Sometimes we feel like inspiration and motivation is out of our grasp. We sit at the screen and stare endlessly at the little blinking line or the single word we managed to type down for a blanket of nothing cloaked our minds. Then hours pass, and we still have a blank page, if we’ve lasted that long.
These are some things I do to get myself in a writing mindset.
Watch some television: Usually, if I feel like my inspiration is draining, I’ll pop in a movie or a television series that inspires the sort of area I’m writing. In my steampunk works, this usually means I’ll put on something like Murdoch Mysteries, Penny Dreadful, or one of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies. Seeing the environment in which I’m writing in a moving, breathing form brings me into the influences I took from that world and lets me get back to thinking about where I left off in my own.
Listen to Music: This is a popular one, but it does help. Listening to music from the country you’re writing in, from a genre that fits your setting, or songs that make you think of certain characters get you thinking about those places and people.
Read: As writers, we’re inspired by other writers. I find that when I’m stuck, rereading some of my favourite authors really helps. I turn to Gail Carriger or the authors of Girl Genius when I’m looking ta Steampunk, and Scott Lynch, Terry Pratchett, Saladin Ahmed, or Neil Gaiman when I’m in need of fantasy inspiration. Authors inspire us for different reasons, and rereading the stories that we love can drive us further in creating our own.
Research: Yes! Believe it or not, this sometimes tedious inevitability of writing can drive an author forward. I found myself having to write a funeral scene several months ago, with little idea on what funerals were like in the Victorian era compared to today. The things I learned on the subject were fascinating and really drove me to write that scene.
Discussing Ideas: Go out for coffee with one of your writing peers and talk writing. If there’s a bit you’re stuck on, discuss it with them. You don’t have to take their advice, but maybe something they say will spark something to get you back on track.
These are just a few things that get me in the right mindset for writing, or sometimes help me get out of an inspirational dead zone. Obviously, some of these are meant to be done before writing, to give you time to think and warm up your creative thinking.
What are some things you do to get into a writing mindset?