The most important thing to remember is that you are not controlled by inspiration. Sure, feelings of inspiration come and go, and we don’t have control over that. But those are just feelings. The secret sauce is that you control inspiration. It’s in your fingertips when you type without abandon. It’s in your heart and your passions and dreams. It’s in that awkward high school memory. Open your eyes and watch the world around you. What do you have to say about it all?
But sometimes it’s a little harder than that to get myself going, so I have a whole arsenal of ways I reach out and grab inspiration.
1. Remember what made you fall in love with your idea in the first place. Take that idea out for dinner. Whisper sweet nothings to it. Light some candles. And then maybe stop there so it doesn't get weird...
Every writer has highs and lows. The lows make us want to give up some days. You’re not a perfect writer? So what! Raise of hands, who is? JK Rowling, we see you. You can put your hand down now. When you feel like you suck, open your Brag Book and BAM. Proof you don’t.
4. Set measurable and attainable goals, both big and small. When I meet small goals, it fuels me and takes me one step closer to meeting the bigger goals.
An example of a goal that won’t fuel you: “I want to get super rich from my multi-book deal!”
Why is that no good? Because there’s no check box next to “super rich”. Who says what “super rich is”? JK Rowling, put your hand down.
A better example: “I will work on this book until I land an agent or until I reach 300 rejections.”
That’s better because you either will land an agent or you will get that three hundredth rejection letter, and you’ll know you accomplished what you set out to do.
5. Share your work. You can do this all sorts of ways! Beta readers, critique partners, public readings, querying, etc. Feedback and rejections ignite my passion for my work like nothing else. When I know what I need to work on, I have something to work on. Sounds simple. But if you never share, you might reach that point where you think your work is perfect, and you become stagnant. No matter where you are, please don’t become stagnant.
PS. Sharing is scary. Waiting is nerve-wracking. And feedback won't always be sunshine and roses.
6. People-watch. Go outside and sit on a bench. Or set up in a coffee shop and pretend you’re not eavesdropping. Listen to what people talk about. Watch the way they interact. What do they wear? Why do you think that is? Imagine their background. Play with thoughts of their future. People are interesting.
7. Read. Appreciate other authors’ hard work and send an email or tweet telling them so! Who knows? Someday someone could do that for you and make your day.
9. Dream big. Dream bigger than is realistic. What would you do if you became a published author? Could you finally quit that day job you hate? Could you buy your dream home or travel the world? Could you touch just one heart, and know all your hard work was worth it?
10. Take a break to live. Take a break to dance and eat good food and talk to your family. Take a break to write something new. Take a break to write something bad. Take a long break from your work so you can go back to it with fresh eyes. If you never do this, you'll write yourself dry.
I don’t think any of these are new ideas. This also isn't a complete list. These are just the things that help inspire me, and I hope will inspire you, too. Go out and grab that inspiration and suck it dry for all it’s worth. But first! Tell us what inspires you.
Tons of high fives,