Finding Inspiration For Your Writing

Ideas Can Come From Anywhere

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“A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.”Vladimir Nabokov

You can find inspiration for your writing in many different places. I was at a Rob Thomas (lead singer of Matchbox Twenty) concert last week and I pretty much know all the words to his songs. I’ve been listening to his albums forever.

The longer the concert went on, the more I realized what an amazing writer he is. His lyrics make you feel something. He’s not just a talented musician. He’s a songwriter. Emphasis on the word writer.

That’s how I approach my novel when I’m writing. I want people to react to what I write, to feel the emotion of the characters. That’s the epitome of a great writer.

Where Can You Find Ideas For Writing?

Airports. Think about it. Where else can you find such a wide variety of “characters” from all walks of life? It’s such an incredible place to people watch and come up with ideas for character traits to place in your novel.

Coffee Shops. They’re great because it’s where people go to get work done. In any Starbucks, you’ll see people working on their laptops. Regardless of what they’re doing, this should be a good motivator for you to be more efficient while you’re there and to continue writing. Let’s not forget the non-stop coffee will keep you wide awake until your next cup.

At Home. Your house is typically a beacon of comfort. A place where you can relax and unwind. You can settle in to your couch and just write. I write at home more than anywhere else. That is not my house pictured below. I wish.

Image from Pixabay

The Gym. The reason this is a solid place for inspiration is simple. When you work out, your exercising not just to improve your body, but your mind as well. When you’re active, it increases your alertness, which should help you think more clearly.

The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level.

According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions.

Your Friends and Family. Those closest to you can give you ideas without even being aware of it. Sometimes I hear stories from friends or family and think, “That sounds like it came from a movie.” Well if it can happen in a movie, it can happen in a book as well. You just have to keep your ears open for ideas.

Dreams. Dreams can be so vivid and I have some really crazy dreams. The inspiration for a thriller I’m writing actually came from a dream my wife had. If you can remember your dreams, you pull out ideas and use them to great effect. Even nightmares can be fodder for your next book.

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Keep an open mind on where to find inspiration and your writing ideas can practically come from anywhere.

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How Writing Can Enhance Your Life

The Value Of The Written Word

Balloon, Start, Light, Fire, Hot Air, Lamp, Lantern

Use Writing As A Creative Outlet

If you’re like me, writing is not your full-time job. I use it as a way to relax, a way to express my thoughts, and it brings nothing but joy to my life.

It’s a way to express my creativity and bring value to others.

I’ve had a lot of hobbies over the years. I’ve gone through many phases. In middle school and high school, I played basketball for fun, among other sports.

In college and afterward, I was knee deep into sales positions and managing businesses.

Now I’m a devoted husband and father to 2 young boys, along with working as an Admissions Advisor for 40 hours a week.

My wife and I remain extremely active with our 3 year old and 6 year old. Just this morning I played basketball and took my sons swimming.

Guess what I’ve been thinking about the entire morning while I was doing those things? Writing. It’s a great addition to an already full life.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

— Richard Bach

Don’t Just Write For Money

When you write solely for the purpose of earning money, it pushes you in the wrong direction. You’re just thinking about how much profit you can earn without focusing on anything else.

Writing is something I recently started to make money from since I’ve only been on Medium for just over 2 months. It’s something I’m invested in for the long-term.

My sole purpose on Medium though is not to earn money. That’s an added benefit, like icing on a cake. It’s to build a following of people who enjoy what I provide. It’s to join a community and meet other like-minded people. It’s also to practice my craft and learn from top writers.

My end goal is not to be the king of Medium. It’s to become a successful novelist and write thrillers. That’s what I work on when I’m not writing on Medium.

There are many benefits to being on this site that have nothing do with earning money. When your articles on Medium provide a real benefit to others, the applause, comments, and success will naturally follow.

Writing is a passion of mine that provides a real benefit to my life.

Think about writing like a diamond. Why are diamonds purchased so often?

When someone buys a diamond, they know they’re getting something of high quality. That’s how I like to think of writing.

You need to write with something else in mind besides how much money you can make. In my case, it’s purpose, quality, and value. Is it high quality, does it have a purpose, and is it providing value?

Precious, Diamond, Jewelry, Expensive, Luxury, Crystal

Write Because You Want To

You should write because you want to, not because you have to. When you do something out of passion, it shows. People can tell when you’re being genuine about a subject, even when it’s written down.

