Category Archives: Inspiration

I Don’t Know What to Write!

“I don’t feel like writing anymore.”
“I’m not motivated.”
“I don’t know what to write!”

I’ve heard from so many writers lately that they’re in a slump. There’s not much to do. They’re stuck at home most of the time. You would think it’s the perfect time to write, but the lack of stimulation results in fewer ideas.

Here’s an idea! Use conversations with others as your motivator. Whether in person, a video call, a phone conversation or even messaging, this short list of people and conversation starters can add to your idea bank:

The Storytellers
We all know people who love talking about their own experiences. Encourage them. Be a good listener. Something they share just might spark an idea.

“What was your greatest adventure?”
“Have you met anyone famous?”
“Do you have a favorite memory about . . . (your childhood, your wedding, your first days on the job)?”
“Do you remember much about your grandparents?”

The “Professors”
These people study interesting topics and pay attention to the smallest details. Professors are great at supplying little-known facts, and one of them may just give you an idea for the theme of your next short story or novel.

“You know so much about ___________. What’s the most interesting thing you have learned?”
“What got you so interested in _______________?”
“Which sources provide the best informations about ___________?”
“What else do you hope to find out about_________?”

The movie buffs
Plots, genres, interesting characters—movie buffs can provide a wealth of information.

“What is your most favorite film? Why is it your favorite?”
“Which film genre do you prefer? Why do you like that genre more than others?”
“Who is the most interesting character you’ve seen in a movie? Why do you think so?”
“Movies are set in so many different places. Which film had the most interesting setting?”

You could ask similar questions to voracious readers.

The “Historians”
Talk with this group and you’re sure to unearth little known facts about the history of the world. Ask,”What period in history do you most enjoy studying?” Then encourage historians to talk with you about topics from that era:

Philosophy, Politics, Economics
Daily Life
Traditions and Customs
Science and Health
Arts, Entertainment, Sports
Religion

Another lead-in to talking with historians is to ask about the historic accuracy, or inaccuracy, of period films they have seen.

The news junkies
If you’re looking for an interesting angle or plot twists, the news junkie might be your go-to person. News junkies follow the winding paths of current events. Talk with them not only about stories in world and national news, but also about local news. Some of the best story ideas come from local newspapers.

“What’s the most intriguing human interest story you’ve recently read?”
“Are you following any unsolved mysteries in the news?”
“Have there been any funny, strange or odd stories lately?”
“Who’s been in the news?”

Children!
If you are looking for a fresh perspective on any topic, kids are the best resource. Ask a question, and then just sit back and listen. Most kids will tell you exactly what they think, unfiltered. No list of conversation starters is needed for this group. You’ve been there. You know how it works!

When talking with family and friends, weave some of these questions into your conversations. You just might find the motivation you need to start writing. If nothing else, it will make for interesting conversation.

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If you are on Facebook, Check out my page
where I post articles and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Just Take It Bird by Bird

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How do you view the world right now? For some, the world seems smaller as we weather this pandemic together. Others feel overwhelmed by a world filled with pain, suffering and conflicting information. Maybe everything that’s going on in the world right now is affecting your ability to write. If so, you are not alone.

When you quarantined at home, you celebrated having plenty of time to write. You set goals: I’m going to start writing my novel. I’m finally going to finish my novel. I’ll write a thousand words a day. Two thousand. Three. Four. Five! Chances are those lofty goals fell by the wayside leaving you in a slump.

American novelist, Ann Lamott, keeps a tiny, one-inch picture frame on her desk as a reminder to give herself short writing assignments. Viewing the world through a frame the size of a postage stamp helps her to zero in and focus on one thing at a time.

In her book Bird by Bird, Lamott shares this autobiographical story:

usps_1_0“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table, close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

Maybe today you are sitting at your kitchen table staring at your computer screen or an empty sheet of paper. Maybe you feel immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.

Stop. Breathe.

Peer through that one-inch frame. It can only hold the image of one bird. So sit down and write “bird by bird”. Just take it bird by bird by bird . . .

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If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

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Is Getting Published a Matter of Luck?

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Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here, and along with it comes wishes for luck. Maybe you’ll buy a  lottery ticket hoping to win the big prize. Maybe you’ll find a rogue and lucky four-leaf clover tucked among the shamrock plants at the garden center. Or maybe you’ll send your query letters out on March 17th wishing for luck to get your book published.

But what is luck really?
The Oxford English dictionary says luck is:

Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

Are you relying on luck to get published? If so, you’re playing an endless game of wishing and hoping. Luck is something outside your control. It’s the toss of a coin at the beginning of a football game.

Let me suggest something better. FAITH.
Oxford defines faith as:

Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

That sounds better than luck, doesn’t it? And better yet—Faith is something within your control. You can control how much faith you have in your writing skills, and you can control your confidence in your ability to learn. How? By thinking positively and by trusting God to lead you.

sb5ciWell-known authors have relied on the power of faith. E.B. White, winner of many awards including the National Medal for Literature, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, said, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”

In the introduction to the tenth anniversary edition of her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes: “Artists are visionaries. We routinely practice a form of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance—often visible to us, but invisible to those around us. Difficult as it is to remember, it is our work that creates the market, not the market that creates our work. Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it.”
This applies not only to artists, but also to writers and anyone else engaging in something creative.

Every word. Every sentence. Every paragraph
is an act of faith.

imagesSo, on this Saint Patrick’s Day I don’t wish you luck! Instead, I pray that you embrace the power of faith.

You have it in your heart to write. Add to that, faith in your God-given ability and confidence in yourself. Keep moving toward your goals. Stop wishing and hoping. Just believe.

YOU CAN DO IT!

_____________________

If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

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Filed under Aspiring Writers, Encouragement, Inspiration, motivation, St. Patrick's Day, Uncategorized