NJ wrote a great poem about struggling to find inspiration, and it generated a lot of commiseration about writer’s block. It got me thinking. I’ve never had writer’s block. I often have the opposite problem: too many ideas and no idea where to start. But that’s another post for another time.
After rereading the comments, I pondered. What am I doing differently? Why do I never suffer from writers’ block? No answer jumped out at me, but I flashed back to a funny exchange I had with the poet, Jade, about muses, and how I don’t have one. Honestly, I don’t. There’s not one thing that inspires me. There are millions. Obviously, that’s not going to help you. So I dug deeper.
Where do I find so much inspiration? I horde ideas.
I’m not kidding. I am addicted to writing prompts, compelling images, and interesting words. And you should be too. Hell, stock photo sites tickle my creative fancy. Trolling through them is my newest past time. It should be yours too.
How does my addiction keep me perpetually inspired? I built an Idea Bank (horde) in under 5 minutes a day. And you can too.
Step 1: Fire your muse.
He, she or it isn’t doing their job if you’re reading this post. Writers write. They don’t sit around waiting for the big idea to drop into their laps. Most of the time, they’re writing in between doing other things. They’re exhausted, overworked and often juggling a variety of tasks, but they get those words down because they have to. (Welcome to my life.) They have deadlines and missing those deadlines have consequences. So give your muse the pink slip.
If you don’t have one, don’t hire one. You need consistency in your life not fickle fate’s beneficence (or lack thereof).
Step 2: Spend 5 minutes a day trolling the internet for interesting tidbits, images, words, etc. Find at least 5 things.
Step 3: Stuff them in a WP post or a Google doc, or pin them to Pinterest, etc. But put them where you can easily lay your hands on them. If you want to go the extra mile, categorize them. Keep text prompts in a doc and picture prompts pinned somewhere. But put them somewhere. This your idea bank. Protect it with your life.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2-4 7 days a week 365 days per year.
By the end of the year, you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with. Imagine cherry-picking from (or mixing and matching) 1825 ideas next time you’re stuck. Imagine the ways you can combine ideas from an idea bank of that size. Welcome to my world.
Sounds great right? Now you just need a few places to start off your bank with, and I have a list ready for you. Click through the links below and strike idea gold. I’ll wait here for the accolades. 😉
Here’s a list of places to help you build your idea bank:
- Go to https://twitter.com/MelindaKucsera/lists/prompts. See who tweets prompts and FOLLOW them. They are your new best friends.
- I think she has several thousand prompts published by now ranging across a wide variety of genres: http://www.thewritingreader.com
- Dictionary.com – subscribe to their ‘word of the day’ and check out their quizzes for interesting words to add to your bank.
- Buzzfeed has a lot of posts title the ‘Most Beautiful Words in language X,’ and they’re great for inspiration. Here’s an example of one recommended by a dear blogger friend: https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/ever-embasan?utm_term=.vnozRB4RzP#.ffvjKYyKjq
- Lots of prompts here. They publish a new one every Friday. Look for ‘the dirty dozen’: http://www.thewriteprompts.com
- Lots of great prompts here: http://www.blotsandplots.com/blog/writing-prompts
- From the weird to the wacky to the what ifs scenarios, this subreddit has your creative need covered: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/
- 365 creative writing prompts to seed your idea bank: http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/
- For those who like visual prompts: https://uk.pinterest.com/mandycorine/writing-prompts/
- Even more prompts: http://tomiadeyemi.com/category/blog/writing-prompts-blog/
- A new prompt every day: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com
- One more place to get inspired if you like cool and unusual/old words: http://wordsmith.org/awad/archives.html. Sign up to receive their daily email. Make your idea trolling as simple as scanning the subject lines of your inbox.
- There are so many bloggers who create and run writing prompts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis on WordPress. Find them. They are your new besties. They run the gamut from picture prompts to song titles to random collections of words.
- You can also Google search writing prompts, journal prompts, poetry prompts, writing challenges, picture prompts, etc. but do this with caution. You’ll find a lot of sites offering writing prompts require you to sign up to receive their newsletter to get the PDF. Some are okay, but most are lackluster prompts (i.e., describe your last birthday and 30 more of that kind of ilk). So do a search, but be mindful that the pdf might not inspire you, and that’s okay. Find the prompts that tickle your imagination.
- Pinterest and Instagram both have tons of writing prompts. It takes less than a minute to search them and find ideas that run the gamut.
- Check out Reedsy.com. They have some great prompts as well.
- Think Written has 365 prompts in their post here that could work for most genres: https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/ and 301 short story ideas to kick your writing into high gear: https://www.servicescape.com/blog/301-short-story-ideas-guaranteed-to-kick-your-writing-into-high-gear
If you liked this post, why not share it? Your writer friends will thank you.
You’re welcome. I hope you enjoyed this post. I don’t often blog about the writing process because there are so many people who do this already. However, I made an exception for Writer’s Block for the reasons stated in #14 and because it was a fellow blogger and friend asking.
Do you have a method for busting writers’ block? Let’s discuss it below!
I’ve still got a lot to learn about writing, publishing, etc., but if you have a question, I will take a crack at answering it. Please be aware I write and publish only fiction (ahem, epic fantasy), so my knowledge is limited to that part of the publishing world. However, I also work for a scholarly peer-reviewed journal publisher, so I know something about that as well. But it’s a whole other ball game as they say. 😉