How to Find Inspiration For Writing
Authors: The LitBridge Team
If you are reading this, then you have probably stumbled upon a list of what can seen an endless list of places that give other writers or artists inspiration. Lists are great and wonderful for sparking ideas, but sometimes you need to go deeper. The things that inspire me would likely not be found on a list, and imagine they wouldn’t for you either. What can get my mind churning may involve watching the germination process of a seed, gazing out at the hills around me, exchanging conversation with a groups of people, or watching my dogs race around the apartment. The fact remains that each person’s source of inspiration is as unique as his or her personality. You can ask your grandmother, best friend or fiancee for their best suggestions but it’s up to you, to figure out what is best for you.
But to get to that inspiration, it might be helpful to think about those myths that make us feel guilty for not being inspired. Consider these:
Myth One: The more I look, the greater chance I’ll be inspired
Have you ever found yourself delaying your writing by spending a ridiculous amount of time looking for inspiration? Are you suddenly spending your weekends frequenting art museums, doing hours of browsing on your favorite search engine, pouring through your newsfeed on Facebook, and reading book after book for something to strike a chord? What made you think this would work? Try to remember the last few times you felt inspired. Most likely, your source of inspiration was not a process of overstimulation, but instead something that was brief and just had all the right attributes to create inspiration. Perhaps it was hearing a stranger’s story on the public bus, reading a book from your childhood, spending the day with your family, or driving home after work. Either way, inspiration does not always strike from overstimulating your mind. It requires a different kind of patience.
The more you try to find inspiration, the more likely you will find frustration and start getting angry at yourself for not spending that time on writing. Stop putting unreasonable expectations on your mind. Consider a diet as a metaphor. You cannot expect to lose 20 pounds in one day no matter how much physical stress you put on your body. It’s unreasonable to constantly overload your mind with stimulation. Strike a balance. Spend a small amount of time doing activities that might spark inspiration, but spend even more time writing. The practice of writing could lead to inspiration and will allow you to use your time more productively. You will start noticing that inspiration cannot be forced, but is something that will come with time and patience. You just need to let you mind be open to all sorts of things going on around you, and not just the things you think might lead to inspiration.
Myth Two: Finding What Inspires Others Will Help Me Find Inspiration
Okay asking other writers for advice is great. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy discussion about what inspired someone’s writing. However, when finding your own inspiration, you should be most concerned with listening to yourself. Inspiration comes from you, and therefore it’s important to be cognizant of your own needs and desires. Listen to your own thoughts and the voice inside your head. Be honest about what is actually important to you. Having models and people you admire is wonderful, but try to not let that distract you from your own thoughts. Becoming more aware of yourself, your own thoughts, behaviors and speech can open up avenues of inspiration. The more truth you give yourself, the easier it will be to allow inspiration into your writing.
Myth Three: The Harder You Push Yourself, the More Your Writing Will Improve
Some writers believe that the more effort they make, the more likely inspiration will strike and their writing will improve. Actually this practice can become harmful. Too much of the mental grind can actually result in messy writing and a lack of focus. Take a break. Find time for relaxation. Do something different that brings you peace. I cannot tell you exactly what this is since people have different ways of relaxation. Whether it be playing a game, gardening, reading a book or simply gazing out a window while drinking coffee, give yourself the mental break you need. Your writing will improve if you allow yourself a good balance of relaxation and peace.
Myth Four: Finding Inspiration Just to Be Inspired
So why do you want inspiration? You would be surprised that many writers do not actually know the answer to this question. Feeling inspired is a great, but without a goal in mind, that feeling can be wasted. What is your intention for inspiration? Do you want to start a novel? Are you trying to figure out how to end a poem? Do you need motivation to re-edit your manuscript? Seeking inspiration without an intention may be a fruitless task. You need to have some objective in mind, otherwise inspiration is wasted.
The main point of this article is to find what inspires you. The key word in that sentence is “you”. Work on developing your writing and finding inspiration to guide you. Inspiration should never be used as an excuse to write and there is no preconceived formula on how to find inspiration. Be willing to make time to write, give yourself adequate rest and work on becoming more aware of your thought process. Inspiration will likely follow shortly thereafter.