Writer’s block and inspiration are probably two of the most popular topics when writing is involved. Still, I always find it interesting to find out how others tackle blocks and get inspired, and hopefully so do you because it’s exactly what this post is about! (For some background music, scroll down to find the YouTube links)
I’ve had my share of writer’s block; during it words just don’t come out, and I end up staring at a blank Word (/WordPad/OpenOffice/Scrivener/???) page for hours. Usually I give up after some hours and go do something else, but I continue with the unproductive hours the next day.
The interesting part for me is that while I only produce blank pages, my mind can be filled with ideas. Several ideas for several stories, different characters and different genres, and I write… nothing. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I should have started making movies instead as I tend to picture what I write anyway, but in the end it’s just not for me. Words are more fun — when they cooperate, that is.
So, what creates blocks for me? All kinds of things, but mostly just lack of time. Deadlines and other pressing matters drag me away from writing quite frequently. Long periods of time without writing make it harder to start, and so I usually end up with a lot of the blank pages mentioned above, until I slowly get into the flow again. Any words will do at that point (even a word), I just need to type something.
Too many ideas can actually be harmful, at least in my case. When I have too many ideas, they compete with each other and distract me. Eventually I just have to force myself to pick one and write the other ideas on paper so I can stop thinking about them.
How do I find inspiration, then? My main source is music. Soundtracks and instrumental pieces are good when I just want to get lost in writing and keep some inspirational noise on the background. Two Steps From Hell and Immediate Music are probably familiar to anyone who listens to that kind of music, but I’ll share my favourite songs by them anyway:
Immediate Music – Serenata Immortale
Two Steps From Hell – Dragon Rider
Other kind of music works as well, depending on what I’m looking for. Sometimes I associate songs with situations which can be helpful later. For example once when I was writing a story, I listened to Oasis for about 90 % of the time. Now whenever I hear a song by them, my mind goes back to the story and starts creating more ideas for it, the characters rushing right back into my head like it was yesterday.
Nature also works for me, somewhat surprisingly. I don’t spend that much time outdoors but whenever I do (or whenever I get to watch scenery pass by while taking a long-distance train), I try to keep an eye out for inspiring stuff. This time of year is especially great for me as I love autumn colours. All the different hues of red, yellow and orange combined with rising or setting sun is absolutely amazing.
Every season has its own unique scenery that inspire me in different ways. I think it’s easier to write about the season that actually is around me, but obviously that’s not always possible so I have to rely on pictures. Fortunately those work too, at least when paired with a few appropriate songs.
To briefly sum up this first chapter: blocks are terrible and require force and/or writing flow to overcome, but fortunately music is great and saves all! I might dig deeper into the inspiration parts later, perhaps with a picture or two if I manage to get any.
Questions? Go for it! Also, feel free to share your own thoughts. What creates writer’s blocks for you and how do you find inspiration?