While blogging has been part of my life for the past 3 years, my first love was always writing fiction. As of mid 2018 I’ve been working on collection of flash fiction stories that I hope to publish in the next year or so and while the process is fun, it’s not always as easy as most people would expect. Sure, I write incredibly short stories, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need a fair amount of inspiration to form realistic characters or put forth a scene that is engaging and transportive to those who choose to read my book. Anyone else who writes fiction will get the struggle, so for today’s post I wanted to talk a little bit about how you can inspire your creative writing when you aren’t feeling particularly creative.
Carry A Notebook With You
I find that most of my ideas for stories come out of nowhere and will often be lost if I don’t take a moment to jot them down so that I can remember them when I’m finally sitting in front of my laptop. I’ve tried to make it a habit to carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and it’s made a world of difference to my creativity; it gives me the opportunity to scribble out a basic plot line or even a sentence that sounds pretty and slowly turn it into something more substantial. It’s also great for when you want to stop at a coffee shop but don’t want to spend your time on your phone. In my opinion, writing things out is much more effective than typing them when it comes to creating something authentic. As one of my favourite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, has said: typing isn’t writing, writing is writing.
Take A Walk Without Headphones On
One of my favourite things to do is take long walks around new and interesting neighbourhoods, but most of the time I’ll do it with my headphones on, listening to a true crime podcast. Recently, however, I’ve made it a point to walk around for an hour or so without anything to distract me other than my thoughts. This has really helped in my ability to be more self-reflective and to let my mind wander until it comes up with an interesting idea for a story. By distracting yourself you’ll miss out on all the every day, mundane happenings of life that inspire creativity and could become your best-selling novel.
Read More Often
I always forget how inspiring reading is until I don’t do it for a while and lose my ability and my interest in creating fiction of my own. I’ve recently started reading Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay—a collection of feminist short stories—and it’s lit the creative fire in my belly once again. While I don’t necessarily advocate forcing yourself to read a certain amount to reach a goal or to prove something (reading should be enjoyable and relaxing, not a chore, after all), I do think that as a writer you should be reading often enough to learn the craft and form your own unique style based on your favourite authors.
I am a huge advocate of journalling for your mental health, but I also think it is a helpful practice for those who want to do creative writing and don’t know where to start. Having a journal where you dump out all your thoughts and feelings will help you better form your ideas and write them out in a concise way so that you can look back at them in the future. This isn’t too far from the skills required for fiction writing—the more you practice writing out your own story, the easier it will be to write someone else’s.
Let Yourself Get Bored
I remember a time before smartphones and readily available internet access and that was when I was the most creatively fuelled in my writing. I would get bored often and the only remedies were reading or writing a short story, possibly some fanfiction or something unique that I had never seen done before. In today’s society, we aren’t allowed to get bored and, so, there isn’t really a need to entertain ourselves with something as simple as creative writing. Why would I sit in silence and write for hours when I can passively watch a movie or youtube videos? This has been a huge struggle for me the past few years and I’m still battling with it today. I want to let myself get bored enough, once again, to create an entirely new world that I can escape to.