Writing inspiration is not consistent; we’re all writers here, we know there are days (weeks, months, maybe years) when we just aren’t feeling it. Maybe we fall out of love with our work in progress for a time; maybe writing fears are creeping in and holding us back. No matter the cause, we know when our inspiration well has run dry, and we don’t like it.
Of course, inspiration is not the cornerstone of writing: writing is the cornerstone of writing. We’ve all heard the advice by now that teaching yourself writing discipline is just as important as keeping yourself inspired.
And that’s true! I don’t dispute it in any way. But while discipline is crucial for keeping momentum going, inspiration is important for ensuring you actually enjoy what you create.
Writing is like a relationship: you have to put effort in to keep the spark alive. If you don’t feed your love for writing, your inspiration well dries up, and it becomes difficult to continue creating.
Notice how I used the metaphorical “inspiration well” twice so far. In the literature world, we call that emphasizing the importance of a subject: because inspiration is important!
But how do we make sure our well runneth over? How can we keep our drive and love for writing going long enough to finish a project?
Writers, that’s what we’re talking about today.
HOW I KEEP MYSELF CONSISTENTLY INSPIRED TO WRITE
I’m aware of the strain the current COVID-19 pandemic has had on our lives. I hope this article inspires you to find rest and focus on God in activities like writing.
CREATING AESTHETIC BOARDS
This is my #1 tip for writers dry on inspiration; it has been for years. Create aesthetic boards for your projects on Pinterest!
It takes a little practice, but once you get it down, this is a shockingly useful tool. The boards help me find my story’s tone and feel with the use of imagery: colors, photography styles, and objects in photos all contribute to the tone of your aesthetic board.
Check out the board above for an example. Notice how the colors and tones of the images I have saved all contribute to a particular aesthetic: that aesthetic, in turn, matches the tone of the story.
Which, by the way, is going to be available to read for free spring 2020! Don’t miss it!
Saving pins to your aesthetic board helps immerse you in the story before you write. And knowing the tone of the story through the visuals? That’s so helpful.
BUILDING STORY PLAYLISTS
Like aesthetic boards, creating a playlist for your story is about learning the tone of your story.
The lyrics in the songs you choose don’t matter (though they can help with story ideas!): what’s important is the music. The instruments, the tempo, the artist’s tone of voice; they all contribute to, you guessed it, the tone of the playlist.
This has a lot of benefits. For one, listening to your playlist while writing helps keep your tone consistent. (How many times can I write tone in one blog post? I sure need a thesaurus.)
For another: we’ve all had new ideas inspired by a single song, or even one lyric. Imagine how much inspiration you’ll be drinking up once you have an entire playlist of songs like that.
Sharing about your writing on social media is tricky work. Post about it too much and nobody cares; post too little, and nobody knows your work exists.
There’s a rule in marketing: 20% of your content should be directed toward your product. To make that simpler, that’s 2 out of every 10 Instagram stories that are related to your work.
I write short stories and release them for free here on my blog; my readers like that! But they don’t magically know those stories exist: I have to post about and promote them way before the release.
Because people tend to like free goodies, my readers express excitement and encouragement when I start posting about a new story coming out soon. Now, my love language is words of affirmation: hearing (or reading, rather) other people genuinely eager to read my work gives me the drive I need to finish.
Of course, I have to put a disclaimer here that you should not base your sense of worth on how people engage with your online content. If you aren’t careful, a single negative review will tear you apart.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly:
FILLING MY STORY WITH THINGS I LOVE
What’s the point of writing a story if you don’t love it?
The project I’m working on at the time of this post’s publication is called Brushstrokes. I intentionally filled it with art, romance, history, and Victorian settings; if you zoom in, you’ll also find witty banter, intelligent discussion, emotional conflict, symbolism in nature, and unique relationship dynamics.
I love all of those things!
Centering my stories around what I love keeps me engaged till the end of time. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. FILL YOUR WORK WITH WHAT YOU LOVE.
Remember: you’re your story’s first reader. What you think of your story matters.
What are your thoughts on this? How do you keep yourself inspired?
Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below! I love feedback, and sometimes I add your ideas or corrections to the post.
As always, happy writing!
Brushstrokes is a short story that draws you into the world of art in 1890s Paris. Free to download spring 2020.