You can never be quite sure what causes you to be inspired. Perhaps you look at a beautiful painting and come up with a new idea, but could you have had that idea if you’d never seen the painting? Being creative and feeling inspired don’t just naturally happen. They’re two things you need to practice, so here are six ways to do just that.
Photo Credit: J. Paxon Reyes
1) Don’t Censor Yourself
When you censor yourself, you may end up killing off some of your best ideas before they even have a chance to develop. Stop second-guessing yourself or throwing out an idea for any reason. Write down every single idea you have, even if you think it’s terrible or will never work. This practice will get you in the habit of considering every possibility and will help prevent your uncertainty from stifling your creativity.
Writers should read every day, every chance they get. Try to always be in the process of reading a new novel, and make time to read the news or blogs online. Visit the library, and read things you wouldn’t normally be interested in. The more frequently you read, and the more diverse your subjects are, the more fuel you’ll have for developing your own new ideas.
3) Visit New Places
A little vacation is sure to be inspiring. Since you probably can’t afford to hop on a plane every time you have writer’s block, you can practice visiting new places by thoroughly exploring your local area. Spend a day perusing and taking in the exhibits in a museum. Grab your morning coffee at a different little café across town. Always be on the lookout for new and interesting things to see and do.
4) Free Write
Free writing is an excellent practice that can help you come up with fresh ideas any time at all. When you free write, you sit down and just write anything that comes to mind. You can also try free association, where you start with one word and write down the first word you think of when you hear it, and then write the first word you think of connected to that second word, and so on. You may pull ideas, adjectives, verbs, and more great stuff out of your head that you didn’t even know was there.
5) Ask Questions
Oftentimes your writing is answering some sort of question, so ask questions as often as possible, and you just might find a great idea. When you encounter something new-like a concept you’ve never considered-try to think of as many questions about it as possible. Write them down, and see if anything sticks out to you. Then, try to find the answers to those questions whenever possible. New information can always lead to writing inspiration.
Writers are usually excellent observers. Practice actively observing the world around you; really sit back and take things in. Whether you’re on break at work, in a social situation, or at the doctor’s office, try to look at things from the perspective of an outsider. What are the people who are present feeling at the moment? What is the atmosphere like? What’s funny or intriguing about this situation?
Connor Cody is a writer and English major who has been writing as a creative outlet for several years. He loves to write and often covers anything from tips on starting a reading journal to using grammar checkers, like Grammarly.