It isn’t always easy to feel inspired as a writer.
Sometimes, you feel overflowing with creativity and inspiration. It can be difficult to keep up with the sheer cascade of ideas you have.
Other times, writing is like getting blood from a stone. Each word is a genuine struggle and even thinking about writing is painful and unproductive.
For most writers, their level of inspiration usually falls somewhere between the two extremes. Some writers experience a fairly consistent level of motivation while others have a far greater ebb and flow.
No matter how inspired or not you may be feeling, it’s always valuable to have some go-to ways of topping up your inspiration. The following five sources have proved powerful for countless writers, and may just give you the boost you need.
It’s incredibly rare for a writer to not also be a reader. Therefore, it’s only natural that books about writing are some of the most valuable and treasured sources of inspiration for writers.
The best books on writing will offer both emotional inspiration and practical advice. A perfect example is ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King.
On Writing offers the inspirational story of how Stephen King went from a financially struggling teacher to one of the most successful authors ever. In addition, it also provides King’s own method of writing and editing as well as plenty of practical advice.
The type of writing book you find most inspiring is likely to depend upon your situation. If you are lacking self-belief, it can be useful to listen to someone who has overcome a similar, or more serious, struggle than yours. If you are struggling with a particular area of writing, such as outlining or writing dialogue, reading a specialist book by a master of that aspect of the art could be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Books are wonderful as they provide an incredible depth of information relative to their price. It’s often possible to learn far more from a book than from a video course for a fraction of the cost.
Sometimes, we need a personal and human element to our writing inspiration.
One of the best ways to get inspired is to join a writing group.
Some of the key benefits to writing support groups include the personalized advice you will receive, the chance to give back by contributing and helping out others, and the personal connection that comes with being part of a group of people over time.
If you are seeking support from a writing group, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should seek out a group which has the right vibe or feel for your own personality. Some groups are formal, others very informal. Finding a place you will want to spend time and will feel at home is important for making the most of your group.
You also want to choose a group with the right level and type of information for your needs. If you are just starting out, an advanced group probably won’t be the best fit, and if you write nonfiction, but the majority of your group talks about fiction, you should look elsewhere.
Podcasts are an underappreciated source of writing inspiration.
There is something really special about being able to dip in and out of podcast episodes no matter where you are or what you are doing. You can use podcasts to make your commute a useful and enjoyable experience, or to get some fresh writing ideas while on the treadmill in the gym.
The best podcasts for writers contain a mix of practical advice and general inspiration. Podcasts are perfectly suited to interviews, and as a result offer some of the best opportunities to hear authors you admire talking about their work. There’s something really special about hearing a writer you love sharing their wisdom in their own voice.
It’s useful to develop go-to podcasts for different situations. For example, if you find a particular podcast which gives you inspiration whenever you listen to it, make a note of it. That way, you have inspiration on tap when it’s running low. If there’s a podcast which always makes you laugh, be sure to give it a listen anytime you feel frustrated and everything gets too much.
Online courses are some of the best ways to learn in-depth information. You get the personal touch of having an instructor cover the material with the convenience of being able to log in and cover the content at your own time and pace.
Learning from an online course is great if you prefer to watch someone else actually carry out the topic being taught. For example, if you are struggling with inspiration for brainstorming plot points, you can watch a real writer show you their actual process. This is often a lot more educational and inspirational than merely reading about the same process.
If you are looking to learn from an online course, be careful. A lot of courses are slickly marketed but talk the talk a lot better than they walk the walk. Before investing in a particular course, it’s worth thinking about whether –
The course covers the material you need
The course is taught in a way which will be inspirational and effective for you
Real reviewers have praised the course in a way which resonates with you
The course represents value for money and time
Sometimes you might feel the best way to regain or boost your inspiration is to change your environment and attend a dedicated writing retreat.
This is a big step to take and is something which obviously can’t be used as often as listening to a podcast or reading a chapter of a writing book. However, if you need a supportive environment away from the mundanity of everyday life, a retreat might be your best bet.
Retreats are expensive but offer the most drastic chance to completely focus on your writing. They also serve as a form of vacation and can be superb for general rest and relaxation purposes.
Attending a writing retreat is likely to be a rare step and saved for special occasions. However, it’s a valuable option when you really need to turbocharge your writing inspiration at all costs.
Writing Inspiration Final Thoughts
Hopefully this article will provide you with a menu of inspiration to feast upon whenever needed. Whether you need a quick five minute boost of inspiration from a podcast, or a period of serious retreat and reflection, there’s something for your situation.
No matter how uninspired you may feel, there is always a solution. Be brave and hold on until you find it.