You know what the great thing about being a writer is? You know you like to write. You have stories and ideas you’re excited about working on. You know this is who you and what you do. That’s a lovely relief.
But what about when you hit a wall? It may not necessarily be writer’s block. It might not even be that you stop writing. But there’s a niggling sense of doubt that wasn’t there before, and everything suddenly seems a bit…same-y. A little bit familiar. Because you’ve written this storyline before, haven’t you? And these characters, they’re beginning to become a little trope-like, aren’t they?
So how do we stay fresh in the face of routine as writers? Working hard and writing continuously is amazing, but we can often fall prey to our own limited life experience. We write what we know, for the most part. Whether that’s literal places or experiences, or ideas that float our boat. We ARE our stories. And if we don’t grow, they don’t grow.
So here’s some quick ideas for shaking it up:
Go outside and be mindful!– go and look at things, listen, really look at the world around you, as if you were writing it into a book, or painting it on a canvas. We so often dismiss the things around us because we see them all the time, and yet we never really SEE them.
Order something different- creatures of habit don’t take risks. Try new food! It’s the easiest way to have a new experience. Maybe your next character loves pad thai.
Go do that thing you wanted to- Go do the things that have been on your list but are always bumped down by bigger priorities. Go to a specific place, try something new, see old friends, laugh at new jokes. See art and experience people. I find this one especially useful as almost all my books are set in London, and whilst I’m a Londoner, there’s still so much of it I haven’t seen.
Travel- there is no excuse for not expanding your mind by moving your location. Hell, sit in a different seat and experience a different perspective of your room. You don’t have to go to India to change how you see things.
Watch documentaries- I never really WANT to watch a documentary, because I’d rather be hanging out in fictional worlds, but when I do, it opens up new worlds in the one we’re living in. Which is exciting and inspirational!
Talk with people, really TALK- Have real conversations with people, about things you don’t know about, about things you haven’t considered, about things you’re on the fence about. The weather is a waste of speech. Make it count. Learn something new.
Find a new passion- My latest passions include trying to substitute healthy things into unhealthy things (avocado brownies, protein pancakes, applesauce bran muffins) and dancing around to Kisstory in my yoga pants. No-one said they had to be brilliant, they just had to make you happy.
Collaborate- a lot like the talking thing. People are interesting, and passionate, and skilful. Find someone who’s interested in things you’re interested in, and create a project.
Experiment- There is no failure in experimenting, there’s just trying for the heck of it. So have fun, try new things, and see where they take you.
What are your recommendations for getting inspired in 2015?