Friday, April 21, 2017

#WritersLife: Finding Inspiration to Write

#WritersLife from Amber the Blonde Writer

#WritersLife, where I talk writing in real life.

Something I've been struggling with for many moons now is finding inspiration to write. I am not, by any means, jumping right into a daily writing routine because I know myself well enough to know that will burn me out in a week's time. However, I'm also learning new things about myself as I age, and one of the new things is that I need new inspiration in all areas of my life.

Writing is no exception.

The methods I used before to inspire me no longer carry the same potency. Before, I relied on friends and peers to motivate me, on social media writers to "compete" with (friendly rivalries, always), and strict work schedules to highlight my determination to make it.

When I vanished from social media last summer, I lost the first two inspiration methods, and it will take time to rebuild them. I am also working more hours now than I was a year ago, so I need to manage my time to fit writing and brainstorming back into my weekly routine. Some serious reconstruction would need to happen for me to revert back to my original lifestyle.

On the other hand, I'm trying to be more positive. Rather than lament on the fact that the writing encouragement I've had for 15 years no longer works, I want to think of new methods I can fall back on. After speaking with a couple friends and testing out new ideas, I've compiled a list of the things that are currently motivating me to write again.


This one isn't a new idea, but it's definitely one I'm actively following now. Some of my go-to authors are Marissa Meyer, A.G. Howard, Sara Raasch, and Leigh Bardugo. While I love reading new books and authors, the majority of them end up being entertainment rather than lessons.
With the above writers (among others), I am encouraged to write because I am in love with their storytelling skills, the way they develop characters, the detail in their setting, and the unpredictable turn in plot. I aspire to be more like them, to write stories that carry messages and new perspectives and understandable people. 

I haven't read a book by any of these authors this year, but I have a feeling if I jump back into one, I'll be pushed to write something that they would be excited to read.

Writing Prompts

I think Pinterest is absolutely wonderful and severely underutilized in my writing career. 

I have a board on Pinterest called Writing Inspiration, but I wasn't drawing anything from the character building exercises or pretty quote pictures. However, something I've seen more and more of are brief writing prompts (10-40 words or so), and these are gold.

Whether a writer changes up the words to match their vision or only use the prompts as a free writing tool before they begin work on their masterpiece, prompts are a great resource to get thoughts on paper. I use them as I imagine my characters saying or living them. If I can't imagine it, then my characters wouldn't think it, and so the prompt doesn't fit the direction I plan on going.

There are some hilarious prompts out there, and I think these are the best ones to use for free writing because letting the silliness out early on saves room for the tension that stories thrive on.

Unconventional Storytelling

A brilliant man brought the idea of unconventional storytelling to me this week, and it's one that I never thought as a free writing exercise until I realized I needed new inspirations for my work. 

He said to think of it like profiling: pick a person, and based on their expressions, their walk, their clothes, and a few other things (I have a terrible memory but so far he doesn't seem to mind repeating himself), decide what kind of life they're living in this present moment. It's like people watching, but with a purpose: to inspire character development.

I think this method is also great to try with friends. Two perspectives offer more fluidity in possible story lines, especially when you and your friend view the world or live your lives differently. Not only that, but I like to link my characters with certain mannerisms and quirks, and watching people provides a fresh look at ones I may not have come across yet. 

Creating New Goals

Continuing the trend of the aforementioned brilliant man (I fear he may become a force to contend with on the blog; Marvelous Eric, take caution!), he suggested creating new goals within my writing if I'm still blocked.

This writer's block has been with me since last summer. I tried starting a new daily word count goal and that feel before the first days ever ended. I tried scheduling time, and I found excuses to avoid it. I even disappeared from the blog because I felt like nothing I was doing was contributing.

#WritersLife - Finding Inspiration to Write - Confirmation certificateWriting aside, I need new goals for all things in my life. I made the decision to join the Catholic Church last year (Confirmation was April 15, 2017! Catholic peeps, holla!--er, alleluia!). This was the first milestone decision I made since before I left my last job. It made me feel so good last week to accomplish the goal I gave myself, and I want to keep feeling that way in all areas of my life.

What is it I want to do with my writing? In my jobs? Within my relationships? I need to break these up into milestones so I am always actively working toward something achievable rather than falling into the pit of "just surviving."

What motivates you to write? To actively pursue your dreams? We can't brainstorm our dreams forever; at some point, the outlining must begin.


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