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Getting Inspiration

Tantz_Aerine at 2:14AM, July 13, 2019

Inspiration is a flighty and whimsical thing. We don't know when we'll get it and sometimes we never do when we need it. Even others, we get it when we least need it, or when we can't use it. Or when we're sleeping, and lose it the moment we wake up.

Still, there are some methods I have found work to keep the creative juices going and getting inspiration for your work more often than not.

Of course, I'm not saying any of the stuff I'll list below will work for everyone. I'm saying they have worked for me, and perhaps they have or will for you as well.

1. Read your genre.

Read what other people have written in the vein and style (or styles) you are also dabbling in. This works on two levels: loving something you read as well as hating something you read. Loving a way that something happens in someone else's story, or seeing how something was presented in a webcomic, is great to inspire you how to approach your own scenes. All the great artists tended to look at each others' work and get inspired from one another, and it seems to be working.

But even when you hate something you read or see, you're seeing a way in which something shouldn't be done! If you know why you hate it, you know how it should be done right, and that too pushes you closer to inspiration for your own work.

2. Read, Watch, Do

Don't stay within the confines of the genre or style you are writing or creating your work in. Branch out and watch anything and everything that catches your interest. You will see tropes and styles and approaches to delivering a scene that most certainly will inspire you for your own work even if it's from an unrelated genre, type or stimulus.

That doesn't only go for other literary work or webcomic/ comic work or movies. That also goes for real life. Read up on news stories and history, get your hands on little anecdotes and side stories about historical events and figures. Even if you don't believe some stuff actually happened, it's still stuff that stuck and was handed down from person to person until it reached you- so it's something that people were drawn to.

Also, do new things, or do stuff differently. Cook a new food, learn a new dance, go on a walk, attend a lecture or watch a play, shake things up in your routine. It doesn't need to be big, just small stuff will do. It might seem completely unrelated to your quest for inspiration, but it is a break for your mind, and it will help it reset and get back to the stuff you need inspiration for fresh.

3. Talk about your stuff

Discussing something is the best way to reach a conclusion or solution about it. Discussing it a lot is even better.

Same goes for creative inspiration. Find people that like to talk shop with you and make them your sounding boards. The more the merrier! Talk with them about what you're making, talk about what you need inspiration for that you aren't getting, get into discussions about your characters (and theirs, if they have them- reciprocity works!), all of that and that person's different perspective will help get you going.

4. Role play

Write out stories with your characters with people that also like to do that. I'm mostly thinking of free form role play rather than DnD style role playing, but anything can work! Put your characters in novel situations, within or outside of their canon setting, let them interact with others, and see what comes out of that. It might be completely unrelated, but often it will give you inspiration to go on with your own canon as well.

And that's my four main things! What about you? How do you get inspiration?

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mishi_hime at 12:55AM, July 16, 2019

Inspiration doesn't rain down from the sky. You have to search for it. I think that's my number one tip.

AmeliaP at 8:26PM, July 14, 2019

"4. Role play" YES! YES! I played RPG with other writers using the universe(s) I created some years ago. The best character laboratory I've ever had. That and what bravo said: "I need the peace and quiet for it's own sake, not for on-rushing thoughts."

usedbooks at 6:06PM, July 14, 2019

I never find peace on my own. That's why showers and my commute are the #1 places for inspiration. (And I always have a notepad nearby.) Dreams can be good too.

bravo1102 at 4:02AM, July 14, 2019

The problem with seeking solitude, peace and quiet is that eventually all you want is the solitude, peace the quiet and not the inspiration. That's one reason I pace, gesticulate and talk to myself. I need the peace and quiet for it's own sake, not for on-rushing thoughts. You see that's part of the pathology of my mental illness. Some of us have to be careful about things like that.

Hapoppo at 6:21PM, July 13, 2019

I think UsedBooks has the best advice here. Just last weekend I was out at my mom's cottage, and it was peaceful enough that ideas started rushing into my head the moment I got there. Another thing you might try is playing a simple video game... I find I can reach a kind of a relaxed thinking state when I'm playing Temple Run 2 or Bejeweled's Zen mode.

bravo1102 at 3:12PM, July 13, 2019

Brainstorm. Ask questions. "What if?" "If this continues--?" And talk aloud. You see if you brainstorm aloud you're using verbal communication as well as writing or just thinking and different bits of the brain can chime in. Make it a group project and get that corpus callosum working. Just wear a headset while doing it so people will just think you're on the phone.

ShaRose49 at 2:44PM, July 13, 2019

I agree with all of these! Except I’ve definitely never role-played before, so maybe I should try that, idk!

Ozoneocean at 3:51AM, July 13, 2019

All excellent advice! Great newspost Tantz!

usedbooks at 3:42AM, July 13, 2019

I also insert my original characters into any video games that have customization. It started as just for fun, but it seems to plant some subconscious brain stuff by keeping them part of different stories.

usedbooks at 3:40AM, July 13, 2019

The first two suggestions are great for seeding the field. After that, though, inspiration has to have a chance to grow, and it does so (for me) in quiet places. Usually during my commute, in the shower, or on a trail in the woods. Sometimes, I have to wait for my story/scene to sort itself out in my head, and I have to go "find it" out in that quiet place. Once I have the pieces, talking to someone can help me organize thoughts in the chaos and "weed the garden," but I need solitude to grow it. So, for me, it's a three step process. Step 1: Absorb and learn (your 1 and 2). Step 2: Allow my brain a quiet space to explore itself -- and write that down. Step 3: Organize the thoughts by talking to others (your 3 and 4).

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