Many aspiring authors ask how to get inspired and my answer is simple: if you want to be successful, sit down and write whether you want to or not. However, I’ve always had strong self-discipline and I know some folks struggle with finding motivation.
I’ve written about writers’ block and received some surprised responses when I said I’ve never had it. Simply put, writers’ block is an excuse not to do the work. Inspiration doesn’t always flow and if we wait for it to show up, our books would never get finished.
For my writer friends who are seeking some help with kick starting inspiration so they can reach their goals, this post is for you. Additionally, I highly recommend checking out Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and my other craft book recommendations.
How to get inspired
Talk it out. If you’re not part of a writing community, I encourage you to find your tribe. I have talked out plot points and character arcs with other authors, and we act as sounding boards, beta readers and motivation for each other. Some days are harder than others and having supportive friends makes a huge difference because they push you to keep going. If you haven’t already, join me on Instagram and my private Facebook group.
Work on something else. In Write Naked, Jennifer Probst cautions against leaving your work in progress behind to start writing on something else. I understand her advice because it would be easy to end up with multiple manuscripts in varying stages of completion. If we jump ship every time we get a shiny new idea, we’ll never actually finish a book.
However, if you have a daily word count to meet and feel stuck, I encourage you to write something else. I wouldn’t advocate starting 20 different books, but rotating between a couple is reasonable to me. For example, I’m currently writing a trilogy concurrently.
Read. The best writers are readers themselves and it’s critical that you make time to learn about the market you’re trying to break into. If you don’t know what resonates with readers and what’s commercially viable, how can you ever hope to become successful yourself? This isn’t to say you should plagiarize. Please don’t do that. Your unique voice is your competitive advantage. However, knowing your genre is essential.
Take a break. Watch a movie, listen to music, participate in one of your other creative hobbies, go on a date, meditate, workout, spend time with your dog…the options are endless. When you take your mind off writing, sometimes you get your best ideas. Don’t forget your notebook.
What do you do when you feel stuck? Where do you find inspiration?
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