“Them’s Writing Words!”: 3 ways to gain inspiration for your next writing project

This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

Leonid_Pasternak_-_The_Passion_of_creation
The Passion of Creation by Leonid Pasternak (the father of Boris Pasternak)

Writing Inspiration

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they say something that sparks a story idea in your head?

(…then you miss the rest of the conversation because you are desperately trying to imprint the idea in your brain so you can get it down on paper at a later time…)

This tends to happen a lot to me and usually I can’t get to a piece of paper (or my phone) in time to get the idea, and the emotion behind it, down.

(…immediately grabbing your phone in mid-conversation can be seen as a little rude…)

I call this phenomenon ‘Writing Words’ – When you hear something that immediately sends your mind racing on story ideas and concepts. Many good books have been sparked into existence by a word or line in a conversation, or even from a song or a picture. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a good example of this:

“The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.”– From the essay, It All Began with a Picture, by C.S. Lewis

3 Ways To Get Writing Inspiration

Here are 3 ways that you can get inspiration, or tap into those ‘Writing Words’:

  1. From items and things in the world around you. Pictures, scenes, landscapes, songs, your favorite park bench…these can all be a catalyst for forming your next writing project. It’s just up to you to be aware of what is around you and see the potential. Just as C.S. Lewis did.
  2. From news articles. Newspapers, magazine articles, online news sites and television have always been a good source for soaking up story ideas. A social issue on illegal immigration in the Australian Press is what sparked the inspiration for my book The Enclave. Though whatever idea or theme attracts your attention, it needs to resonate with you, because if it doesn’t, the story will not have the emotional power behind it that you would like it to have.
  3. From the conversations and events that happen around you. Now we are back to where I started this article. Any conversation, whether one you’re involved with or overheard, can be a goldmine of ideas for stories in any genre. It’s just up you, the writer, to see their value and greedily use it to your writing advantage.

I gather ideas mainly using the 3 points above. Because of this I have a large collection of paper slips that get tucked into my idea book when I get home. I have been storing my ideas like this for years and have several notebooks full of stuff that I go back to when I need writing inspiration.

How do you find your ideas? Please share your thoughts in the comment’s section. I really would like to know what works for you.

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4 thoughts on ““Them’s Writing Words!”: 3 ways to gain inspiration for your next writing project”

  1. I love to take pictures while out discovering this wonderful world we live in. Later, I match up the pictures to inspirational quotes. That process provides a wealth of inspiration for articles for my website. My weakness: Ideas that surface after I’ve gone to bed. I keep promising myself to put a tablet and pen by the bed because the ideas are always gone by morning. You’ve inspired me to go do that right now!

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    1. I keep a pen and notebook by my bed as well. I used to keep a small tape recorder – but I used to always fumble and drop it whenever I woke up and needed to get something down. A pen and paper is much easier. And quieter. 🙂 I like to take photos as well – especially of landscapes, which helps me to describe some of the locations in my books.

      -Hayley

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  2. My ideas usually emerge in the state between waking and dreaming, in the shower, or I get a sudden image in my head. They can come from anywhere. I keep myself open to the impossible, and never let something as mundane as reality hold me back. My “Warriors of Virtue” grew out of “The Lord Of The Rings”, Sailor Moon, and Gilbert telling Anne that she should write about what she knows in “Anne of Green Gables–the sequel”. I placed my family in Middle Earth, gave the main characters power over the elements, and eventually I created Ardan.

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    1. I love Anne of Green Gables 🙂

      I always get hit with ideas when I am doing something that lets my mind operate on automatic – Housework and cooking usually works well for me. It’s amazing what your mind can come up with when you let it alone to play for a bit 🙂

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