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Thursday, 1 September 2011


Last week over on Coach Creative Space (CCS) the topic of discussion was inspiration. (By the way, if your life is revolves around creativity then you should definitely consider joining.)  As a writer, crafter and general creator I always love reading where others get their inspiration.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that often I actively seek out this information.  I want to know how writers come up with their stories, how artists get inspired.  And the one thing that I’ve read over and over again is that they have too many ideas, that the problem isn’t finding ideas but deciding which ones to use.

And thus I found myself a minority on CCS.  I love to write and I love to create.  But I have always struggled with the inspiration part.  It is very rare for me to just have an idea – I have to actively seek it out (which I have learnt to do through extensive reading on inspiration).  When I mentioned this in the discussion I was mostly met with confusion and advice to take a break to replenish my creativity.  The thing is, I don’t need to take a break.  I need to do the complete opposite.  I need to drive myself to find more ideas, new characters and different settings. The more I do this the easier it comes.  

But I still get a little jealous when others complain about the inspiration question.  They can’t answer it because they just are inspired.  Constantly.  So here’s a few of my tips if you have the same problem I have.

  1. Take a notebook with you everywhere.  
  2. Write what you see/hear/smell/feel wherever you are (being a writer/creative gives you license to eavesdrop – but only for research purposes).
  3. Pick a word or phrase and use it as inspiration.
  4. Write from the point of view of a character you know well (perhaps someone from your favourite T.V. show?)
  5. Free-write for ten minutes.  Pick a sentence/phrase/word from what you’ve written.  Use it to start another ten minutes of free-writing. Repeat.
  6. Find a book of writing/creative exercises and do them.
  7. Listen to the conversations you have with your friends/family – give the subject to your characters to talk about.
  8. Take a walk and get some fresh air.
  9. Get someone to give you 5-10 unrelated, random words.  Write/paint something that includes them all.
  10. Remember that you don’t have to get it right the first time.  Give yourself permission to have fun and see what you come up with.
Are you in the minority like me?  Or are you one of those who struggle to choose which idea to use?  Let me know if you try any of my pointers and please share your own in the comments.

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