Writer’s block might visit sometimes, but you can learn how to be inspired to write every day. Feeling ‘uninspired’ can mean many things: That you aren’t giving yourself enough breaks, that you’re being perfectionist and holding yourself to impossible standards, or it can mean that you genuinely are fresh out of ideas. Try these 10 tips to get inspired to write daily:
How to find writing inspiration daily:
- Find the kernels of stories in the everyday
- Write out of an emphatic ‘No!’
- Keep a folder of visual cues to spark your imagination
- Use lines from your favorite authors as points of departure
- Make your writing space more enticing
- Write a note to yourself when you are feeling most motivated that you can read over
- Write story prompts for each day in advance
- Journal often and draw on real life
- Use a random writing prompt generator to kick-start your writing daily
- Make the writing process into a game
To explore each point further:
1: Find the kernels of stories in the everyday
If you don’t have ideas for a story or for a story scene, it might simply be that you have to drawn on everyday sources of story ideas more. News articles and clippings, for example, can be goldmines of incident and plot.
Pick up a magazine (any magazine). Choose a headline on the cover.
For example, the travel magazine Getaway (for its May 2016 edition) has a headline reading ‘India: A tiger stood over me while I slept!’ This short blurb could be the inspiration for a book or short story about travelling, or a story about a person who works with endangered species. Simply looking at everything around you as something that holds a potential story furled inside it will inspire you to make connections between pieces of information quickly and tease stories out of even the most basic elements.
Make it part of your daily writing practice to take an interesting news headline or other piece of real-world information and spin a story around it. This is purely to get into storytelling mode, especially when you aren’t feeling at the height of your creative powers. A large part of becoming a productive and dedicated author is creating healthy, inspiring routines.
One way to make sure you are inspired to write daily is to write from a place of passion and the desire to make your views heard:
2: Write out of an emphatic “No!”
It’s easier to find things to say and to persist when you write from a place of passion. While you don’t necessarily have to write from a feeling of outrage or opposition, writing on a subject to provide a counter-voice can sustain your motivation.
Is there a particular issue, societal or political that frustrates you? The ‘no’ that drives you to write could also be a response to writing you dislike. It could be another writer’s bad descriptions, disappointing story ending or another element you can ‘put right’ by writing out of your own feeling of refusal.
3: Keep a folder of visual cues to spark your imagination
When words fail, visual cues can make it easier to get back into your story. Keep a folder (either a virtual folder on your computer or laptop) or a physical folder filled with images that will inspire parts of your story. If, for example, your story were set in ancient Greece, you could keep a folder of images of places of interest, ancient depictions of deities and the like.
Whenever you feel stuck, find an image and incorporate it into a scene. All you need to do is get back into writing mode. you might delete the start of whatever you’ve written, but there will likely be usable parts too.
4: Use lines from your favorite authors as points of departure
Another way to kickstart your daily writing process is to keep favorite novels near to your work space and dip into them for inspiration. This doesn’t mean plagiarizing other writers. Rather, read a line or two and use free association to carry on the image, idea or subject with your own characters and settings.
For example, if you were to open Dickens’ Great Expectations, you might read this line:
‘Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.’
You could continue writing your own scene on this theme – suffering and how it helps characters to understand and have compassion for others. Quotes can be powerful sources of story inspiration. No writing happens in a vacuum, so in addition to reading complete novels regularly, have a selection of quotes you can dip into for inspiration on a daily basis.
5: How to be inspired to write every day: make your writing space enticing
Finding inspiration to write daily isn’t only a matter of finding the ideas and words that will help you tell a great story. It’s also a matter of finding the will and motivation to just sit down and write.
To make sure you feel compelled to write every single day, make your writing space enticing and satisfying. Surround it with words, colours and images that make you want to engage in creative pursuits. Keeping your writing space special doesn’t have to be costly. Something as simple as a cut flower or two in a makeshift vase can make your writing space appealing. It should become somewhere you can happily sit for an hour or more at a time, just telling your story.
6: Write a note you can read whenever you feel like skipping a day
While there isn’t a single solution for how to be inspired to write daily, there are some approaches that really work. Starting to write a story is often a time of great motivation. When you start writing a book, take a moment to write yourself a note outlining why you want to write a novel in general and why you’re excited about this story idea in particular. Stash your note to yourself away.
Whenever you have a day when you feel that you want to skip your writing session, read over your note to yourself to remember exactly why you should persevere and not give in to doubt or distractions.
7: Write story prompts for each day in advance
If you already have an outline for your novel, you can make sure you write every day by turning your outline into daily writing prompts. If, for example, you write a story and the opening scene will show your main character interviewing for a new job post, your prompt might be:
‘Write a scene where a character is interviewing for a job. Show that the character is nervous and make the interviewer ask an inappropriate question’.
Plan small details in advance of writing the full scene because this makes it easier to picture each scene unfolding in your mind’s eye when you begin telling the full story.
8: Journal often and draw on real life
Keeping a journal is a great way to make sense of the events of your day and also to record interesting or amusing anecdotes you’ve heard. Writing in a journal is excellent exercise for your fiction writing, and will give you a book of your own thoughts, feelings, observations and impressions you can draw on whenever the need arises.
Cheryl Craigie, over at Write to Done, gives the following useful advice on keeping a journal for daily writing practice:
- Take your journal everywhere because you never know when or where great story ideas will occur
- Choose a journal that feels right to you: As Craigie explains, ‘just don’t buy something so precious that you’re afraid to use it’
- Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or other rules – give yourself freedom to use this as an unstructured space for daily writing that keeps you observant and creative
Even if you don’t use a journal to jot down story ideas or scenes specifically, exercising your powers of introspection and observation daily will make it easier to write good characters and interesting scenes on the days you do the actual bulk of your drafting.
9: Use a random writing prompt generator to kick-start your writing inspiration daily
Besides writing prompts you’ve created yourself, based on your novel’s central idea and outline, use writing prompts from around the web. This one-click writing prompt generator on Language is a Virus gives suggestions such as ‘What do you really want to do but are too scared to?’ and ‘Describe ways in which your character does or doesn’t show forgiveness.’
10: Make the writing process into a game
Learning how to be inspired to write every day is a matter of fine-tuning your writing process and finding what motivates and inspires you. One way to make sure you write every day (even if time is limited and you only write for ten minutes) is to make writing a game.
Instead of placing pressure on yourself to write an amazing scene or describe a fascinating character, make your writing sessions a game. Ask things such as ‘can I describe this character using only twenty words so that the reader wants to know more? Can i write 500 words in 10 minutes?’ Find ways to challenge yourself and make each writing session a process of seeing whether you can beat your own records or tasks. This helps to keep the process fun, focused and varied.
If you’re read to start and finish writing a book, find your story’s blueprint via the Now Novel process.