Change of Pace

This week I rode the train to visit my brother. My schedule lately has been pretty hectic, and I haven’t had much time to sit and relax. When the opportunity to take a break presented itself, I jumped on board. The first two hour train ride was extremely relaxing, and I saw lovely landscapes along the way. Switching trains was a little overwhelming; the train station where I swapped is a hub for several different lines. But with the help of a friendly random passerby, I found the train I was supposed to be on, and made my way safely to my brother’s house. We didn’t do anything particularly special, but it was wonderful to visit, and the change of scenery inspired some writing. Today I head home (as of writing this post I am still at his house), and I take my inspiration with me. It’s funny, but even the smallest change of pace can stir the imaginative writer in me. I wrote an entire chapter while everyone else here was sleeping yesterday morning. I am happy to report that Fayling is roughly half done, and I am aiming at a summer release.

So my point today (if I really have one) is to encourage you to take a trip, even if it is only for the day. You never know when some tiny little change is going to inspire you. Life is so full of possibility, isn’t it?

Anyway, have a great weekend, and happy writing!

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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!