when inspiration doesn't strike // a guest post by katie grace7:00 AM
(The goal this year is to bring in a guest voice every month on the blog -- different perspectives and ideas that aren't, y'know, mine, to give you all some variety and bring in some new ideas. There's really no better way to start the year off than with a post by one of my bestest of internet frens (and the first I met in real life!!!), KATIEEEEE. You probably know Katie, who blogs here, because she's spectacular and adorable and you should be following everything she does. The floor is hers now. Love her.
but not too much because she's my fren, not yours.)
(shoutout to my lovely Aimee Fren for letting me take over her blog for a day and for being the best writer human. her posts are always fabulous so the bar is high, but here goes nothing. xD)
It's easy to write when inspired. It's easy to write when the words flow naturally, spewing beautiful creativity as you sketch the images in your mind to the scenes on the paper. Everything clicks -- like the soothing c l a c k of a typewriter.
But some days are quite the opposite. The inspiration won't strike. Instead it hides. What then?
Because I believe that it's a stupid excuse. We live in a world of unlimited inspiration -- just look around. The possibilities of imagination and stories are always there, swirling in our brains, but sometimes they're lodged between other thoughts and topics. Sometimes the inspiration lurks about the shadows of our minds, and seems nearly impossible to drag to the active side of the writing process. But it's still there. It's always there.
The question is: how do we find the inspiration?
The key word there is find. I think it's all too easy for writers to sit back in their chair, scrolling through Pinterest and Twitter, waiting for the inspiration to come and find them. But that isn't always the case. Pursuing creative excellence means stepping out to search for it, even when it involves some work. (and it will involve work)
Sometimes finding inspiration means forcing yourself to write, even when you're not "in the mood." I believe that setting a habit of writing daily -- it doesn't have to be thousands of words -- is a step in the right path. By opening the document and writing a couple sentences, that might be what sparks a thought, which can then explode into fireworks of creativity.
(or it can also lamely turn into nothing. there are days like that, and that's okay. although I think its extremely important to be writing regularly -- as it can prepare you for official author deadlines -- its just as important to know when to take a break so you don't overwork yourself. it's also important to know when you're taking a break just because of laziness compared to needing one. anyways. back to the post and off the rabbit trail)
|rare footage of the adorable Katie Human|
I mentioned above on how hard it is to write when you're not "in the mood." One thing I've learned through writing is how to dive into my writing mindset, which takes me away from the real world and focused on my story instead.
I've found it incredibly helpful to have a few habits/rituals dedicated solely to the writing process. Our senses are powerful resources that can connect memories and emotions in fascinating ways. You know how you can smell a certain smell, and immediately it reminds you of something from your childhood? Use that to your advantage.
Have a cute writing candle only for writing. Or a writing lotion with an amazing scent that will give you epic word powers. Heck -- eat an orange before each writing session. (or not. but you do you. xD)
I love using music as a writing ambiance. I create a playlist for my book, and only listen to those songs when I'm writing. The more I listen to them, the more I associate those songs to my story. They then transport me to my novel's world as soon as I click play, and become an anthem for my book and my writing time.
Sometimes finding inspiration means doing something different. I had a hard time finding inspiration for this blog post -- to the point where I feared that it wouldn't come together at all. I started it roughly seven billion times (heh), but each beginning didn't work. So I switched things up: wrote on paper instead of the computer, went to a different chair than I'm normally in, walked around, wrapped myself in a fuzzy blanket burrito. Get the wheels in your mind churning with other writing processes. Try new things. Write outside. Write with other people. Write in space. (boldly go where no writer has gone before...?)
But one of the most important things to remember, is that searching for inspiration means determination. It means perseverance and pushing forward even when it’s easier to scroll through Twitter. It means crying and letting out all that's bottled up inside your head to allow room for the imagination. (well... this might just be me. :P) Even if it’s tough, it means getting the words on the paper. Write allll the words.
It's hard when the inspiration doesn't strike, and it's going to happen. There are tips and tricks that can help, but ultimately, go searching for inspiration instead of sitting back and waiting for it to strike. It may take time. It's not going to be easy. But pursue stories and art and creativity -- this is so important. I'll be right there with you. <3
<3, katie grace