A Smidge of Inspiration

How goes the writing? Are you getting in a bit of time every day, per the December Writing Challenge? Are you finding that your brain starts to anticipate your demand for creativity?

Showing up at your desk every day can help send up the smoke signals for inspiration. You’re letting your mind know that you’re ready to write. But even the most diligent writer with the most dedicated habit can find themselves struggling from time to time. When that happens, you might find it helpful to set aside your project for a few minutes, or even for the day, and work through a couple of writing exercises or a fresh prompt just to get the juices flowing.

With that in mind, I offer up a quick suggestion to help you get back on track. Take a look at your current project and imagine what would happen if you pulled your characters out of their present circumstances and dropped them into a different genre. I’m not saying rewrite your entire book —  just play around for a bit. How would your protagonist react in the middle of a Regency romance? A steampunk adventure? A noir mystery? A space opera? Give it a try for a page or two, just as an experiment. You might find yourself learning something crucial about your characters’ personalities that will help you get them moving again back in their own worlds.

If you’re struggling to start a new project, rather than stuck with a work in progress, pick a genre you’ve never written and give that a try. Start with a setting that’s new and write description until you get a feel for the place. What sort of character might inhabit that location? What sort of trouble might they get up to there?

Writing for a career is work, of course, and you need to be professional in your approach. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun, or that you should forget to play. Let your imagination roam and see where it takes you. Happy writing!

One thought on “A Smidge of Inspiration

  1. I like your suggestions about placing characters in different settings and genres. It could be fun to take characters from two or more ongoing projects and lump them together just for fun. One can imagine Huck Finn and Sal Paradise hitting the road together (if these were your projects, I mean). I missed the start of your December challenge, but I do like to write “just a little” everyday. The trouble is – as you mention – time. Between work and family, I’m lucky if I can carve out 5 minutes a day for writing. But I try to make it a profitable 5 minutes! I’ve sort of given up on the idea of writing as a career (since I would have starved to death by now). But it can be fun if you let go of expectations. In “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman,” the author talks about how he was brain dead one year when it came to doing physics. It was when he let go and quit taking it so seriously that he had a major breakthrough that eventually led to him getting a Nobel prize. Not saying a writing career has to go THAT far to be personally satisfying however … Anyway, Happy Holidays!

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