As a writer, what inspires you? Is it a great book you just finished reading? Did you sit at the park and "people watch" during your lunch break and get some ideas there? Were you meditating on margaritas to set the inner writer free? It's always interesting where different authors get their ideas. Some get more ideas the more they write, while others draw a blank in front of the page but excel after taking a jog to get the creative juices flowing.
I know I tend to find inspiration in examining life and relationships. I think about how people relate to each other, how they talk to each other, whether or not they touch, etc. If I want an idea for a story sometimes I think about or go to public places, the mall, the movie theater, the park. Sometimes just being alone and engaging in the five senses will spark some creativity. Other times I hear some bit of dialogue or read a line and a couple of paired words really grab me and that prompt is enough to build a story around.
Is your mind still blank? Here are seven other suggestions that might provide a spark you can turn into a fire.
1. Watch a film, read a book, or listen to a CD that puts you in the mood for writing or sets the tone for the writing you need to do. I find there are some stories that have a soundtrack and listening to a specific CD while I work on them adds to the experience.
2. Take a walk. Think about writing as you stroll down the street. This is a great way to work out plot holes, dialogue issues, or character backstories.
3. Take a walk. Don't think about writing at all. Be present in the moment to observe the sounds of running water or birds, the look of sunlight filtering through trees, or even the smell of the earth under fallen leaves.
4. "Business lunch." Take yourself out to eat alone or with a writer friend. Giving yourself a break from the computer or pen and paper and shutting to doors on your writer's mindset can often give you the freedom to let new information in that the internal editor wasn't allowing.
5. Free write like no one is watching. Open a new document or pull out a scrap piece of paper and write as fast as you can all the horrible things you can't write into your current story. If you're working on a romance novel, then quickly zip out a 500 word scene of someone stumbling in on a murder in progress. Write high-tech science fiction? Give yourself a 300 word description of an open meadow at sunrise.
6. Keep a journal. Often writing about the thoughts in your head and sorting through them can release that part of you that has been trying to be inspired but couldn't under all the clutter in your mind. Whether you write in a journal every day or only when you need to sort out plot points and characters, a lot can be uncovered in the process.
7. Exercise. Sitting still for hours on end can be exhausting, but while your brain is working a mile a minute, your legs, back, arms, heart, and core are in reality just sitting around going unused. Regular exercise can push your body and turn off your brain for a while. More than likely this will also improve your sleep. (See how I assume you're not getting enough sleep? Most of us aren't.)
Wherever you find your muse the important thing to remember is to keep writing whether they find you today or not. There will be days without inspiration but that doesn't mean it won't come to you. Once you realize where to find your inspiration, remember to go back to that place often to make the inspiration come to you.
Now it's your turn. Share where you find your inspiration in the comments section.