So, here’s a couple of ways that help me find my inspiration and beat that dreaded thing called writers block. Hopefully it’ll help you too.
I think exploring is the best. You can find all sorts outside whilst your exploring. You can even go and explore a certain setting.
Maybe a cathedral, church, mosque or other religious building
Maybe a pebbled beach at sunset
A forest path;
An old street in a Spanish Town
Or the zoo…
It could be one you’ve taken or maybe one you’ve found on the internet. If you’re looking for a certain type of inspiration; maybe you’re writing a crime novel; just type your scenario in to google images and see what you get. You could even make a collage of images if that helps you.
Books are usually a writers first inspiration. They can take you away to place you’ve never been before and allow you to escape. Their one of the reasons why so many writers write, because they want to create their own worlds that they can escape in to.
Whether or not the genre is the same as the one your working on, idea’s can be taken from the characters, the scenes and the scenarios to help you create you own. Nowadays, there aren’t many ideas that haven’t been written about, but you just have to remember that it’s never been written by you, and every story written is different from the next.
This is similar to books. The big screen can bring characters to life, give you a different depth of understanding in to how people work, how they walk, how they hold themselves, and how scenarios that you don’t usually see in every day life pan out.
As much as we want to believe that werewolves and ghosts do exist, if their anything like their on-screen counterparts, we’re very unlikely to see them out and about. So, both movies and TV shows can give you that, and the films and shows nowadays can be so immersive and make you feel so much that you can’t help, but want to create your own scenes in your head, which can then become a FanFiction, or something different all together.
For example, despite what you think of E.L James Fifty Shades, Twilight and vampires was it’s inspiration and now almost everyone knows about Christian Grey and Anastatia Steel.
Video games let you escape in to different worlds in a different sort of way to books and movies. It can allow you to be creative, to make your own decisions and face the consequences. It gives you a first person experience and whether it’s an open world type of game or story driven, the feelings and the emotions that it can give you can be taken from it and developed in to something else.
For me, Skyrim is the biggest influence in my current piece. It’s the game that gave me the idea in the first place, and now it’s developed, only elements of it still remain, but every time I play it, it almost gives me the motivation to write more and finish. Games like the Elder Scrolls and Fable have always been favourites of mine, and there are so many games out there that there’s something for everyone. From Lego adventures to Halo Wars.
It is said that you can dream four to six times per night, but most of us forget 95 to 99% of our dreams. And even if we do remember it, it’s normally just snippets or feelings. Dreams can be a look in to how your feeling, give you inspiration to work on a project and even help you solve problems you might be facing in your every-day life.
In your dreams, you can have your very own adventures, some of which can end with you saving the world or falling over a cliff (which gives a much realer feeling than you think). Some can be so weird that you don’t want to remember them, but others can leave a mark on you.
They say that the way to remember your dreams is to actually tell yourself as your falling asleep that you want to remember them, and then the second you you wake up, write down what you can remember on some paper or a notebook that you keep close to your bed. Even if you can just remember snippets or images, write it down and it’ll help train your brain to remember more.
You can find out more about this at Sleep.org
People are everywhere! Their all around us and every one has their own story. Family, friends and work colleagues can all inspire you.
It can be really creepy watching people and listening to what they say, but you can gain so much from it that a little bit of eaves-dropping in a cafe or on a bus may influence your next story. And, just having a wider perception of people and just being more observant can help you learn more about a person, how they hold themselves, how they walk, how they talk. Everyone does it differently and taking aspects of people can help you make up your own.
It doesn’t need to be anywhere exotic. It can be a road trip, or maybe just a week away to Butlins. It could even be a family holiday. Not many of us get the opportunity to travel where we want, but if you ever do, or if you ever want to do it, justgo. Your not going to regret it. You’ll regret it more if you don’t.
Travelling lets you learn about the world, about the different cultures and the different histories that a country can have. It can also give you settings and people that you don’t usually walk in to.
I recently went to Ibiza and the view and the culture inspired me to think about all the settings and scenes where my stories take place, and all the little wonders that can be hidden inside a cave or down an alley way.
History can teach us a lot, whether it be about the people that died in the cold war or who created the telephone. It can give us idea’s on how to create cultures, religions and build our worlds; it gives us hundreds and thousands of people that lived very different lives to what we live now, and there are thousands of untold stories that lie in the back of a history book or on a shelf somewhere in the library.
Whether your book is a fantasy, a romance or even a comedy, using an era in history gives you an already made world you can use to write your story. Access to the internet means that almost every historical event is at your finger tips, every historical figure has something written about them somewhere.
Like I said above, history gives us an insight in to how cultures and religions worked before, but there are so many now and the world is becoming more and more diverse every day that you don’t need to look back. There’s so many books and internet articles on the different types of cultures and religions in the world that there’s bound to be one that jumps out of you, and you can adapt it the way you want,
When writing, having a culture that people listen too, or something that they all believe in and follow can make it that bit more believable. Even if it’s something you’ve made up, maybe all the women over the age of thirty five have tattoos on their arms for some reason or another. It’s completely up to you, but having consistency in a story can make it seem more real, and more immersive.
Music, although, it won’t always help you to create a world, it can give ideas for characters, for plots or even scenes. It can even be a playlist that motivates you and inspires you to write.
Artists write about how their feeling, about what they’ve been through and it gives you an insight on how someone might feel in a certain scenario and there’s definitely a song out there to describe the way you want your character to feel, or about the choice they have to make.
For me, The Kill and Attack by Thirty Seconds to Mars helped me develop a character and a back-story for a project that at the moment, is on hold, and various songs by Panic! at the Disco and Imagine Dragons, just to name a couple, helped me develop my current piece.
Art can be used in a similar way to photos and images. You can search on the internet, go to a museum, a gallery, or to the local alley where all the kids leave their marks in graffiti. Almost everything around you is part of an art, whether it be a book case, a bed, a house, a park. Everything has an architect, someone that designed and created it.
You can even create your own. By drawing or painting (whether your good at it or not) a certain setting, a place, a character or an object from the world you’ve created, you can make it feel more real, more believable.
I’ve seen a lot of people say that you shouldn’t create your own book cover. Leave it to the advertisers, the marketers, but if creating a book cover inspires and motivates you, do it. Do anything (within reason) that helps to inspire you, to motivate you to write.
People are their own architects, taking bits from every thing and every one they meet. Inspiration can be found absolutely anywhere, you just have to open your eyes and look for it. Take the longest route home, give yourself a couple of moments in the day just to look around, inspiration will hit you.