40 Tips for Writing Inspiration (Plus Writing Prompts and Tools)
You have this amazing idea for a book. But when you get to typing, the inspiration leaves you after only a few pages.
Or, you have this itch to write but your mind completely blanks when you’re brainstorming ideas.
Do either of these sound like you? Then get ready for the read you need because you’re in the right place!
We’re going to discuss all the ways you can find consistent inspiration that gets you writing. We also have some unique writing prompts for you to get those mind cogs turning. And we have some writing tools that will make finding writing inspiration much easier for you as an author.
How Writing Inspiration Works
As with every other career, writing has its downsides. Once it clicks, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work hard to get the desired outcome. You must put effort into finding your writing inspiration.
Sometimes you may get it while riding a train to London like JK Rowling did with the idea for Harry Potter. Other times the train ride is just…well, a train ride.
Inspiration is fickle. You can’t always control it. You have to fuel it.
So, the question beckons… how do you get inspired to write?
How to Get Writing Inspiration
Here are our favorite paths to finding your inner writing muse.
- Make it Personal
- Get It Done
- The Mind
- The Body
- The Workspace
- Change The Scenery
- Other Creative methods
- Figuring Out The Stories
- A Forever Student
- Out of the Box
Make it personal
- Positive feedback
Ever gotten insanely positive feedback from an editor or tooth-achingly-sweet messages from fans? Read through those in times when you’re needing a confidence boost. You’ll have a more positive outlook on your writing afterwards.
- Be Mean
We all have an inner critic that’s downright rude and negative. It’s time to use that inner critic for some reverse psychology. Use this to motivate yourself and prove that inner critic wrong.
Caution: This may have the opposite effect on some, so tread carefully!
- Metaphorically make noise
You want people in the industry to be in awe of you. You have to make noise with your work.
Be rowdy and aim to blow them away. Use this mindset to light the fire under your writing inspiration.
- Get Mad
If you want to write powerful stuff, be it fiction or nonfiction, you might need to find the energy that drives this force. Try getting mad about the topic you’re writing to really hash it out in your story.
Words that cut deep will pour out of you, making readers shocked at how impressive your book is.
Get it Done
- Make habits not goals
Once your goal is complete, you could easily lose the inspiration. Rather make a habit of your writing by sticking to a routine.
Keep to a schedule and be consistent. The weight of completing your goal of one thousand words a day can be less motivating than, ‘Just write.’
While forcing yourself to sit and write, you may find writing inspiration. But you’ll never know if you don’t stick to it
- Join a group
You can even ask a friend to join you on your journey of consistent writing. Having someone else hold you accountable to your promises helps you build good writing habits.
You can join a Facebook Group, local writers group, etc.
Seeing the progress, you’ve made on a calendar can also help you maintain your writing habits. You won’t break your 1-month streak, will you?
- No editing while writing
This is no time to be proper and put together. Let your writing out to play and run wild. Some of the greatest ideas come from a mess. So, mess it up
- Quantity is #1
Do you know the saying, ‘Quality over quantity’?
Well, throw it out the window. Just write, even if the work stinks. Even if the neighbors call to complain about the stench.
Writing is an activity that needs to be practiced. You’ll write truly awful things. But you have to get all the bad out to find the gold nugget idea that turns into a bestselling novel.
- Go Radio silent
Don’t do anything on your phone or laptop that could distract you. Switch notifications off and type away.
Nothing brings you out of your creative space more than beeping and buzzing…and funny animal videos. Unless you’re writing a book about funny animals.
Mastering the mind helps inspiration flow in more easily but it also makes for a more enjoyable writing career.
- Embrace the process
Whether you have a fear of not being good enough or love procrastinating, we all have habits that feel as if they’re holding us back or slowing the process down.
But what if those negative things are part of the process? Embrace them, let them have their space and make sure to move on and give it your all in your writing.
- Don’t give the negativity power
Never let negative feelings stop you from working on your book. You can overcome anxiety, rejection and fear because those are temporary feelings.
- Don’t compete with others
Nothing kills creativity more than making yourself feel bad for not being like another author.
Comparing yourself to other authors is not healthy or realistic. Compare what you’re doing to what you’ve already done and use the benchmark to improve.
- Get moving
Exercising is a great way to get the blood flowing. You’ll feel fresh and energized for your writing sessions.
