Or, luring out the plotbunnies.
Okay, I can’t be the only one with this issue. Some days, ideas come thick and fast, and I can barely keep them straight long enough to write them down. Other days, I can stare at a screen and… nothing. And still nothing. With a long streak of… nothing.
There are days that I want so much to write… but all my ideas have fled, leaving behind bits of fluff blowing about in my brain.
Sometimes the muse whispers in your ear.
Sometimes you have to set out a trap.
How do you find inspiration when your mind is empty? Different people have different strategies, but here’s a few that sometimes help me.
Listen to music. Words or no words? Depends on you. Maybe some of those words can give you a starting point. Or maybe a soundtrack can stir an idea into you. On a related theme, you can try looking at art.
Read previous writing. Try reading through your old brainstorming or free writing sessions. Maybe an idea that tickled your fancy once can do it again. With reinforcements. Stuck in a story? Maybe something you wrote previously can open a few new avenues. What if that offhand remark in chapter four turned out to be more important than it seemed?
Take a Wiki Walk. Type in something that interests you in Wikipedia (or some other wiki) and look for links that might prove interesting. Follow anything that sparks your interest. If you don’t care, probably no one else will either.
Take a real walk. Take a break, think about something else. Move. Active body, active mind. Get outside if you can. I’m always amazed at how much being surrounded by trees can change my very mindset.
Read a good book. No, you are not going to steal their ideas. But you can be inspired by them. Or decide that you like the basic premise but what if they changed this and did that instead? Maybe wondering what would happen if Frankenstein hadn’t abandoned his creation could have you writing a story about a necromancer who accidentally brings her dead cat back to life, and determines to do right by the cat, even if she is horrified both by her powers and her new zombie-cat.
Play. This is a fun one. Pick an idea and just see what you can do with it. Start typing and see what you get. Ask yourself ‘what if?’. We have a bag of fortune cookies in the house. Some day, I’m going to take about half a dozen of them, and see where the fortunes take me. Let yourself explore.
There are many ways of finding inspiration. And I am giving free to each of you a magic bag of plotbunny bait. Sprinkle it around and see what happens. (Before you laugh, I used to be part of a fanfiction message board. When I said I was sprinkling plotbunny bait, nine times out of ten, the author updated the story within forty-eight hours. Use yours wisely.)
My newest book, ‘The Bishop’s Decoy’ is now out in Paperback and Kindle! Today is the last day to get ‘The Pawn’s Play‘ free on Kindle! It expires at midnight Pacific time. It is currently #56 on Amazon’s Kindle list for New Adult Sci-fi and Fantasy! Couldn’t do it without you. Thank you all.
How do you find inspiration?