As a writer I know there are times when we come to a screeching dead halt in our writing, where we can’t find any inspiration. At those moments when we are running low on inspiration and feel empty we look out into the world around us for inspiration and find a world falling apart. At dry times we see soldiers fighting in wars across the seas, homeless people on the streets, and starving children in Africa and ask ourselves how we can get inspired.
I have found myself in this position many times and have wondered, how can I make a difference with my writing anyways? How do I get myself out of this situation? I know that when these questions start to circle around in my mind I have a bad habit of setting my pen down or getting up to leave my computer. Which isn’t what I should do. Instead I should pull inspiration out of the un-colorful world. At this moment I can imagine that many questions are forming in your minds, like: “Devin, how do I stay inspired in a less than colorful world? How can I get inspiration when everything around me is so uninspiring?” or something like, “How can I make color when I have none?”
These are some tough questions, but I do have answers for them. When I find myself in a funk and can’t get inspired I look deeper into the issue and that gives me inspiration and story ideas. With the soldiers who are fighting in wars across the sea, I find myself thinking about a few things. Who are they? What are their stories? Were they married? What are their struggles and emotions? Or with the homeless people on the streets, how did they become homeless? What are their stories and who are they? Why do they continue to stay on the streets? What do they go through in a day?
As soon as I ask myself these questions my mind starts reeling with ideas, thoughts, characters, and plots. I want to make a difference in my reader’s lives and I know you do too. We need to remember that our less than colorful world needs our color, since we add color to the world with our words. Here are some other ideas to help draw inspiration when you don’t feel inspired.
1. Go for a walk in the wilderness
-Nature has a way of bringing out the light, when you see all the issues that our world has, you get brought back to how our world should be.
“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.” -Henry David Thoreau -My mom always told me that fresh air clears the mind and she was definitely right when she said that, besides you can get heaps of color, just by stepping out into the woods. Listen to the sounds. What do you hear? What do you see? Look at all of the details.
2. Delve deeply into something else that will open your mind creatively
-Do you enjoy drawing, painting?
-Play an instrument
-Get up and move- exercise!
3. Get away from your normal setting
-A few weeks ago I went on a weekend trip with a friend and I got filled up with ideas to write. I went to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am from a rural Minnesotan town so going into the metropolis changed my atmosphere. I saw different people and settings. By getting away from your normal setting you will find new ideas for stories, settings, and characters.
4. Get enough sleep
-You have all probably heard this before, but they say if you sleep enough hours in a day, that you will have a better chance of remembering your dreams. Dreams can inspire!
5. Get out and volunteer
-Seeing good in tough situations can work wonders, it may even give you a new story idea, a new character or setting! Use the emotions you see in people as well. Such as the pain in the homeless man’s eyes. Or the tears that come to his eyes when you ask how he is doing.
-Use the emotion you experience (When you feel depressed, write about how you feel and how it affects you. You never know when that will help you with a character you are writing later.
-Go someplace and seek silence. Light some candles and meditate. Listen to relaxing music.
8. Take an online journey of inspiring blogs and websites.
–Check out inspiring pictures or my newest addiction = pinterest. You can find interesting ideas for characters and settings.
9. Read a good book (check out Goodreads.com)
10. Change your outlook…
-When things are dark, dreary, or uninspiring change your point of view, change your outlook…
11. Ask yourself the hard questions
-Best Selling Author Steven James once said, “You don’t have a story until you have conflict.” Since we live in a world where conflicting things happen, we must pull inspiration out of the darkness around us by asking ourselves the hard questions.
12. If you still don’t feel inspired…
-And you have searched for it. Don’t quit writing, continue to show up and write every day! When I am low on inspiration I make a goal of writing 2,000 words a day. At least I am showing up and when I read back over it, sometimes I am surprised with what I’ve written!
P.S. The picture at the top inspired me while writing a scene in the last chapter that I just wrote for my book “The Created Ones”, so I thought I would share this awesome picture with you guys! :)