PB15 on timber trestle bridge by Leonard John Matthews

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning you’ll be familiar with my post: Stop Waiting for You Muse–She’s Not Coming…. If not, you might want to take a look at it, since this is sort of a follow-up

Anyways, as I have stated before: Writers write. Whether you feel like it or not. Whether you’re inspired or not. You need to make time to sit down and write. The more often you make your brain think creatively, the easier it will become. The human mind gets used to routines. I try to set aside definite, fixed times to write. Granted at this point I’ve got just two or three hours to work with on a predictable basis, but the important part is this: At least twice a week I spend an hour and a half working on my book. No, it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

Still, sometimes it can take a while to get the creative juices flowing. And then there are the days or times that I just don’t feel like it. Here are a few things I use to get myself in the mood. Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration.

  • Magazines: My two-year subscription to Writer’s Digest was probably the best use of $36 I have ever spent. Now I’m not saying that it has to be WD. There are many good publications for writers. There are even a few that are free online. This is useful to me because there’s so much to work with. I find I always walk away with something, be it a new lesson about writing or an inspirational thought from one of the interviews. It also takes me a while to read an issue, because while reading I constantly find that I’m wanting to put it down and start working on my own stuff.
  • Other Writer’s Blogs: If you are lucky enough to have a friend who writes and blogs about it, I’m sure you are already subscribed to their RSS feed (if not, you probably should be). If not, look around the internet, Google a few of your favorite authors. Almost all of the big names now at least have a website. Most have a blog and a Twitter feed.  Not only do you get to learn new stuff for free (I’m all about the learning…especially if it’s free. Yes, I was homeschooled) but you also get a lovely little reminder on a (hopefully) regular basis. Seeing posts from my friend Dot’s blog excites me not just because she happens to write good stuff, but it also feels like she’s dropping in to say “So, how’s the book going?”. Or guilts me into picking up my pen and notebook on the days that I’ve been bad.
  • Good Books: Writer’s write, but writers also read. Why have I been reading books like the Hunger Games trilogy, the Uglies series and Incarceron? Besides the fact that they are awesome, of course. I read them because something about them has struck me as similar to the book that I want to write. If you’re writing Science Ficiton novels, chances are you read a LOT of SciFi. If you want to write for YA, then you should read YA. It keeps you in touch with what the readers are expecting and with the trends in the market.
  • Instructional Books: Another favorite of mine. My librarian can testify to the stacks of books on writing that I have lugged out of my library.  If you’re a writer, you are constantly learning, constantly seeking more knowledge. Don’t forget to take some time to hone your craft.
  • Take a class: Kind of self-explanatory. But it’s always good to have a safe place where you can play with ideas.
  • Start or join a writer’s group: Again, the safe place and the feedback are the key factors here. Also, it’s nice to have support and someone who won’t mind if you indulge in gushing over your book every now and then.
  • Music: I find that with me, the music I write to depends on my mood that day. I actually make a playlist or chose a CD for specific projects. Do I need something that’s going to keep me high energy? Then it’s POTC. Am I having to figure out how to move the relationship of my two protagonists along? Then $10 says that I’m playing Taylor Swift.
  • Indulge your quirks: So much of writing is finding what works for you. I like to write long hand, because there’s just something about a college-ruled notebook, just something about the physical act of writing that is exciting to me. Now, I love my computer and I’ll often use if for smaller projects, but my big ones get written down first. Also, I got through phases when it comes to my writing apparatus of choice. Right now, it’s the Sharpie Pen (because they are awesome). But I’ll have weeks that all I want to use is a pencil. Or a ballpoint pen. It kind of runs in phases (although the Sharpie has kind of started taking over). Indulge them (as long as they’rehealthy…and legal), use them instead of them using you.
  • Find your spot: I can write anywhere. As long as there is light and somewhere for me to sit, I can write. Too noisy? That’s what my iPod is for. But I have found that the place I get the most work done (and yes, I admit this is weird) is Chick-Fil-A. Even in the middle of lunch rush or a Spirit Night. There is something about that place that just makes focusing on writing easier. My friends think it’s because I work there and therefore, my mind is more focused as a default when I’m there. Which is a possibility. I think it’s because I’m removed from my normal distractions…my messy room isn’t screaming at me, my dog isn’t begging for attention, my brother isn’t coming in an sitting on me just for the fun of it. At CFA I am free (sort of).

So what about you? Do you have any suggestions that you use to inspire yourself to write, even when you don’t feel like it? Do you have any funny quirks that you feel make it easier to write? Go ahead, speak up. I’d love to hear from you. =D