One thing that I can tell you about my own writing muse is this...
It is a shy, introverted, creature, and it takes a lot of coaxing to get it to come out of hiding sometimes.
Basically, if you don't want to write your story tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day, because you're waiting for the inspiration to hit you...you're going to end up wasting a LOT of writing time. In fact, you may lose that inspiration altogether. Sometimes you've got to find it on your own. You've got to hunt it down, put a leash around its neck, and physically pull it out of the shadows so you can get something done. Hehehe! So, this week, we're talking about writer inspiration and how to exercise it in a way to keep that creative flow going.
Whether you're looking to tell a brand new story or simply want to add to something you're already working on, you can find the inspiration if you go looking for it. And the best way to chase it down is simple...go out and live life. You have to live life if you want to write about it, plain and simple. Writing can often be a very isolated process, and it's easy to lock yourself in a tiny room with a dim lamp and cup of 'miscellaneous', and never come out of there. My inspiration is almost always outside of my room. I've got to be able to go places and talk to people and see life happening all around me. It helps like you wouldn't believe.
Now, when I say go live life, that doesn't mean that you have to go mountain climbing or skydiving or wrestle salt water crocs in a mud pit somewhere. it's just a matter of putting yourself in a different set of surroundings. Instead of typing on a keyboard in your bedroom, try taking a pen and a notebook and try going to a nearby park. Or maybe take your laptop to a local coffee shop or library. My place used to be the Lake, and I loved to write on Navy Pier. There's just something about getting out of my comfort zone that gets my creative juices flowing. Things are happening all around you. Maybe you see somebody that you find absolutely gorgeous while you're out, and decide to make him a character in your next story. Maybe you'll overhear an interesting conversation between two people walking by. Maybe the smell of fresh flowers, or the scent of freshly baked donuts will waft your way and bring back a pleasant memory from your past. Inspiration can be triggered by just about anything, but the unpredictability of being in an area with other people works wonders. You never know who or what you'll run into.
An example...maybe I go out to buy milk and eggs for the kitchen, and while I'm at the register, there's a really cute college boy bagging my groceries. Those few minutes might inspire a whole new story. I would take that one moment in time, and stretch it out in both directions, past and future. What events brought him to this counter? Maybe he's working his way through school. Maybe his father owns the store and this is his first time having an actual job. Maybe he's saving up for a car, or a trip to Hollywood to take a shot at an acting career. Create a backstory for this random person that you've never met before. Now imagine stretching things out into the future. What would happen if I talked to him? What if I joked around a little bit and he responded with a few giggles and a joke of his own? What if I came back for the next two or three days in a row, buying stuff I didn't need just so I could see him again? What would happen if after a few meetings we decided to go get lunch somewhere when he got a break? I could build an entire ten to fifteen page story off of just that one glance a cute guy bagging groceries. I wouldn't get that being trapped in my room all day.
So whenever you leave the house, become an observer. Hehehe, DON'T be the creep who's staring at people or purposely butting into their conversations! But pay attention to everything that's going on around you. You're surrounded by a million different stories every single day. Pick one that you like, put your unique spin on it, and tell that story. Tell the story of that brand new family restaurant that's opening up on the corner, or that teen couple having an argument outside the mall, or that homeless guy asking for change outside the convenience store. There's so much inspiration out there that it can be overwhelming at times. You just have to teach yourself to recognize it.
As far as my experience is concerned...the really is no such thing as fiction. There's just my personal truth being expressed with fictional details. Everything that I've ever written for the Shack is simply 'me' speaking through a bunch of different characters. My thoughts, my feelings, my sense of humor, my hobbies and interests...they are the life's blood of everything I type out on this screen. So I can enhance my inspiration by enhancing my life. My experiences. We're constantly telling ourselves stories all day long. We're living a story right now. Picture yourself reading this article. Now think about why you chose to click on this link and what you brought you to this very moment. Now think about what you're going to do after you finish reading, and what it might lead to further down the road. There's a story there. Choose a specific moment, add a foundation, and put your personal brand of whipped cream on top. Voila! You've got a new potential idea to work with.
Now...once you find that inspiration that you were looking for, no matter how big or how small...chase it down. Write while the fire is in you. Don't wait. Procrastination is the number one enemy of creativity. Trust me, I'm a master at putting things off until later. Hehehe, like that old joke, "I bought a book on how to prevent procrastination. I haven't read it yet, though. Maybe tomorrow."
I do realize that everyone has their own life responsibilities, and you might not have the chance to race to your laptop and get the time, energy, and focus, to write every time a new idea pops into your head. Some of you guys have school and exams, some of you have heavy work schedules and weird hours, some of you have family commitments that need to be your number one priority. But...when you get that tug on your creative strings, immediately make a 'plan' to sit down and write it out. As soon as you can get some time to breathe. I find that my writing never feels more natural, more potent, then when I feel like I'm right there in the moment. Be passionate! Get your head, your heart, and your typing fingers, in sync with one another and bleed on the page for our enjoyment!
I also recommend that you write what you're feeling whenever your emotions are running on high. That's a whole other kind of inspiration. Use that. Even if it doesn't fit into the current story you're working on...write it into something else. Or just write your feelings out in a standalone story all its own. I know that I usually get a lot of flak for writing so many stories at once, but I channel my emotions into what I write. I use the inspiration I have at that particular moment. I want people to feel it the way I feel it, and I can describe it best when I'm currently going through it. I think one of the biggest mistakes that an author can make is thinking, "I'm miserable right now...I just want to write something happy to get out of this funk." It'll show. If you're miserable, why not write something miserable? If you're heartbroken, write about heartbreak. Not only will your writing come off as more genuine and relatable to your readers who have been there...but it can be sooooo theraputic to get it out of your system and on to the page where it might do some good. Let it be a sigh of relief. Don't write against your own emotional state. It's there to help season the main course, not poison it.
Anyway, short recap...
Get out and about. Take some 'me' time and live life. Then come home and write about what you've observed. Inspiration is everywhere. Go find it. And when you do, make plans to tackle it as SOON as you get a chance. Passion doesn't last forever. You'd be surprised how many potentially great stories I've lost simply because I didn't jump on my muse when I had the chance. And be sure to use your deepest emotions to your benefit. Don't try to swim upstream. Some of your best work may be hiding within those painful feelings that you don't want to talk about.
I hope this helps inspire a few of you to start writing! And KEEP writing! Go out there and make GayAuthors proud! Hehehe! Take care! And happy writing!