Inspiration 101: How to keep your author-self inspired and writing

From Guest Blogger Anna Ryan| Sometimes, when you perch yourself at your desk, open a blank word document and stare at it for an hour with no fantastic, new, great ideas popping up in your brain, your motivation and inspiration feel like they have taken a thrashing.

Or, if you're a pen and paper writer or planner, you can spend an hour or more staring at a blank piece of lined paper with a pen clasped angrily in your hand, racking your chaotic brain for ideas for a new story. Let’s be honest: as a writer, writer's block is one of the most frustratingly painful things to experience in the world. As the time ticks by, you start to feel deflated, defeated and not in any way productive.

So when you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, how on earth do you keep your morale high and the accelerator on your motivation? How do you stay inspired when the odds feel as though they are laughing at you rather than helping you?

In this glorious list of tips, I am going to bestow upon you some inspiration-inducing tips to keep that inspiration flowing. Enjoy!

Read Books

Although this is the most obvious tip on this handy list, it is also the most effective. When you have been sitting at your computer, frantically typing, for what feels like a very, very long time, it can sometimes feel as though the well is drying up. When this happens, the ideas and/or dialogue of your characters can become an effort to write, and it is at that point that you know that it is time to take a break.

You feel like all of what inspired you had has been unfairly snatched away from you. And believe me; every writer has experienced this before. So what should you do if you find yourself in this position? Well, I have one word for you: READ. That’s it. Simply continue reading the book on your “currently reading” list. If you are not reading a book, start reading a new one.

This works excellently because not only are you stepping into someone else’s world, which is a top distraction, but you are also opening your mind to new ways of writing; as well as new concepts and themes. Oh, and new and undiscovered words which are very interesting! Thus reinvigorating the idea-well with ideas and newly discovered inspiration.
Most importantly, you will be reminded with each new book you read, why you fell in love with the written word (and books) in the first place.

Watch author interviews on YouTube

Not only is this a great excuse to fall down a YouTube hole, but it is also very beneficial to the morale. If you feel like you are getting nowhere fast with your writing or that you’re sitting in neutral; or maybe you feel like you haven’t written enough words on a specific day – go on YouTube and search for an interview with one of your favorite authors. (It could even be an interview with a very famous author, not necessarily your favorite author).

The majority of successful authors will tell of their struggles they have faced on their road to literary success; they speak of the times they were rejected and how they learned from it. One interesting piece of knowledge to gain from these authors is how long (months or years?) did it take for them to hit success and for their books to take off.

In some interviews with famous authors, the authors tell the interviewer what a typical writing day looks like for them. Several of the authors say that a good day is when they write approximately one thousand words, whereas a bad day could be around five hundred words.

In watching these interviews, you will be reminded that success doesn’t happen overnight, and almost always it involves a huge amount of hard work. And remember to not be so hard on yourself. Sure, having word count targets is great, but be certain to remind yourself that any words you write in a given moment are words that you hadn’t written earlier. More words equate to progress and progress is great!

Realise that your dreams are not impossible

Your dreams are not impossible! There are heaps of successful authors out there which shows that it is possible.

Go and have a look at your bookcase, or wherever you keep your huge collection of books. There is a good reason as to why I am asking you – no – telling you to do this. It is because you are looking at solid proof that becoming a successful author is possible. If it was impossible, there would be no books and no authors. Zilch. Zero.

So if someone ever tells you that it’s impossible to become a successful author, simply reel off some names of very successful authors, and ask that person if they still believe your dreams to be impossible to achieve.

Stay inspired and stay motivated because what you do matters.


About the Author

My love of writing started when I was at primary school when we were allowed to write stories. I can remember that I was really proud of one that I had written because I wrote: “and then a sudden gust of wind picked up its speed!” At the time I thought it was the best line I had ever written. Fast-forward a few years and I have found my comfort zone writing in the horror, mystery and crime genres.

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