- Get tranquil
Meditate to clear your mind and feel less negativity towards the writing.
- Go for a walk
Besides helping your body by not sitting the whole day, you’ll be giving your mind a break.
Take a break and don’t focus on your ideas; get some sun and fresh air.
You may feel like burning the midnight oil but getting a goodnight’s rest does wonders for your body and gets you in a better condition to get inspired.
Not to mention, you could have a dream that sparks an idea, like Stephenie Meyer had for the Twilight series.
- Clean up
Make sure your workspace is clean and uncluttered. You want zero distractions, and a clean desk means a clear mind
Listen to music while writing. This can help you focus and even get you in the zone of the atmosphere you’re creating.
Listening to soundtracks without words can also help those that may get distracted. For example, I listened to the Doom 2016 soundtrack while writing this blog!
Change the scenery
Visit another country…or the closest Starbucks. Changing the environment in which you write can lead to new ideas.
Traveling to another country can spark writing inspiration for your book. Nothing like experiencing the beauty of another place to stir the mind.
- Try people watching
Not in a creepy way! Observing people and their conversations can lead to some interesting character descriptions that really make your heroes stand out.
- Pack up
Maybe it’s time to move altogether. Finding another place to call home closer to what breeds writing inspiration can be a game changer.
Other creative methods
- Read as much as you write
Stephen King put it best:
Top Tip: Read books from both in and out of your genre. Writing inspiration can come from anywhere!
- Watch TV shows and movies
It’s not a distraction or a waste! In fact, it helps with seeing what drives stories and different ways that dialogues can go. Or seeing character arcs play out and why it worked.
But maybe channel surfing can lead to an idea. Suzanne Collins came up with Hunger Games while channel surfing.
Start researching, even if you don’t actually need to for your story. See what comes up when searching for the topics you discuss in your book and see what Google has to offer.
You could find something on the news that, with some adaptation, would make a great side plot.
- Get passionate about something else
Paint, draw, sing, and dance!
Find any other creative outlet that lets you express yourself. Writing inspiration will follow because you’re giving your author brain a break.
Don’t even think about plotting or outlining. Just write; without structure and without editing. Freewriting will let ideas come more easily.
- YouTube can be a friend not an enemy
Go down the YouTube rabbit hole on purpose. Who knows what intriguing concepts can come from seeing different YouTube channels argue whether the Megalodon Shark is extinct or not.
It’s probably extinct…right?
- Social media
Time to procrastinate with the goal of getting inspired! For example, hop on Pinterest and search for topics similar to the book you’re writing and see what pops up!
Listen to podcasts and Ted Talks. Writing inspiration can come from listening to others be creative and passionate about what they’re interested in.
- Play games
Playing word games is a great way to practice vocabulary.
You can even play video games with captivating stories to get writing inspiration in a fun way! You can even jot down how they used story devices to portray the idea through a game.
Figuring out The stories
Nothing is truly original in this world. One thing inspires another, which inspires another, and so on. Here are some tips you can use to get your writing inspiration back and write a good, unique story while using other’s arts as your muse:
- Mix and Match
Don’t feel shy to use your favorite works to inspire you and drive your next book. Pick out a few of your classics: go to books, movies, shows, etc. and start mixing and matching the plots and themes and character types.
- The sillier the better
No matter how insane your story might sound, don’t give up on it.
Life of Pi is about a child with a nickname of a mathematical number that gets stuck out at sea with a tiger. You may have to try hard for your story to be told like Yann Martel.
Rejections from Publishers didn’t stop Yann, so doubt and fear shouldn’t stop you.
- Make sure you care
Perfect characters with no flaws and no conflicts don’t lead to captivating stories. You need to care about your characters and let them lead you through your plot.
They may make questionable decisions from time to time, but that’s what makes for an entertaining story.
A forever student
- Pen and Paper
Take this wherever you go. Jot down ideas while on a walk.
While reading, write down what you liked about a certain scene and why it was successful.
- Carry a Camera
Take pictures when traveling of what could inspire your book’s environment.
You can even take pictures at the Starbucks of what inspired you in the moment to keep the momentum going.
- Never stop learning
In any profession, you must always be open to learning new things. This applies to authorship too!
If you’re in a rut, take a course or read books about writing.
We’ll get to those books about writing later in this blog so keep reading.
