can come back to them when you are ready for your next writing project.


I’d love to hear how you find inspiration when your searching for an idea for your next writing projects.


Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach. For more information check out:

http://facebook.com/DoNorth.biz  

14 comments:

  1. Mary Jo, I believe in carrying a notepad wherever I go. I jot phrases, ideas for themes, clothing, etc. But I love the board idea which I've never used.
    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Loving helping writers get read with my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the multi award-winning (newly formatted!) second edition of The Frugal Editor (e-book only at least for a while!) http://budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle

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  2. Great idea Carolyn. I think I could use the notes section in my cell phone to keep ideas.

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  3. Wonderful! I love the example of the dream! I wrote a short story once based on a dream, but that's the only time that kind of inspiration hit me.

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  4. Mary Jo, these are excellent tips for coming up with story ideas. I also keep a pad with me at all times. I tried leaving notes on my iPhone, but for some reason they disappear.

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    1. I just use the basic note app. The notes stay on the phone until I delete them.

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  5. Heidi, the trick to finding inspiration in our dreams is remember the dream. That's why a notebook by the side of the bed is helpful.

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  6. Hi, Mary Jo,
    I never seem to get ideas for my writing from dreams - I know other writers do, so I'm still waiting for that to happen. But when I need inspiration or ideas for writing, I simply do some mindless task, like vacuuming, and then my subconscious mind comes up with all sorts of great stuff. Plus...my carpets look really, really good!

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    1. That's great. Sometimes it just takes noticing when you are more open to inspiration. The advantage of doing a mindless activity is it takes away the pressure to "find the next story".

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  7. I woke up from a dream about a sea turtle emerging from a deep tub of water at a world music festival- I was yelling "Krishna das is coming!" in my dream. Sent an email to my TIME Magazine editor and sold a story about kirtan. All my inspired writing comes from flashes of intuition that I capture either in my notebook, through my recorder or in my iphone notes. I actually find that using a pen and writing it down is the most effective for more creative writing.

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    1. It's so interesting how each of us gets inspirations. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. I sometimes like a pen and paper when I'm trying something new.

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  8. Thanks, those are some interesting approaches to keep in mind, one of the things that I do for getting Inspiration, is by going to - or, creating Inspring Workspaces, for example by putting Writing Memorabilia (like Published work 'Clippings') in photo frames, to hang on the walls etc. etc.

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    1. HP, that's very interesting. I never thought of creating a 'work' motivation workspace. You can also put up images of what you want to happen, as a great projection tool. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. I think have a great work space is important. For some it's a home office, or a laptop in the garden or even a special cafe. Having a comfortable inspiring space is what is important. My work space is in need of a makeover.

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