Are you a writer? Are you waiting for inspiration to strike? If so, grab a chair and get comfortable. You have a long wait ahead of you.
I’ve been writing for years. I’ve published eight books in two series and had contributed to three anthologies. In all that time, inspiration has never whispered in my ear or bonked me on the head. It has never floated in on a cloud and sprinkle writing dust over me.
Believe it or not, many of my finest ideas develop when I write. It may not be the pinnacle of fun to sit and write when you’re not in the mood, but how does attitude determine if you work the day job? Before I retired, and even though I loved my chosen career, there were days when I didn’t feel motivated. That doesn’t mean I ignored work for the day. I got up, got dressed, drove into work, and did my job. Why? Because that’s the way the world works, and, let’s be honest, I liked my paycheck. The same applies to the job of writing.
As with any other activity, writing takes time and a lot of research. So, where do you go for inspiration? How do you attract your muse? An excellent place to find inspiration is by reading.
- Read within your chosen genre. Make notes on what worked for you and what didn’t as well as the why of it all.
- Read books outside your genre. I write fantasy, but almost every story has a little mystery of some sort in it, and many stories have historical notes.
- Read books to improve the readability of your tale. Yes, this means grammar and punctuation. To everyone who says the mechanics don’t matter, I say wrong. Grammar and punctuation allow the reader to read the story without having to reread sentences and paragraphs in an attempt to understand the intent of the author. Don’t forget the mechanics of writing dialogue. Know the rules so that, when you decide to break them, you know what you are doing. If errors make the story too hard to read, the book will move from the reader’s to-be-read pile to the trash bin.
- Read to improve your understanding of what makes a good story. Discover what makes up the parts of a story. Research character arc. Learn the difference between present and past tense, point of view, show vs. tell, and other essential story-telling tools.
- Read books to help with the details (science, physical location, etc.) of your story.
Don’t get me wrong. I have been inspired while hiking up a mountain trail, singing in the shower, and even cleaning the house. Sometimes daily activities spark a thought; however, I can honestly say, inspiration never came to call when I was watching TV, surfing the net, or playing on social media.
Don’t wait for inspiration to bonk you on the head. Sit down and write. I think you’ll like the results.