Every writer at some point or another has struggled finding inspiration for ideas. Whether it be for a character or a novel plot or what events should take place, we’ve all encountered the struggle. There’s nothing more annoying than have the urge to write but don’t know what to because you don’t have the inspiration you need to do so. Thus, I’ve decided to collate a list of potential places you can go to find something to trigger your imagination and get you back on the right track.
This one’s a pretty common suggestion amongst other writers and it’s easy to understand why. The more you read, the more information you can gather. This can include anything from reading novels to magazines to newspapers to even just signs. Usually it’s the most minute details that spark that one idea you needed to get things going.
Personally, movies have been pivotal in a number of my novel ideas. Usually I pick on the plot line and then end up going off on a tangent, coming up with my own idea. I also find it helpful picturing my characters too and seeing a specific actor or actress in that role. This can be said with a number of TV shows as well.
Get out and about:
Getting out and about, talking to people, doing things, people watching- all of these can help generate a general idea that can later be refined. I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve seen something or someone and it would eventually develop into an idea. An example that comes to mind was when I was in Chadstone and there were these two nuns. One of them wanted to walk into Bardot, saying she liked the clothes and wanted to see what was there whilst the other was saying “Come on, let’s go” and then sighed, dragging her along by her arm. That then eventuated into a novel idea that’s quite different from the usual dreary sort of thing I write.
Like movies, TV shows are a great source of inspiration. What I find especially good about TV shows is that unlike movies, you have more of a chance to see a character develop over an extended period of time. Shows like The Shield and Once Upon a Time are great for character development and I find this especially helpful when it comes to characters and their traits in novels. As much as I hate to say it, reality TV can also be great for determining character traits and their pasts. However, I would be quite cautious as quite a few reality shows aren’t really reality. But, if you find one that’s more realistic than not, it could be a surprise source of inspiration. (Married at First Sight- I’m looking at you).
Listening to music have produced ideas for me from two ways. First, through consciously listening to the lyrics and feeling the words themselves. Secondly, just from listening and picturing situations where that song could be used.
The number of times I’ve been laying in bed, trying to fall asleep and then BAM! I suddenly have a new novel idea. That’s how the current novel draft that I’m (slowly) powering through came about. A number of other ideas have come about like that too. When you’re relaxed and aren’t distracted, it feels like all these ideas suddenly just come to you. You’re laying there, thinking about one thing and then your mind goes to all these other things and then you’ve suddenly got a novel idea.
Travelling and exploring new places can give you so much inspiration. It’s most definitely not the cheapest idea, but if by chance you are going to another town, city or country, be sure to keep your mind open. See how people interact there, observe the sights and most of all, notice the tiny details that are what is going to make your novel stand out and be more authentic.
Your own experiences:
Again, back to the novel draft I’m currently working through, I utilised some of my past experiences (some intentional and others unintentional from what I have recently realised) and managed to implement it into my writing. The plot itself doesn’t necessarily have to fully rely on your own experiences, but little events that take place, people you’ve met, things you have seen or done can do wonders for your writing.
So I hope your writing rut doesn’t last for long and that perhaps this little list has given you a bit of help getting yourself out of the struggle. Lacking inspiration is something no writer ever likes to go through, but it’s important to remember that A. You’re most definitely not alone and B. To keep your eye on the prize and remember why you started in the first place.