“You can make anything by writing.”
– C.S. Lewis.
Hey guys! Since I know a lot of you are also writers, I decided that it’d be fun to post the occasional update on my writing, as well as share little bits of my writing process and habits.
At the moment, I’m in the querying stage of my YA fantasy novel, which is completely terrifying! I’m also plotting the sequel to that fantasy as well as starting the research for a brand new, super secret WIP that I’m very excited about.
These past few months have been EXTREMELY busy for me as I’ve moved countries (back to the UK after 5 years of living abroad in southern Spain) and am getting used to a whole new lifestyle and surroundings. So I’m kind of in a weird, in-between stage with my writing, and just getting back into the swing of things.
For me, the first stage in my book writing journey happens when something inspires me. I believe that first little seed of inspiration is responsible for growing your ideas, and eventually your whole book stems from it. So, today I’m going to write about where I find inspiration.
I’m a hugely visual person. An image can instantly capture my imagination and lead me to all sorts of interesting ideas. Instagram, We Heart It or just searching through google all work well to find that certain something. You know the something I mean. The single image that can ensnare, bewitch or puzzle you just enough to lodge a fresh idea into your mind.
My personal favourite is Pinterest. I have a Pinterest account where I create new, secret boards for each of my WIPs, so that every time I come across an image that inspires me, or just fits, I can save it to one place and look at it later. I have boards for world building, motivational quotes, characters, random research and more. In my fantasy YA, there were several different kingdoms that each received their own Pinterest board. It’s a HUGE help when you’re writing to quickly go and find all your images saved and already organised for you.
This may be a bit of an odd one, but I get inspired by new, cute stationary! I think it’s because I like to be organised, especially with something so monumental as a book, and stationary is usually my first port of call in getting organised.
For my new WIP, I have a brand new folder, dividers, plastic wallets, my collection of coloured pens, pencils and sharpies, stickers, notebooks and post it notes. And let’s not forget the washi tape.
Getting organised in such a tactile, visual way, really helps organise my ideas from the start, and I find it inspires me to start the initial plotting of ideas. Later on, I tend to move to the laptop, but I find the first stages of planning are where I tend to stall and get stuck the most, so having cute stationary incentivises me to get going.
Sometimes, I need dead silence to concentrate and write that oh so pivotal scene to. Other times, my writing is set to music and I’m quite capable of playing the same song on a loop for HOURS as it forms the backdrop to another, important scene.
If you enjoy writing to music, or need to write to music, then music can be a good first stop when you’re looking for inspiration. A certain piece of music may remind you of particular emotions, or encapsulate what you’d like your new MC to be, or be evocative of a setting you’d like to use or create for your book.
Some writers use Spotify to build up their own playlists that inspire their writing and you can listen to them as well as creating your own, for free. Sarah J Maas explains hers here.
Books are my #1 source of inspiration. I’m a voracious reader and so I have many favourite authors and books, too many to name! But even books that aren’t my favourites inspire me in some ways. Perhaps I’m inspired by the style of writing, by a certain quote, a character, the world building or the author’s brilliance at writing dialogue. It could be many different things. If I’m ever stuck with my own writing, doing lots of reading usually sorts it out. Or if you’re finding something particularly difficult, like wondering what a good first chapter looks like, go and read the first chapter of a handful of different books and make notes on what made them good or effective etc. You’ll be surprised how much doing that helps you work through your own issues.
I’m trying to keep a specific notebook where I jot down my favourite quotes and things I’ve been inspired by from different books so that I remember them all! Some bookstagrammers I know tab their books, which I’m in two minds about doing, but if you’re into that, then go for it!
And just make sure you have plenty of coffee/tea/writing snacks…
Of course, inspiration can hit at any moment and can come from a myriad of unexpected sources, but when I’m actively seeking inspiration, those are the areas I tend to turn to. Writing is a deeply personal journey, and I’m just sharing my own, personal, preferences here, so different things may work for you guys!
Thank you very much for reading and please share any tips you guys have in the comments!
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
– Stephen King.