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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RTW: Being Inspired Creatively

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival, where YA Highway’s contributors and readers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s take on the topic.

This week’s prompt was: When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?

I’m a firm believer that that’s possibility for inspiration all around us, and we don’t necessarily have to be looking for it to find it. But sometimes I’m in a creativity drought, so frustrated I want to scream, A PLAGUE ON ALL OF YOUR HOUSES! (Which doesn’t really make sense but has this dramatic effect I’m always looking for when my creativity has been zapped.)

In those situations, there are a few places I turn for creative inspiration:

Music. Any time I’m lost in my WIP, my first reaction is this: Find novel playlist. Insert earbuds. Close eyes. Daydream. The way I write is a lot like transcribing the movie I see in my mind, so when I’m zapped for creativity I shut my eyes and watch the movie play out to the soundtrack I’ve made. Sometimes I’ll play the same song over and over again to dream up different ways a scene or group of scenes can turn out. I love this method of brainstorming because it’s basically the easiest way you can come up with really good ideas. And I’m all about lazy approaches that yield big results.

Reading. Everything about reading inspires me—the stories, the writing, a throwaway pieces of dialogue. There’s so much potential for inspiration because books transport us to another world. And believe me, I’d have a boatload of ideas if I suddenly ended up in Wonderland or Oz or the Shire. But first, of course, I’d seriously consider my sanity.

Twitter, et al. A testament to my disturbed mind: I get a lot of inspiration from hearing about other author’s successes. It’s not so much that I’ll learn of someone’s giant book deal and think, “Eureka! I know just how to fix that plot hole!” (And not just because I’ve never in my life said Eureka! when I’ve discovered something.) No, it’s more that if I’m in a slump where I need something to motivate me creatively, hearing about other authors’ getting agents or book deals or the like inspires me to open the document and keep writing.

Conspiracy theory blogs. A while ago I watched an episode of Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory and took notes on about five new story ideas—one of which has been eating away at my mind for the past few months and competing with another shiny new idea. If you write sci-fi like I do (or dystopian), conspiracy theorists are a goldmine of great ideas.

And that’s where my brilliance comes from. How about you? What sparks your creativity?

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