You’ve probably heard it all: Just write for you! Your readers will find you. Read more! Write more! Develop a schedule. Just do it!
In a way, they’re all right.
When I was writing, I found I derived most of my inspiration from reading. It didn’t have to be in the same genre that I wrote either. Just what I enjoyed. Believe it or not, even if you write strictly romance, you can gain invaluable knowledge and ideas from mystery and fantasy, etc. My go-to books tend to be urban romance with a twist of fantasy and suspense and…well, the list goes on. A couple of my favorite authors are L.A. Banks and J.R. Ward. Their writing is tops for me. The wording, the creativity, the flavor of it all opens my mind and gets me excited to write! And isn’t that what you’re looking for? I bet if you think about it, you’ll find there is an author who does the same for you. To be quite honest, if you’re a writer who says, “I don’t have time to read books!” then you’re not really doing your due diligence when it comes to honing your craft. Like any job (and that’s what this is, whether you want it to be or not), you should always be learning and expanding your knowledge.
Write! Yes, as we established before in a previous post, you have to write if you want to write. Many people will claim to be writers, but then they start and restart and restart and… well, you get the picture. You may even know someone who does this. They talk about writing and all of their ideas and they may even have a book started… But they’ve been working on that book for five years. Five years! They say it’s their life’s work, or that they just don’t have a lot of time between life’s obligations. Honestly, life is busy. Hectic, even. Time gets away from us all. But let me give you some truth. Writers write! They have worlds living inside of them that can’t and won’t be ignored. They simply have to write. So whether you’re nervous or unsure of where to start or whatever the reason, at the end of the day, you will never be a writer if you don’t sit down and actually do it. You can’t improve on nothing, right?
This is where the schedule comes in. It’s simple really. Find a method that works for you. Are you a morning person? Great! Get up an hour earlier and write. Night person? Stay up an hour later and write! Feel like you can’t do either? Write on your lunch break. Write after dinner or while dinner is in the oven. Heck, go crazy and do both! When I was writing, my schedule changed regularly. And I’m not talking about my daytime schedule. My internal clock of creativity is what changed. Sometimes, I could only get the creative juices flowing at the wee hours of the morning. And then it would switch off, and I would find that now evenings worked better. Then I would find that I had sparks of inspiration throughout the day, so I would leave my computer on and jump on to write a paragraph or a chapter at random times between cleaning and cooking and running errands. You just have to find what works for you.
Listen to music! Have you ever heard that it’s beneficial for babies to listen to classical music? Well, guess what? It’s good for us too! I read somewhere once that classical music lights up the creative part of the brain, so I tapped into that. I started listening to a few favorites, like Bach and Beethoven and a few others, those super-recognizable songs that pretty much everyone has heard at one time or another. And it worked. I tuned out the screaming and playing kids and wrote all the words. And then I branched out and listened to other music while I wrote, and guess what happened? It flavored my scenes, and it inspired even more scenes. It was a wonderful tool to make it all come together.
Write for you. First and foremost, yes, you must write what you want to write. What interests you. What you envision for your world and characters. Otherwise, what’s the point? You’re inviting readers into your world, the one you love, and introducing them to your brain children. If it doesn’t hold your interest, why the heck would it hold theirs? This is absolutely part of improving your writing, because it all comes back to being inspired. If you’re not into it, your readers will feel it and it just won’t resonate the way you envision.
Don’t worry! If you keep exercising your brain, that creative side of it, feeding it with books and movies and finding out what method works the best to get all of those ideas flowing like the mighty Mississippi, you’re going to have a near-constant supply of ideas ready to be released into the world. If you get really good at it, I bet you’ll even start to see the method authors and producers use in the books you read and the movies you watch, because yes, there is a method to the madness. But that’s an animal to discuss another day.
If you found this article helpful, or you have something you’d like to add, leave me a message in the comments!