Inspiration (noun): An elusive and fickle mistress who comes in and out of your life with a fleeting indifference. NOTE FOR WRITERS: Inspiration may come to you at the worst possible times, perhaps when you’re driving or when you’re in the shower. On the other hand, when you need it the most (ex. when you’re sitting in front of your computer, ready to work on your novel) it’s nowhere to be found. Proceed with caution and expect little from her.
As writers, it can be extremely difficult to keep ourselves inspired in our writing every day. There are, however, tools you can utilize in your day to day life that can add to your level of inspiration and perhaps even improve your writing:
One way to help inspire your writing is to create a Pinterest board for your book. You can pin images that encompass certain settings that you’re working on writing, images of people or fan art that look like your characters, or even mood boards that capture the overall aesthetic of your book. These will not only help you be more descriptive with your scene-writing but combing through your Pinterest board or adding new pins is a great way to feel inspired and get new ideas for your story.
As we’ve discussed previously, the author/book-loving Instagram community lovingly titled ‘bookstagram’ is a great resource for book promotion as well as promoting yourself as an author. In addition, it can be an awesome source for writing inspiration. Rather than opening your Instagram in the morning and combing through photos of friends/relatives, following bookstagram accounts allows you to see cozy and gorgeous book photos first thing. These accounts will even post long captions describing either what they’re reading or writing with advice and questions you can participate in. There are also stunning book fan art accounts on Instagram as well, where you may either find a drawing that looks exactly like a character your writing or the art may inspire you to pick up a new book.
Aesthetic Household Items
In addition to items based on your favorite book series, there are also aesthetic items you can add to your home to inspire your writing. For example, the literary shop Leaf & Lore came out with a line of candles specifically for writers which include scents meant to inspire you to write certain settings/characters. Some scents include Haunted Library, The Magician, The Enchantress, The Lonely Tower, and many more. Lighting a candle and filling your room with the scent of a haunted library as your character walks among the ancient stacks of books will provide an extremely immersive experience for both you and, in turn, your readers.
Web-based Writing Challenges
Participating in collective writing challenges held through digital platforms is another excellent way of engaging with other writers and helping to inspire each other. The most prominent example of this taking place is through Nanowrimo, the writing challenge held for National Novel Writing Month in November which challenges writers to complete a novel in a month. The program allows you to engage with the community, talk about challenges and triumphs that you face along the way to completing your manuscript. The program itself will also send you daily inspiration to help you keep your progress going and keep you inspired.
Tracking Your Reading Progress
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: reading is crucial for your writing. When you’re a writer, it’s important to keep up with your reading- especially in the genre you’re working within. You can use tools such as Goodreads to keep you on track with your writing. Goal-oriented people will love Goodreads because it allows you to set a writing goal for the year and track your progress book by book. You can also rate and write a review on books you’ve read and engage with other readers in the community. If you sign up for their emails, Goodreads will send you additional suggestions on reads you may like based on books you’re currently reading. Who knows, they may help you find your new favorite book (besides your own, of course).
Create a Book Playlist
Similarly to creating Pinterest boards, curating a playlist for your book can be another way to help immerse you in a sensory experience that will get you excited for your writing. There are a few different ways you can do this as well. You could create one all-encompassing playlist for the entirety of your book and build it in order based on the feel of each scene. Or you can make specific playlists for specific scenes in the book as you’re writing them. Maybe your character is having an important or emotional conversation with a friend or there’s a really romantic scene between your character and their love interest or even a character’s death scene. Having a playlist of songs curated for these moments/scenes can set the mood for you when you’re going to write them or even make it easier to get back into the writing if you stopped part of the way through creating them.