There are many things I do because I have to. Taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, and paying the bills to name a few.

I work a full-time job because I have to. I do enjoy it, but it provides a means to an end. The purpose of my full-time job is to provide for my wife, kids, and to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. It’s also to save money for kids’ education and allow us to go on a nice vacation if we’d like to.

You should write because it’s something you enjoy doing.

Why are you writing in the first place? Is it for you or for others? Whatever that answer is, you need to remember that and focus on it.

Keep writing as long as you feel it adds to your life.

Tree, Sunset, Amazing, Beautiful, Breathtaking

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The Advantages of Writing in Short Bursts

Nature, Road, Mountains, Alpine, East Tyrol, Mood, Fog

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
— Margaret Atwood

Some people have a golden rule that they need to sit down and write 1,000 -2,000 words at once.

Is this really necessary?

No.

When you force yourself to write a certain number of words, it can stifle your creativity.

You need to make sure your writing is quality. If it’s not good, it won’t matter how many words you ink.

When I’m tired to the point of almost falling asleep, I stop writing. I can tell my brain is not fully functioning so it doesnt’ make sense to attempt to hit a word count.

Why put awful words when down when I’m just going to delete them tomorrow?

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t type a certain number of words in one setting.

Argument, Conflict, Controversy, Dispute, Contention

As long as you keep writing often enough, eventually you’ll finish your book. I never stress about how many words I write in a day. Sometimes I literally write only five words and I’m content with that.

Of course if you’re on a deadline, then this article isn’t for you. This is for writers who don’t have a time stamp they’re committed to.

Pick three times during the day to sit down for 15 minutes each time. You can write many a word in 45 minutes time. Better yet, it can be good writing.

When you write in short periods of time, the potential of the quality of your writing improves. Your brain is only getting pushed for a small amount of time throughout the day so you’re more effective.

It’s all about your level of alertness. How awake are you when you’re writing?

Writing in short bursts can potentially improve your writing. Try it and see what happens.

Beverage, Blog, Blogger, Break, Business, Coffee

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Beating Writer’s Block

Defeating Your #1 Enemy — Your Mind

Even the greatest of writers have writer’s block at one time or another. How can you overcome this?

“Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper not eternal bronze: Let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes.”
― Jacques Barzun

Step 1: Outline Your Book.

Some people choose to outline their books and some don’t. An outline can give you a big picture of where you want your book to go. Think of 5 or 6 overall themes and big storylines and begin writing. You can also outline chapters if you’d like. Write a short paragraph or a few bullet points for what you want the chapter to be about and then let your imagination take you the rest of the way.

Step 2. Think Of Thought Joggers

A thought jogger is when you write down a list of words and then your brain automatically connects that to other related ideas. For example, if you write the name of a friend, usually you’ll automatically think of their spouse and then their kids. This is a good way to come up with ideas for your book, by writing a list of words first that relate to your story lines.

Step 3. Think Of The Craziest Ideas And Pick One

In James Patterson’s Masterclass , he suggests to write down 10 crazy things that could happen to your main character and then pick the most realistic one. This will help you with your story if you’re stuck and you don’t know where you book is going next. Many people can come up with the beginning or end of the book, but struggle in the middle.

Step 4: Go For A Walk

A lot of times when you get stuck in writing, it’s time to just get outside and walk around. Go for a walk and don’t think about what you’re writing for 10 or 15 minutes and completely remove yourself away from your novel. This will clear your mind so you can start off fresh again at a later point. You could also try meditating or yoga or some other form of exercise.

Step 5. Change Your Location

Typically I write from home sitting on my comfortable couch or at my desk, but sometimes just going to a local Starbucks or bookstore will get the creative juices flowing. or just put on your headphones and listen to music.Try switching locations and see if that helps. Being around other people can stimulate the senses.

Step 6. Read A Book From Your Favorite Author

While I’m writing, I’ll read quite a bit too. Read other books like the one you’re writing and study their prose, setting, character development, and humor and this will help you put pen to paper to continue writing your manuscript.

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Simple, Yet Effective Writing Tips

Useful Tips You Should Follow If You’re a Writer

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  1. Be Genuine

People know when your written word sounds like it’s genuine. You need to be faithful to your voice and the way you write. If you’re writing about a character, make sure you stay in that character’s personality the entire time. It’s just like talking to face-to-face. You can tell when someone is being fake.

