Ways To Get Inspired
Obviously, there is no greater way to get inspired for your own work than by reading other books.
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, specifically The Subtle Knife, inspired story I ever wrote and finished, about a college-aged time traveler who ends up helping a special operations team from the far future save the world from there super corrupt government (additional inspiration to that plot courtesy of Disney Channel’s Jett Jackson: The Movie. RIP LTY).
Now, you may find yourself asking, how did the continuing adventures of a 12-year-old girl, her daemon, a giant freaking polar bar, and a boy who finds a magic knife inspire me to write about modern-era time travel and evil politics?
Answer: I have no freaking clue. That’s just how my brain works.
Though some of that might also come from being inspired by James Rollins’ Sigma series.
And don’t get me started on how much my entire writing life has been inspired by the early books in the Harry Potter series (also don’t get me started on my feelings about the later books in the Harry Potter series). I could go on for hours, and that’s not really the point of this blog post.
Anyway, click the Continue Reading for four unique ways to get inspired to write, which are all, of course, based upon my own experiences.
1 While Out Walking
While we writers may enjoy our inside time, there were many times in my life where I had no choice but to go outside (seriously, sun exposure and I do not mix). But if I do have to go outside, I very often am inspired to write, so it’s one of my favorite ways to help me with my writing.
Back in high school, we had two days each week of block scheduling. Odds on Wednesday, evens on Thursday. I don’t know if I learned more during those longer classes than the regular-length ones, but hey, I definitely know that I didn’t learn math thanks to the California elementary education programs in the 90s either #MathlandYouSuck #NumbersAreHard.
Looking back to 2006, one of my best friends and I were in PE, which is not exactly a classic you want to spend TWO HOURS in if you’re not athletically inclined (I’m a statistician people!), and she was telling me about how devastated she was about the ending of her then-favorite Korean drama show, Sweet SPY.
So while we walked circles around the track (thanks Coach N, for not forcing us to exert ourselves), I had her give me the details about the show, and then I gave her the plot to an imagined season two. And thus my affinity for fix-it stories was born.
In another more recent time, I took an afternoon walk because I was angry about something that had come up at work, and it was either do that or eat my weight in Ben & Jerry’s, and I’ve been working for a while to not do that when I get stressed.
While at the park near my apartment, I thought out a duology that centers around a normal girl who ends up dating a superhero after his team rescues her from an innocent at an airport that she got caught up in while on the way to her best friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas. The plot comes complete with an alien, a SWAT commander with giant wings, paparazzi plot twists, a truck full of severed feet, and a secret base on Catalina Island.
Yes, I will write that story. Eventually.
2 In The Shower
You know that bathtub scene in the Bryan Cranston* movie Trumbo?
Take a second (43, to be specific), and watch it HERE
While I personally would have taken a break to partake in birthday cake, the bathtub/shower really is a great place to get inspired.
That’s where I first thought of a scene in the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel where someone got shot. In fact, I dream up scenes where my characters get shot and/or otherwise maimed QUITE OFTEN, especially while in the shower. (As of writing this post, I am also working on another part of the upcoming serial that is not a fairytale but does contain fairies, because multitasking, and an escaped convict just shot my protagonist. Sorry Fallon.)
The shower is also where I thought of some of the resources for my upcoming blog posts about productive background noise, which I think mostly had to do with being surrounded by the sounds of falling water, which drowned out everything else I was thinking about so I could focus.
I’ve lost count of the number of scenes I’ve come up with while shaving my legs (and also lost count of the number of times I’ve cut myself shaving while coming up with said scenes. Razors are sharp, yo).
Honestly, that I haven’t invested in a waterproof notepad by now makes me question my sanity. But I also don’t forget things (which is both an extremely helpful and NOT REMOTELY helpful skill to have), so it all balances out. I remember what I need to remember eventually. Also, I wouldn’t want to waste water by writing out story notes between washing my hair.
*Shoutout to my new Zordon.
3 Watching Your Favorite Television Show
Once upon a time, the Fake Redhead watched Power Rangers in Space.
Okay, that time was about three weeks ago (I was in desperate need of something cheesy, and there is nothing cheesier than the episode A Date With Danger), but the FIRST time that happened was in 1998 when it was OMG!So!Embarrassing to admit I still watched the show I loved when I was five. Now, I don’t care about what people think of my TV-watching habits (in fact, I shout them from the rooftops of Twitter), but that’s a blog post for another day. Anyway, a few years ago, during one of my many re-watches, I was inspired to come up with the plot of what I called the Epic Space Reboot (yes, this is fanfiction, that is the fandom heap upon which I rest). It has since evolved into a crucial arc and spinoff in the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale universe, and at this point, doesn’t look like Power Rangers much at all.
It features lesbians in space, an overachiever with a prosthetic legs, a DRUNK AF Malcolm Reynolds analog that isn’t like Malcolm Reynolds at all, a lady who refuses to wear pants even though they’re on a battle-scarred war cruiser, a cameo of a terrifying ex-Mossad weapons specialist turned executive assistant to the CFO of a Fortune 500 company, a disgruntled man whose name is NOT Scooter, thank you very much, and my resolution of the Phantom Ranger backstory arc that was introduced in Power Rangers Turbo and DROPPED halfway through Power Rangers in Space due to budgetary issues.
Ask me about my feelings about it on Twitter if you care to see me rant (featuring about 100 crying emojis).
4 Watching Your Favorite Movie
Once upon a time in 2011, I saw a little movie about an arrogant dudebro who was exiled to a town in the middle-of-nowhere in New Mexico, where a scatterbrained astrophysicist and her intern hit him with their Pinzgauer, and his little brother has a universe-spanning temper tantrum because he found out he was adopted.
A year later, I saw The Avengers. Twice.
And was then inspired to write a story about a hacker who gets roped into working with a ragtag special ops team to try to stop an alien threat that has already infiltrated Earth. Featuring: an asshole who can carry on a professional working relationship with his ex-girlfriend no matter what he says, an assassin who may or may not remember if he works for the side of good, Battlestar Galactica’s Bill Adama, but if he were a giant turd, and a lady from the regency era who spent a few hundred years trapped in an inter-dimensional prison.
Basically, the moral of the story is that if you’re not finding inspiration in one place, look for it somewhere else. And don’t overthink it. Inspiration is everywhere, even if you spend 90-percent of your life indoors.