when inspiration doesn't strike // a guest post by katie grace

7:00 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.)

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(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?


"I can't write today. I'm not inspired," is an excuse I found myself using a lot as a beginning writer. It certainly sounds like a solid excuse -- why force the words if they have no strong emotional purpose?

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
Sometimes finding inspiration means transporting yourself into your own writing world. That may sound weird, but let me explain. (unfortunately this doesn't have anything to do with magic portals. that'd be sweet though, wouldn't it?)

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



MEEEE squareish.jpgKatie Grace is a teen writer, determined to spread hope in this messy world with her stories and words. You can find her on her blog, Twitter, or in her room furiously typing 20,000 words in one day. She commonly stays up long past midnight for creativity's sake. Katie doesn't know how to write bios, so she will end this bio awkwardly.




43 comments

  1. This was amazing Katie. *wipes a tear* I has to try da nusic ding now, i usually listen to mt playlist all the time.

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    1. ALLL THE MUSIC. And you're on Spotify, right? That's great for creating playlists for your book. (and stalking others. :P)

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  2. Music is such a great way to get inspired and let the story sweep you up. BUT ALSO GETTING DISTRACTED BY SAID MUSIC IS PROBLEMATIC. Though I think that's my fault for thinking I could just NOT sing along to Hamilton when I'm trying to be a productive human. Pshh, not jamming out to Hamilton would just be silly...

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    1. WELL. YEAH. I didn't mention that one of my attempts at writing this post was done while listening to the entire soundtrack of Hamilton. Not even joking. It was lovely, but then I started rapping furiously and getting all into it which didn't help get the blog post done. :P That's why sometimes I have to resort to instrumentals, even though its not as fun.

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    2. Dude I get so distracted when I listen to great music it's a problem. I need the inspiration, but at the same time LYRICS LET ME LISTEN TO THEM ALWAYS.

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  3. Nice post, Katie. ;) I think pushing through the lack of inspiration is extremely important (although I'm not very good at it...). So thanks for the reminder and the tips, I'll have to try the scent thingy. Maybe it'll help. :D and the music always helps me....🎢

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    1. Isn't it hard? Because it's hard to WANT to write and push through when there's no inspiration. But you got this! <3

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    2. Aw, thanks Katie! This post made me think, so good job!! πŸ˜‹

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  4. *hugs you because this post is beautiful and so are you*

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    1. *hannahhhhh i love you so much oh my goodness* *ugs* xD

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  5. Yes this is totally true and I love it!! I'm actually a bit of a weird writer because I work on schedules and never wait for inspiration to strike. I mean, I do while I'm plotting!! But when it comes down to writing, I just make myself write, even if it's rubbish. And hey if the first chapter I write for the day IS rubbish, then that's just me getting into the groove. Chapter two will be better. I hope. I beg. *slaps manuscript* be kind to me little book. πŸ˜‚

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    1. I'm a big fan of forcing yourself to do the thing EVEN WHEN IT'S TOTAL CRAP because that is often when you hit your stride and get the best things. Sometimes you just gotta force your way through.

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    2. Yesss, same. Sometimes you just gotta force yourself to get the words down so you can edit them. It's tough but worth it. xD

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  6. YES this is so important. I'm still working on it. Music, a quiet(ish) environment, and shutting social media off for a set time usually help a lot, even if the only time I can find is at 2 AM. I have to force myself to write regularly instead of like...writing a ton in a day then waiting for a week, but I'm getting better at it. Loved your post!

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    1. Sighhh the shutting off social media is so hard. I love my Twitter, and it's very easy to say that Pinterest is inspiration. xD

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    2. I will be right there with you at writing at 2am. (it's such a peaceful time. o.o)

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  7. I love the music idea! I heard about it at Realm Makers but have yet to try it. Now I need to. I've had some writer's block lately, though maybe it's just because I'm in between projects. I'll have to try some of these strategies.

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    1. *stabs the writers block for you*

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    2. I love music so much.
      And yeah -- when Mr. Locke mentioned that at Realm Makers, I was like, "he stole my idea!" since I've been using it all along. :P

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  8. Yes, INSPIRATION IS SO BEAUTIFUL! Sometimes I wish I was inspired all the time XD

    These are great tips. I've found that music is a huge part of my writing, and so is EMOTION. I'll read back a few pages of my WIP, just to get into the feel of the novel. Then I spew emotion onto the page, and it usually works (sounds weird...but true XD).

    Wonderful post! :D

    audrey caylin

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? Katie has the best words <3

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    2. spew emotion onto the page. we writers are so eloquent, aren't we? xD

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  9. Great post Katie! :D I love your point on how inspiration is everywhere - we just have to look for it. I've never considered making sure every sense and aspect of my environment is geared to help my writing. I usually sit in the middle of chaos and write with only my mind prepared, which probably has the opposite effect lol. I'd like to try your tips. :D

    Is the part "certain smell remind you of your childhood" a tΓΈp reference? Because IT'S A GOOD EXAMPLE. :D (It'd even help better to identify where it's coming from.)

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    1. DUDE IT COULD TOTALLY BE A REFERENCE. *squints at the katie fren*

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    2. DUDE. THAT WASN'T THE INTENT BUT LET'S JUST SAY THAT IT WAS FOR COOLNESS POINTS. xD

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  10. You two both exchanged epic posts. o.o I love the idea with the smells and/or something else familiar. I should try that, since I'm very much in an inspirational rut. :P

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    1. Mwhahaha we are an excellent duo.

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    2. You can do this, Emily! And yes, smells are lovely. I'm always scared to light a candle though, which doesn't help me very much. (what if I accidentally knock it over and burn down all my books? o.o)

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  11. CHEERS FOR FUZZY BLANKET BURRITOS

    and heh. I understand this waaayy too much xP

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    1. *throws blankets on all of us* *it's a blanket fort now*

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    2. AW YIS BLANKET FORT WITH MY WRITING BUDDIES.

      (sarah since you're in the blanket fort this means you have to tell me about this novel you're plotting. blanket fort rules and secrets. xD)

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  12. *glomps* Fabulous tips, Katie. =D I've found that writing by hand often inspires me more than typing -- although I do it only in rare occasions 'cause I don't like typing it up afterwards. xD A candle is a good idea, though.

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    1. I should really, really write by hand more. I'm just...so...lazy...

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    2. YES I totally agree with you. I'm not sure why it helps me, though?? But there's just something about it that makes the words run very smoothly. One writer I know writes alll her novels by hand (wut even), but then she's able to edit it as she types it up. Which is pretty cool. But still -- writing a giant novel is just too much. xD

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  13. Candles, lotions, playlists--I love those ideas! I always put on a certain scent of Bath and Body Works fragrance mist before a softball tournament, but I've never thought to apply it to writing. Thanks Katie!

    Hailey
    haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. Katie has the best suggestions <3

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    2. Ooh, you totally should! That would be super cool to have your own little collection of scents. xD

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  14. Hey Aimee, no obligation or anything, but I tagged you! :)

    http://theoddlifeofegy.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-inspire-me-tag-in-which-i-inspire.html

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  15. This is so perfect, Katie Grace! Forcing yourself to write really is one of the most important things, even when it's not the most fun, haha. A lot of times if I have really awful writer's block, I'll start writing it on paper, and that helps a lot. I don't know why, but sometimes the creativity block goes away when I stop staring at a screen.

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  16. This is so good! I'm writing nonfiction, but I feel like most of this would work really well for me, too. Especially the music one. The temptation to just go scroll through Twitter is *so* real, and I guess a lot of times it's more just self-motivation (or the lack thereof) than anything else. Thank you for the tips!

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.