2. Write Consistently

Writing, like anything else, takes practice. People don’t just start out as excellent writers. It’s a craft that needs to be honed over time. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

3. Remember to Read

Reading isn’t only for the sake of enjoying the story if you’re a writer. It’s important to pay attention to the wording, plot development, character structure, and story lines. What do you like about the story you’re reading? Take mental notes as you read.

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4. Fight Through Writer’s Block

Even the most talented of writers have trouble coming up with ideas while they’re writing. If you’re writing a 80,000 word novel, there is no way you’re going to be able to fill those pages seamlessly. Take a break if you need to and eventually the words will come.

5. Do Other Things Besides Write

Too much of one thing day after day can just get boring. You need to fill your time up with other activities. Maybe go out and play some sports or watch TV. Take your dog for a long walk or go hiking. You need to fill time up with other things so your mind will stay fresh for writing.

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Follow these steps to improve your writing!

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Does It Matter Where You Write?

It Depends On Your Focus

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Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.
– Ayn Rand

Where Should You Go To Write?

I write anywhere I can. It doesn’t matter if there’s a TV on in the background or not. I can be watching a movie on Netflix or a reality show. Regardless, I’m able to focus on my writing. Even if my kids are talking to me and asking me for something to eat, I can still write.

Use Your Surroundings To Your Advantage

If you’re the type of person that writes while you’re outside, you can use that to your advantage. Let’s say you’re struggling to describe a character. You’re not quite sure what they should wear.

Look around at the people passing by and you can see how their dressed. This will give you ideas. Put that in your book.

If you write while you’re sitting outside a Starbucks and you don’t know how to pinpoint someone’s hair color or hair style, just look up at the people standing in line ordering Mocha Frappuccinos.

Create A Comfortable Writing Space

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You need to make sure your settled in to your writing space. It could be your favorite couch or sitting in your office chair. Right now, I’m writing while I’m standing in my office while Black Mirror is on. I can still focus though. Having the ability to focus is key.

If you’re not good at multi-tasking, don’t attempt to write and do other things simultaneously. It won’t be productive for you as a writer. You still need to make sure your work is full of quality.

Change Things Up When It’s Not Working

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas where you are, change your location. Move from the kitchen table and go outside. Take a trip to the library or eat in front of a cafe. Switch things up to keep your mind moving and engage it in new ways. You never know what brilliant idea might strike you if you decide to write somewhere else.

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What’s The Trick To Writing?

The most important thing to do is use your incredible brain to come up with creative content. You need to engage your reader. That being said, you can do that from anywhere at anytime.

How To Juggle Writing and Working A Full-Time Job

Making Writing Your Priority

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Here Are Some Tips to Juggle Your Primary Job and Writing

  1. Make Writing A Priority

You need to decide what’s important to you when it comes to your life. For me, it’s family first, my main occupation, then writing. Until I’m able to become a writer full-time, this is the order of priority. Some day I hope to place writing second. The interesting thing is I’m so excited about writing that I think about it way more than my main occupation. I’m much more intrigued about the potential to make writing a full-time career. That’s the future I’m pushing towards.

I have a full-time job. I work 40 hours per week and make a solid living working. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I get a little bit of downtime throughout the day to focus on writing. In my spare time, I’m either writing on Medium or focusing on my thriller novel.

2. Set Aside Time To Write Every Single Day

You just have to put it somewhere in your schedule. It can be any time and anywhere. You need to make it part of your routine. Like anything else, it requires consistency. Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is part of your routine. Sleeping is part of your routine, maybe exercising. Now it needs to be writing. Once you do that, it will become easier to get it done every day.

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3. Decide How Important Your Full-Time Job Is

For me, it’s extremely important. It provides my family and kids a nice middle-class life. Am I happy to be in my current position? You bet. Do I want to do it forever? No.

Would I like to write full-time in the future? Yes. It keeps me motivated knowing there is enormous potential to make this a full-time career. I’ve already mastered my current job and I like the idea of improving upon my passion, which is writing.

4. Figure Out Your Writing Niche

What are you good at when it comes to writing? What are you passionate about? Whatever it is, that’s what you should be writing about. Decide on what you’re interested in and this will make your writing better. Then practice over and over again until your writing improves. What do you enjoy reading? If you’re writing a novel, read plenty of books in the same genre while you’re writing to improve upon your craft.

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Follow these tips above to help balance out your life and writing.