Wow! We actually got snow, and just in time for New Years… who’d a thunk it? I know my kids really wanted to go tobogganning at Christmas, but a decided lack of snow prevented it… until now, that is. And, in a sense, isn’t snow much like inspiration? It’s never there when you want it.
Take Nanowrimo, for instance. There was many a night where I logged onto our local IRC instance to see how everyone in region was doing. Often the reply was: “I just can’t seem to get anything down. Nothing is flowing. I don’t know what to write.”, etc. etc. etc. Usually someone on the IRC would throw out an idea that everyone had to include in the next piece of writing and we’d have a Word War (a challenge to write as much as you can in a set period of time). At the end of the ten or fifteen minute Word War, even the most stuck writer often had writen another 2 – 300 words.
Inspiration? Hardly. Perspiration is more like it.
So what do you do when nothing is working? I like what Yves had to say about it. He posted that he has a number of random sentences that he refers to (I’m paraphrasing a bit here). I’m not suggesting that his method would work for everyone, but it does give me an idea. Essentially, take yourself out of your current writing project and focus on something else. It could be another story idea you have or just trying something you’ve never done before. That change of pace might be enough to get the creative juices flowing.
It might even be taking yourself completely away from your writing for a short while. Take a walk. Listen to some music. Don’t sit in a dark room and stew about it. Anything that gets you away to somewhere new might just trigger the next great chapter. I remember it happening to me.
I had been plugging away at my book. It was still very early in the story and I was having a lot of trouble moving the story forward. I went for a walk with my mp3 player one night to clear my head. I heard the song “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal and suddenly had what I considered a terrific idea for a story. It didn’t help with my current writing, but it was set in the same world and gave me a much needed kick in the pants to move my book forward. It also gave me a great plot element for the next book that I’m writing.
Aaron was complaining to me the other day about having too many ideas. “I haven’t even finished my first book and I’ve got all these other ideas in the back of my brain” was truly bothering him. I think he was worried about not being focused enough to finish what he has started. I’ve been there too when the ideas came fast and furious. Almost too much to allow me to write on my current project. That’s not a bad thing. Just write down what you have in your brain while it’s fresh and put it aside until later. You will probably find that you suddenly have an increased excitement about your current project.
Now, I’ve got snow to shovel and some sledding to do. Oh yeah, and New Years preparations. And… Gee, there’s got to be a story in there somewhere.
Have a Happy New Year! See you next year.