The most commonly asked question to authors and bloggers is ‘Where do you find your inspiration?’
I have always answered something along the lines of ‘I don’t know, everywhere,‘ or ‘the world around me.’ But I know my readers. You expect more than that lame cop-out answer, don’t you? You certainly deserve more than that.
With April’s Camp Nanowrimo sneaking around the corner, a lot of us writers are scrambling for that perfect idea, or just an idea in general.* And not to mention, planning for all those days you need to schedule posts while you’re writing…
Don’t freak out! Sure, it’s a lot we’re about to dive into this month, but you can come up with awesome ideas before April 1st, both for your blog posts and your novel. Don’t believe me?
You can, and you will.
*you know, because i have no clue what i’m doing 99% of the time
I’ve really, really had to think about my answer to the big question. Where does my writing inspiration come from? It’s not like I sit in front of my computer with a blank document and receive a dozen ideas from the plot bunny angels.
No, coming up with original, engaging ideas takes time, effort, creativity, and an open mind. And, even harder, you have to learn to come up with something that you’ll love and want to stick with for the whole draft.
I know it’s hard, guys. I collect ideas like one of those bug-attracting lights draws in moths
even though that’s a creepy analogy tbh, but I have a hard time sticking with them. YOU’RE NOT ALONE! WE’RE LEARNING TOGETHER!(I’m going to start with blogging, if that’s alright. Then we’ll move along to novel-writing.)
The biggest blogging inspiration available to you is….. your life! That might sound a little vague,* but hear me out.
Sometimes, I’ll be doing (or reading or writing) something I don’t like, and I think “Oh, I wish somebody would write a post about…”
BAM. The lightbulb goes off. And that’s how it works 50% of the time.
Maybe that doesn’t work for you, and that’s okay. I believe that everyone has their own special way of doing everything and that doesn’t make them any more or less intelligent. So if you can’t come up with ideas like somebody else, it’s okay. Don’t stress it.
The second biggest inspiration is from other bloggers’ posts. Let me say this right upfront: no, that doesn’t mean copying their posts or doing anything sneaky. Inspiration is much, much different than theft.
That also doesn’t mean I’m going to use the exact same idea as the person who posted originally. For example… I’m not the first person to post about Blogging Expectations vs Reality, and I’m certainly not the last. I make sure to make my content as unique as possible, with things that make me… well, me. That means the way I think, the way I write, the way I format, and of course my Ninjago gifs.
The third way I find inspiration is by thinking about what I love. It’s really that simple.
I love writing. Well, why do I love writing?
- It gives me a creative outlet
- I can create my own worlds, characters, and stories
- It’s a form of art and I want to make it as beautiful as possible
- and a lot more hehe
Off that one simple question, I could write maybe five posts. I’m 50% sure I’m an idea machine. Come to me with all your blogger’s block.**
As a blogger, you have freedom to talk about whatever you want whenever you want. Forget your niche and your readers for a minute. Just let your imagination go and write what you want to write about. There are no limits.
Bonus-but-not-really-answer! If you’re at your wit’s end and can’t possibly gather any more ideas of what to post, I suggest looking up post ideas on the internet or even Pinterest. Most of the time they’re not exactly creative, or they’re overdone, but some of the suggestions may spark the idea for a completely different post!
*when am i ever not vague though??? pft srsly
**jk my ideas are MINE
Ok, so how about novel writing?
Well, usually, you’re either in one of two categories.
- You’re always wondering about what to write.
- You’re wondering HOW TO GET AWAY FROM ALL THE PLOT BUNNIES
If you’re in the first category, I’m about to help you with that. If you’re in the second…
I know how you feel. I’m sorry.*
There are a few questions you should spend a bit of time reflecting on while thinking about ideas for your next big project.
- what size book do you want to write?
- are you thinking of writing a series?
- what genres are you good at writing already?
- what books do you enjoy reading?
Speaking of books… one of the best things you can do to come up with an idea for a book is to read other books. Have you ever noticed that the books and blogs you read influence the way you write? When your favorite genre is fantasy, you’re so much more likely to write fantasy. And if most of the blogs you read are on lifestyle, you might be writing up a lifestyle post or two.
So, immerse yourself in books that discuss topics or fall into categories you enjoy writing about. Read books that make you happy, that make you truly feel something.
“okay, abby. i thought about questions. i read a book and cried in my room for a little while. but i STILL don’t have ideas. WHY DONT I HAVE IDEAS??!!”
If all else fails, resort to the bonus-but-not-really. Unlike blogging ideas, some of the prompts you can find on the internet or Pinterest are extremely creative. Like, I know people who have books on them and they are just brilliant. Sometimes I just scroll through them and watch my emotions fly all over the place, they’re just that good.
*at least we can all look at the cute bunny gif and feel a little better? no? okay. JK JUST READ THIS POST BY MY NAME TWIN ABBIEE
to wrap it all up…
What it all boils down to is that everyone is different. What works for me (what I’ve written in this post) might not work for you. It’s always worth a try, but sometimes that’s just not how YOU work.
So go for a scenic drive. Take a nature walk. Hop in the shower (hey, that’s where a large majority of my dialogue ideas come from). Spend some time just being. Your mind works in mysterious ways, storing things you see and experience and, over time, turning them into a treasure trove of ideas.
That’s pretty much it for today, friends, after you join the conversation below. What’re your favorite or most efficient ways to get ideas, bogging or novel-wise?