I know there are many people out there working relentlessly on their novels this November. Writing so many words in a month can be hard, especially if you find yourself lacking inspiration or are stuck on a scene that refuses to keep you interested.
I’ve been there before, more times than I’d really like, but I’ve found some ways to spark my creative muse and generate some pretty awesome ideas for my story. My ways may not work for everyone, but I suggest trying one or two if you’re having a staring contest with the blank screen in front of you.
1. Listen to music
I can’t tell you enough how much music has influenced my story, whether it gave me an entire new subplot or just helped me come up with a name for a character. Listen to your favorite songs, or listen to songs you know your characters like. I’ve done both, and they can really help give you that extra creative boost!
2. Take a walk
A good walk outside does wonders for both stiff legs and a tired mind. Sometimes taking a break from the computer screen to let your mind wander helps you get your creative flow back upon returning. I know it does for me.
3. Write in a journal
This is something I do everyday. I use something called 750words.com, which is a private journaling website. It has little incentives to keep you writing, like cool badges and monthly challenges, and it keeps track of your streaks.
I always type my words on the site before I dive into my novel. I dump out everything non-writing related, so that I can focus on my story without other issues popping up in my mind and slowing me down.
Another way I use the site is to journal about my story. Sometimes, when I’m stuck on a certain scene, it’s necessary for me to talk my way out of it. Whether it’s plot holes, bickering characters, or a problem that needs to be solved before the next scene is written, I brainstorm and talk my way through. That’s when great ideas reveal themselves!
4. Read, read, read
Now, I abuse this one quite often, but rereading a book from a favorite author or reading something similar to the story you’re writing can give you so many ideas. (Just don’t get caught up reading for hours instead of writing!) Whether it’s the style, the witty dialogue, or just an interesting description, books can spur you on when you’re left sitting in front of the screen with a lack of words. Just don’t copy the ideas of others!
5. Writer’s block
Wait, what? Seriously?
This last one may sound really contradictory. It kind of is. I hate writer’s block like every writer, but it actually contains the best source of inspiration. When I’m truly stuck, and I’ve exhausted all my inspiring resources, writer’s block is great thing.
Why? Well, whenever this happens, I force myself to write, even if I have no idea what I’m doing. This may be hard to do, and, trust me, it is. But stopping and giving up is a sure way to lose both valuable writing time and lots of words. You can’t let writer’s block get the best of you!
Once I start writing through writer’s block, great ideas start coming slowly to mind. My characters surprise me, the plot takes an unexpected but exciting turn, the tension increases. So, in other words, true writer’s block is like a sign that reads, “The road ahead may be unpaved, bumpy, and full of dangerous potholes, but you’re almost there to the most exciting point in your journey. Don’t stop now!”
Okay, that was a poor analogy, but I think you get the idea.
So tell me, what do you do when you need inspiration for your novel?