When I was little, I used to think that every purely original idea had to come straight from your own mind without any real outside influence. I used to think that the most talented writers and storytellers were that way because they had some kind of natural gift when creating their stories. It really put a wrench in my writing journey, but I was also like 10 years old so I won’t give my past self too hard of a time.
In my early teens, I thought your stories had to be influenced in an extremely specific way, like if you want to write a fantasy story, you’d better start surrounding yourself with all things fantasy or you’d be well out of luck when trying to write it. Again this…wasn’t ideal for my development as a writer, but at this point my only guidance was FAQ pages on young adult author’s websites who I liked.
It really wasn’t until my first year of college when I took a creative writing course that I realised your stories didn’t have to come from somewhere super organic, curated, or even remotely related to what you want to write about. I felt like I was set free, and it really lit a fire under me when it came to writing.
Now, you’re maybe thinking “uh, duh why did it take you 18 years to grasp something so simple??” and to that I will say I truly don’t know, sometimes the things we believe as kids stick with us in weird ways. But I wanted to talk about this because it was what finally clicked when I got to writing stories that I actually liked, that made sense, and that were good. And it’s a huge part of the process for me now!
I find inspirations for writing in almost everything. Mostly—and most successfully—music is where I find myself creating stories from. I usually write to music and make extensive playlists for each project for this reason. It can be the inspiration, and can help me get into the writing mood. Lyrics are usually where stories start to develop for me, but the feel of the song also has to be just right for me to really race to get pen to paper.
While music is my main muse (hehe) I find myself browsing r/WritingPrompts. I actually really don’t like writing off of prompts as a lot of the time I find them to be quite restrictive and they just do not fit in with my creative flow. I do, however, really enjoy building off of prompts. This is something I’ve done several times and have created some stories I’m really proud of. But my main use of prompts is to see what they can inspire naturally in me. Sometimes I’ve read prompts and gone in a completely different direction to what was stated because something about the sentence sparked a story. It makes scrolling through that subreddit pretty dangerous as I usually end up leaving with 3+ story ideas, usually for long-form books. I’d recommend it to any writer, though, it’s become a key tool in my inspiration belt.
Now, the best place for writing inspiration in my opinion is actually the shower. No joke, I’ve gotten my best ideas in there, and have actually had to purchase a waterproof notepad to make sure I don’t lose anything. I’ve also gotten myself out of many roadblocks in stories from taking a shower, too. There must be something magical about hot water, or maybe it’s in the steam…
Well, those are my top 3 ways to get inspiration for writing and I’d recommend anyone to try them out, especially if you haven’t quite found what works best for you to get your creative juices flowing. I’d love to hear what others are inspired by, so sound off in the comments below!