Out of the box
- Ask yourself questions
The old improvisation trick that comedians use to find comedic gold. The ‘what if?’ questions.
It can work for authors too! You need to ask as many ‘what-ifs’ until you hit the jackpot.
What if I could fly?
What if I came home and my door was left ajar?
What if people could shape shift in the 1700s?
What if I could fly….and I ate bugs every time I opened my mouth while doing it?
Adapt other improvisation techniques used for acting into your writing. Before you scroll away, hear me out.
Never say no to an idea when you’re trying to find writing inspiration. Rather change the direction you were going in to generate unique circumstances.
For example, every time you write something and you’re not sure where it will lead, say ‘change’ and flip the script to anything besides the path you were moving on.
‘She walked the same path everyday but today she took a left and stumbled into her old friend that she hadn’t seen in 10 years.’
‘She stumbled into a vampire sucking blood from her old friend.’
‘She stumbled into a portal that took her to that same alley 10 years ago where she first met her old friend.’
‘She came across a swamp and her old friend was being chased by a crocodile.’
Maybe your final story doesn’t take any of these directions. But it’ll get the brain working to make the silly idea work and you may come back to your original idea with fresh eyes. Or you may find yourself mixing in your kooky ideas into your story.
- Best Tip of all
Have fun! Write with childlike wonder and playfulness. Being an author is a dream come true, so enjoy it!
You know you need to stick to your routine and write every day. But you need a break from thinking up original stories or writing the story you’ve come up with. You need something to spark that fire in you again.
We’ve got you covered. We got some unique writing prompts for you to dig your heels into and bring back that writing inspiration.
But first, let’s make sure you understand the benefits and how you should get the most out of the writing prompts.
Writing Prompt Benefits
When trying to find that writing inspiration, you can turn to writing prompts. Here’s some benefits you can get from using writing prompts:
- Quick inspiration: It’s a fast way to start writing, the idea is already formed. You just need to write.
- Practice writing: Writing is a skill that needs to be maintained and having writing prompts makes it easier to stick to daily writing routines.
- New perspective: It can help you open your mind up to new ideas and give your book a break so you can come back with a fresh mind.
Writing Prompt Tips
Here are some tips for using writing prompts effectively:
- Your genre: Use writing prompts in your preferred genre to help motivate you in your work
- Out of your comfort genre: Pick writing prompts outside your preferred genre to tap into new inspiration that could lead to interesting plots.
- Just do it: Don’t think too much about where you want the story to lead; let your writing flow
- Know when to move on: Maybe a certain writing prompt isn’t working for you, move on and try another one!
- Answer the door: You may have turned to writing prompts, but if writing inspiration knocks at your door, then you better answer and leave the prompt behind.
- Toss it and accept it: You won’t be churning out magic every time you write. It’s just to keep practicing the craft.
Creative Writing Prompts In Each Genre
As promised, here are those unique writing prompts for each genre:
Horror/Thriller Writing Prompts
- Your character comes home to find that their living room looks like a murder scene. Bloody handprints everywhere. But they live alone.
- During a family reunion, the whole family decides to play a game of hide and seek. Your character is the first to seek. They follow a trail of blood to find their sibling hurt and scared.
Sci-Fi Writing Prompts
- Your character is woken up by sirens. They look up to see the moon is getting closer to the earth. They need to try and escape earth before the moon plummets.
- Humans co-exist with dinosaurs in this world, but there’s a disease going around that corrupts them, making them kill everything in their path.
Mystery Writing Prompts
- Your character blacked out one night and after that night, hasn’t been able to sleep for a few days. They realize they haven’t seen or heard from their roommate since that night.
- Your character hears screaming and loud machinery coming from their neighbor’s house. The neighbor puts a large bin packet in their car and leaves.
General Fiction Writing Prompts
- Your character was in a horrible car crash that killed a loved one. They remember seeing the other driver wearing a specific clothing item. One day they see someone wearing the same item and decide to follow this person.
- Your character teleports to a different spot in time every time they sneeze.
Romance Writing Prompts
It’s time to get your inner romantic out for some Romance writing prompts:
- 2 friends get married to stop the other from getting deported. One has feelings for the other.
- Your character finds a note from their old crush in their middle school bag. They’re in high school now.
