Finding Inspiration Where There is None

We’ve all been there.

You’re staring at a document — you opened it with the intention of writing something, anything really — and now is the time you realize that you have no idea what to write about. Those fleeting thoughts you had before you went to sleep the night before should have been scribbled on the bedside table, but you were too lazy to commit them to paper. Your late-night muse long gone, you have to find some other form of inspiration.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, a short story, poetry, or a blog post. Writing is tough.

Let’s share some of my background, perhaps to give my words more weight. I have been blogging for ten years. The Couch Podtatoes Podcast is my brain-child. I’ve also been in more than one band (though only one where we played live shows), and lent my lyrical skills to the task. I don’t have lists of books I’ve written or anything else to share on that front, but suffice to say I’ve spent much of my adult life writing.

It may be different to compose blog posts on a regular basis as opposed to writing a literary masterpiece, but I do believe that the techniques I have learned and used translate quite nicely. Coming up with new show ideas for the podcast or lyrics for a song can be just as challenging, just as rewarding, and each requires a certain amount of polish, creativity and must be done within a certain time frame. All of these facets add up to the penultimate accomplishment, even if that goal is just for today, and you have to start anew tomorrow.

Now that I have matter-of-fact-ly lumped all creative endeavors into one category, let’s get down to some tips for finding your muse, when none seems to exist:

1. Inspiration is hard to pin down, because it usually strikes when you least expect it. In years past I might have written an idea down on a notepad; these days I just make sure to make myself regular notes on my smartphone when the ideas come.

2. If the ideas aren’t coming naturally, try researching the topic further on the Internet, or simply browse randomly. I have written hundreds of posts that were inspired by others’ writing.

3. Stay focused on the task until it is done if you can, but don’t be afraid to take a break or let your mind wander for a while. It’s likely you will come up with something when you don’t stress yourself out about it.

4. Listen to music, watch TV or movies, and view artwork. Others who have found their muse can brush off on you. I tend to write more fluidly when I have music playing in the background.

5. If, for whatever reason, the above doesn’t work for you, you might consider putting that project on hold. Sometimes your mind has new ideas it wants to get out first, and it’s okay to come back to an old project later. Some writers don’t release their best work until the middle of their careers. There’s nothing wrong with scrapping that which won’t work.

That’s about all I have for today. Happy Creating!

What NaNoWriMo is All About!

As I have mentioned before, I have had the pleasure of rubbing elbows with some very talented self-published authors. One such author, and a pal of mine, is J.N. Race, author of The Lost Remnant (find it on amazon.com). I Invited her to write a few guest posts for me. Enjoy her words of wisdom:

 

 

NaNoWriMo Coat of Arms

‘Tis a hard-won badge of honor

I want to start this post by saying thanks to my good buddy, Lady Ashmo for inviting me to do a guest post or two on her blog. What an honor! It’s officially National Novel Writing Month, also affectionately referred to as #NaNoWriMo by several hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic people across the country. What started out as a concept is pretty much now “a thing” in 2014 speak. In their own words:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

In a nutshell, it’s a place where procrastinating pigeons cocoon up until they emerge as published phoenixes. Ok not all of them publish. Many go on to become manuscript-toting ocelots. The point is, however, that it takes guts to write a novel and NaNoWriMo provides that much-needed boost!

I love the smell of writing a novel in the morning…

Having just launched The Lost Remnant in July, I will be taking a different approach to November. Rather than attempt to crank out the second story in the Pieces of Eden series, I have elected to draft out the entire outline for the novel which is a lengthy process in itself. I would hoist up a pic of my chicken scratch notes as evidence, but I’ll just leave it to your imagination instead.

The Lost Remnant on Amazon.com

Get your copy today!

That doesn’t stop me from getting in on all the fun. If you’re a Twitter-bird, then you’ll be in hashtag heaven as the #NanoWriMo’ers dominate the field. It’s a great way to connect with other people in the same boat as you and that makes for a much more fun journey.

What to do when it’s not National November Writing Month…

The main office of NaNoWriMo does more than just occupy space 11 months out of the year. Through its efforts, several in-person meetups and write-ins are held throughout the year. Many of them take place in libraries, coffee shops, and other headquarters of the willing who support the cause. Sign-up is free on the website. So if you’re social and you’re looking for yet another writing group, this could be your next big opportunity for friendship and beta-reading glory.

You can ALWAYS donate year round as NaNoWriMo is officially a 501(c)(3) organization. Yep, that’s right! All you self-pubbers like me who need a little tax break. You can help a good cause and help yourself in the process. In the meantime, it’s still November! You have plenty of time to get going on your masterpiece.

What are you working on?