5 Ways to Jumpstart Inspiration

Posted: February 1, 2014 by writingsprint in Writing
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Christine is a passionate, insightful poet whose work I love to read. I lwill definitely try some of these ideas. Exercise is working for me already — I get ideas during yoga all the time. The first one I may try is writing something even if it sucks. I usually stop and change direction instead. There’s a story about a great composer, who was asked by an another composer how his symphonies could be so great, while his weren’t? The great composer said that the average composer considered only great ideas, while the great composer considered both good and bad ones.

I think my favorite is to give one thing close attention. I’m usually so focused on getting the scene down that I’m chattering away about what happened instead of describing it. Great writers seem to describe their scenes in ways that the rest of us never would have imagined before.

I would also add “play.” We’re usually so hard at work with our writing that we forget that we started out just having fun with it. I’m not just saying to enjoy it. Sometimes it’s work, and it’s intense, and that’s hard to change. I’m saying to take the time to just play. Write scenes that you’ll never use. Write scenes that you’d be embarrassed to show people. (I’ve been writing erotica in my journals myself.) Turn scenes on their heads. Write short scenes. Write long scenes. Flip the characters. Show your main character hitting his thumb with a hammer and cursing a ridiculous blue streak. Use the page as your own personal big blank wall, you have a can of spray paint and it’s time to make the world’s wildest graffiti mural.

Play is a glorious way to get to know your characters and to experiment with creativity in ways that you normally just wouldn’t do, because it “matters.” Play is how we begin to learn as children. I think it unlocks the subconscious. You do silly things when you’re playing, but on some level it makes sense to you. Two or three steps later, you have an idea.

Where do you think this post just came from?

Christine Klocek-Lim

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A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas from for writing. For many years when I was younger, I had trouble with inspiration. Ideas were like birds I could see only in the distance, in a sky I could never reach. Bits of them floated to the ground once in a while—useless, discarded feathers. It wasn’t until I spent more time writing, every day, that the ideas started flocking into my head. I developed some habits that called them to me, like scattering mental birdseed around to draw them in. Here are some of them:

1. Exercise/meditation/hiking: spend some time alone in your head. If you’re like me, sitting around doing nothing may drive you crazy, so I have found that if I do something physical while I’m wandering the pathways of my mind, ideas float into my consciousness with almost no effort.

2. Listen to music:…

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Comments
  1. A.D. Everard says:

    Nice one – excellent advice. Sometimes just the act of writing triggers writing.

    Like

  2. It can. When “play” popped into my head I had to put it in there. I get to the point that I’m driving so hard on one idea that I lock up. All other alternatives are gone. I forget that there’s an entire world of alternatives, not to mention things other characters could do.

    My favorite example: the novel I was working on came about after spending two years trying to start the typical fantasy novel: wizards, warriors, swords, armor, kingdoms, etc.. I finally realized that if I invented wizards, they wouldn’t have pointy hats, and I didn’t give a damn about knights and kingdoms. On a breezy summer day in an apartment in a building that my mother thought should be condemned, I wrote a scene just for fun. A sweaty young mage, not wearing a shirt, was levitating a log while talking to his sister. It gave him a headache. He told her about a dragon that he saw, muddy brown, about the size of a bear. She was in awe.

    That’s what play can do for you!

    Like

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