- Your character has a suggestive dream about someone they’ve never met before. The next day they see this person walk into their office space. They’re a client and he seems to recognize them.
- Your character must find their soulmate by December 31st, or the year resets and they live in a 1-year loop until they find The One.
- Your character has started going on blind dates. They meet someone in the process that they can see a future with, but an old flame comes back into their life.
Fantasy Writing Prompts
With these you get to break rules and the laws of physics and biology. That’s right, it’s Fantasy writing prompts:
- Vampires survive off something other than blood. And only a certain material can kill them. That material is becoming increasingly scarce.
- Demons exist and come out when it’s dark. Only those that have powers can defeat them. But to gain powers you need to be bitten by a mythical creature that either kills you or gives you powers.
- In the middle of a supernatural war, a witch puts the spirit of their dying family member into their sword. The sword becomes an entity that can move on its own.
- Your character leads a normal life until one day they mistakenly touch the flame on the stove. Instead of burning, your character can control the flame.
Writing Tools and Recommendations That Make Being an Author Easier
Besides the struggle to find writing inspiration, there’s also the stress of being an author that could be weighing on your mind.
To help organize your authorship, we’ve compiled some writing tools and recommendations to take the weight off your shoulders and make it easier to get your writing inspiration back.
- Author Website
- Email List
- Blog Writing
- Books on Writing
- Author Marketing
While trying to get inspired, you may be worrying about how people will find your work. The truth is, having a centralized place to showcase all your work makes it easier for you to sell books consistently.
Fans and potential fans will easily find you and buy your books. This is why an author website is so important for your authorship. A place that’s open 24/7 and that is dedicated to you!
If you need an author website and you’re lost on how to get started, we can help!
Once you have an author website, it’s time to build that email list. This is all about getting non-fans interested enough to buy a book and fans to buy even more books. This is how they will stay up to date with you as an author.
Check out our blog on Email Marketing to really get started on this vital journey.
Top Tip: Subscribe to other authors’ blogs to learn more about different perspectives and help fuel your own writing inspiration.
Writing a blog for your website is a great break from actively seeking writing inspiration. Plus, it engages your fans and solidifies your author platform.
Books on Writing
You have to read books to nourish your writing inspiration. But have you tried reading books about writing books?
Turns out there are authors who can provide you with a swift kick up the bottom through their books on tips for finding inspiration and staying motivated.
Here are a few you can start with:
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Ned Stuckey-French
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To-Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
- Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
You need to work on maintaining and boosting your author brand to reach new audiences. This also serves as a productive break from writing. These are some areas you can start with:
An online presence is a must as an author. Your author website is a great start, but what if people want to have more day-to-day contact with you?
You can’t post a blog every day. But you can post frequently on Facebook or Twitter.
If you’re looking to ace the Social Media game, then our blog on Facebook Page for Authors is a step in the right direction.
From Book Teasers and Book Trailers to Book Launches and Book Signings. We have all the guides you’ll need to successfully market your books.
The anticipation of marketing your completed book should drive you to create the best book you can. Let the end goal inspire you!
It’s hard to get inspiration for writing when your back is aching, and your wrists are sore. You need to invest in good quality equipment that makes your life easier as an author.
You need a writing desk that is large enough to house all your writing equipment and also the right height for you.
A sit-stand desk that is adjustable is great for when you want to stand and write.
The right back and neck support can do wonders for your posture while writing. Make sure your writing chair fits under your desk and does not cause strain in other areas.
For example, armrests may push up your shoulders causing neck and shoulder strain
Buy a mouse that fits in your hand comfortably.
Some authors love the click-clack of the typewriter, but mechanical keyboards are the next best thing, and they feel amazing to type with.
But if you want something quieter and more streamlined, there are great membrane keyboards that do the job well. Just be sure that the keyboard suits the size of your hands and fits into your workspace (accounting for your sitting posture to ease strain on your wrists).
Lastly, make sure your workspace is well lit to stop eye strain. A spot near the window will help with lighting.
Writing Inspiration vs Writing Discipline
Being an author is less about waiting by the phone for writing inspiration to call and more about practicing daily and trusting the process. Go forth and write because inspiration will eventually strike.
This Nancy Kress quote sums it up well:
If writing inspiration takes its time, it won’t slow you down. You’ve been all the while preparing for its return and you’re ready to write up a storm.
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