I often see new and upcoming authors (and even more experienced ones) ask those of us who tend to be prolific the question of how we can feel inspired to write.
It’s a really big question, actually, and there are many different facets which go into the answer.
The first and foremost answer I can give is this: sometimes we’re not.
In fact, I think it’s fair to say that a lot of authors go through “dry spells” and moments where we just feel there is no juice in us to sit and write.
Life can get in the way, whether we like it or not, and that’s okay. Personally, I feel if I pressure myself to get words down, those words may come, but they may not be the best words I can do, and that does a disservice to both my readers and myself.
Sometimes, if we have just come off a large project, such as a novel or series of short stories, a break is needed to help the mind rest and recover before moving on to another.
For me, this is usually a couple of weeks before I feel I am set to hit the pages again.
That doesn’t mean I stop working entirely, though. There is always marketing, schmoozing, editing and so on needing attention, and those particular things never seem to end.
That being said, there are some ways I have learned work for me, and I thought I would share them with you here in the hopes it will help you get through any dry spells you may be encountering.
I’ve been writing since I was very young (starting at about age 8), and one thing I have learned over the course of those years is to train my brain into certain habits which ease me into the “writing mode” and away from the other “procrastinator mode.”
One of those is music.
Music is My Answer
Below, you will find a playlist I have created on my YouTube channel that contains about 300 hours’ worth of music I write to.
It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will give a good start, I think, to anyone seeking to use this method.
I highly recommend using music to help you get into the mood to write, but there is one thing I would warn about.
Don’t use music that has more than scant lyrics.
The main reason I suggest this is because if I listen to music with lyrics, I invariably find what I am writing is being influenced by the story being told in the songs I am hearing. I want my own story coming out, influenced by me, and not by whatever thing I happen to be listening to at that moment in time.
I tend to gravitate toward rock instrumentals, postmodern/shoegaze rock, epic scores and that type of thing.
Here’s my playlist.
Basically, my brain has become trained to know when I hear that kind of music, I am in writing mode, and after only a few minutes’ worth of time, I am already tapping at the keys with one idea or another going.
Another music type of thing I use is a website called myNoise.
The site was designed to help create atmospheric and ambient tones and sounds as a relaxation aid, external noise cancellation aid, that type of thing.
They have a huge set of sounds available to listen to, and, if you are a patron to them (costs about $5.00 to get it going and is a lifetime thing), you also get access to special “channels” they have created.
These “channels” are amazing. What they do is select 5 different soundscapes from their collection tagged with different types of themes, and animate the sounds in random ways to create special “music” fitting a different genre.
One of the channels I have fallen in love with is one called “Space Odyssey” and has a large soundscape of space and science fiction type of sounds, all randomized in gentle ways and playing softly in the background.
So, for instance, as I write this article, I am hearing musical tones, interspersed with gentle beeps and hums of a spaceship bridge, while the soft crackle of a “numbers station” wanes and wefts around.
It’s really amazing to listen to, and I know in just a couple of minutes the soundscape will change in tone and timbre to something new.
Every time you load the page, something new happens with it, and it’s always interesting to listen to as it changes.
For those not interested in a channel like that, they also have a nature sound channel, with blowing winds passing through the leaves of a forest, while a brook babbles softly somewhere nearby. Maybe as the sounds of footsteps across the leaves on the ground happen, you will hear a distant rainfall start up.
And that, too, will change every few minutes as the atmosphere warps at random, yet all coherently.
It’s a really cool site, and one I can’t recommend highly enough.
Something else you can do is have your writing space established as a permanent thing.
What I mean by this is, wherever you write, make it that way all the time.
Again, this is a way to help train your brain to know whenever you enter that specific space in your home or office, you are going to be in the writing mood, and it will actively engage most of the time.
While I do not have a specific space I go to when I write, I do use a special machine to write on, and that alone helps me get into the frame of mind I need.
My Freewrite is for writing only and has no distractions built into it in any way. I know when that device is sitting in front of me, it’s time to write, and my brain shifts right to it.
Using these techniques can help you get into “writing mode” any time you need, even when you do not feel particularly inspired at that moment in time.
I hope this helps. Later, I will do another article specifically about different ways you can find inspiration.