Let your inspiration come from anywhere
It's so easy to go into a piece with a plan. I usually only have a vague idea of where I'm going to end up when I sit down to write. This can be bewildering and frustrating when you get stuck.
Get up and walk around. Let your mind wander. Then, something might catch your attention, a sight, a sound, a smell, or a touch perhaps. Sometimes, a little lightbulb goes off in your head. You suddenly have thoughts that tickle your writing fancy.
When you set back down to write, you'll probably end up on a much different course than the one on which you started. And that's OK. It will probably be a better end product.
Inspiration really can come from anywhere. Even if it's an assignment, a spontaneous bit of inspiration can completely change your approach, and often for the better.
At least, that's my experience. Human beings constantly need some sort of inspiration to be happy. Writing isn't always happy, so a random piece of inspiration goes a long way to oil the grinding gears.
What if I...?
We writers are inventors of a sort. Our words are our materials and rules of grammar are our tools. When inventors get stuck, we ask ourselves, "What if I...?" What may follow that phrase may sound ridiculous. But it's also a way to get yourself thinking and keep the creative process from stalling.
If you find yourself uninspired, it's perfectly OK to totally switch gears and wander off into a few "what if I..." musings. Chances are, you could totally go off the rails. But that's OK. It's good to explore. Knowing what doesn't work is often just as valuable as knowing what does.
The best thing about writing is that it can always can be edited. Don't worry if it doesn't sound quite right. Even if you find yourself writing about something completely different, it's because your brain wanted to go there. I just let it.
Say you're writing a story. I'll say, "I might just kill a character off." Why? Because I could. My brain told me that character was no use anymore. But "what if I..." needed that character to come back later? In writing, there's always a way.
How does potentially having your writing train fly off the track keep the process positive? Because if you hold back, you're often going to get stuck, frustrated, and abandon it. And sometimes you will ask yourself, "what if I just let this go?" If it's not important, that thought alone should probably tell you the best thing to do.
But what if it is important? What if it's something that absolutely must be written?
This is when you do the last bit I have for you...
Write Words That Make You Smile...
...and smile while you write those words! Chances are, you'll make someone else smile, too. And trust me, we can always use smiles. There's all that scientific chemical stuff about endorphins and all that, too. But at the end of the day, we need our words to carry more than simply their literary meaning. Some heart and care should go into how we craft our writings.
Now if you're writing some dark, brooding mystery, creepy horror, or wacko psychological thriller, this may not seem to be good advice. But every story needs a dash of humor. An unexpected uplifting moment can go a long way.
And even when we write to inform, a pleasant word picture or a bit of harmless levity can go a long way to giving the reader something they don't expect. That's a good thing. Unless it's horribly out of place... but as you're in the process of writing, don't think about that. Again, that's what editing is for, to trim the fat and polish it all up.
Writing, let's face it, can get really boring sometimes. We have to have fun with it. That will reflect in our final product, too.
What tips and tricks do you have for keeping the writing process positive for you?
~ Phoenix <3