I am currently struggling through a small period of writers block. I know that this will only be for a short period, (because it usually is) but it is always frustrating when it happens, especially when you have a good idea for an anthology (of short stories) and feel like the ideas should be flowing a lot easier than they are. Part of this difficulty arises from being a parent and having some of the distractions that I didn’t have before… So that leads to this post. Trying to list the ways to inspire myself to write.
So what are some of the ways to keep writing when inspiration is lacking:
1. Go to websites that list current anthologies that are looking for submissions and check out their themes for ideas. (Duotrope and Ralan are good websites that I have used to find anthologies that are looking for submissions)
Maybe they have a theme like the ‘future worlds’ or ‘Appalachian region history’. Try and think of what directions you might take that. You might research the area, if you are unfamiliar with it and see if inspiration arrives
2. Read through history.
Reading interesting stories from history are good as research for writing your own piece set in that time period, but can also be inspiration for retelling their story, or for writing a well-known story from another perspective or for seeing different ways in which the world has been viewed. The great thing is with history is that there are do many locations and dates that you can choose from eg. Medieval Germany, ancient China, Victorian Britain. You could even transport some ideas to an alternate timeline of your own fantasy world.
3. Read the books that you like yourself.
Then think about what you like to read and try to work out what in particular you like about those stories: Does the genre inspire you? (What features do they have? Maybe something stands out as of particular interest), Does the character appeal to you? (What about them? Rebellious/conformative, their dialogue, their relationships, appearance. Try and pick this feature to use in your own writing).
There are lots of other things that could be interesting to you about how they write. So maybe try writing in their style to see if that works for you.
4. The most important thing above all others: Write!
Even though you might be feeling writers block it is better to write something, even if you end up deleting most of it, than to write nothing. The more writing you do, the easier it gets and the more you write the more you notice what works and what doesn’t. Give yourself the freedom to get it wrong at first, because no one was ever perfect straight away. But the more you write the more your writing will get better.
PS Another idea could also be moving from project to project. Sometimes if you have more than one project it means that if you can’t think of what to write for one novel you know for the next novel or for the next short story, or play or poem. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday, which may explain why after writing this I am starting to feel a little more inspired than I did before (despite having a toddler climb over me and having to read nursery rhymes during the creation of this blog) 🙂