If writers waited for inspiration to strike, we would never get anything done!
The romantic notion of a writer as being a creative artist who only works when his muse is singing sweet songs in his ear is all well and good.
However, we’ve got bills to pay! A lot of the secret to success as a writer is simply being able to grind out the word count even when it feels like torture.
That might not be romantic, but it sure is true.
However, sometimes when we’re low on inspiration, we need a little helping hand to get the creativity flowing.
Read on to discover three of my top tips for finding inspiration for writing when it’s in very short supply.
Checking Ideas Outside Your Niche
I’m a firm advocate of building relationships, connections, and networks within your fiction genre or nonfiction niche. That will never change and I’m a firm believer that it’s a smart and fruitful use of your time.
However, we run the risk of excluding people and ideas that fall outside the boundaries of our respective genres and niches. We run the risk of becoming like horses with blinkers on who are only able to see a small portion of the total inspiration available to them.
So how do we overcome this issue?
I’m a big advocate of looking at authors and websites outside of your niche and genre. This can be achieved in any of the following ways –
- Following people you disagree with on Twitter
- Setting aside an hour each day to check out brand new author websites you have never encountered
- Delving deep into the Amazon Book Categories and exploring book genres you’ve never even heard of
- Checking out websites outside of your genre or niche in order to see what people exposed to a totally different background to yourself are up to and trying
- Looking at book publishing ideas used by famous authors you wouldn’t have otherwise thought to apply to your own work
For example, I’m well-known for refusing to disclose the pen names I write under, and the styles of book I publish.
However, I’m not giving the game away if I let you know that I recently checked out the website of Kyle from fooddeliveryguru.com. He has an article about the cheapest food delivery services out there. Am I thinking about getting into/writing about food delivery? Heck no, especially when I’m blessed with a wonderful wife who cooks better than most chefs out there.
However, I was able to use his concept of a ‘cheapest services’ comparison to write a book of this type in my own area of interest.
Remember – take those blinkers off and look outside the box for inspiration.
Using Tools To Generate Ideas
Whenever I bring up the topic of writing tools, I tend to encounter a certain level of resistance.
Some writers see their art as some kind of noble and pure pursuit which shouldn’t be tainted by something so unseemly as a tool.
However, I believe they’re wrong. Here’s why.
Using a writing tool is simply like using a GPS. It’s there to guide you, not dictate to you. Just because you’ve programmed a route into a GPS system, you don’t have to blindly follow it. In fact, if you see a dead end, you’re not going to drive that way, regardless of what the GPS says!
I feel writing tools serve a similar purpose. You can use them to –
- Generate inspiration for a book idea by using a book title generator. You don’t even have to use the title suggested – you can simply use it as a jumping off point for your own inspiration.
- Use a random book tool to get a handful of random books. Check them out. Are you inspired by any of them? Do their topics speak to you? This is a great way of avoiding your own biases and issues when it comes to finding a random book.
- Use a random word generator to get new ideas. As much as we hate to admit it, our own brain is programmed in a way which does not allow it to be truly random. Using a random idea generator is a great way to overcome this with the minimum of effort.
As stated, I am not advocating that you blindly follow what the tools suggest. Instead, use the ideas generated as a starting point to which you add your own ideas, experience, and inspiration. This will help you make smarter book publishing choices.
Using Tools To Understand Strengths and Weaknesses
One of my biggest pet peeves as a sports fan is when I see a coach using a player in a role which doesn’t utilize his strengths.
Chances are, if you follow sports, you’ve experienced the same frustration.
The same concept applies to writers. It drives me mad when I see writers trying to write in a style or niche which doesn’t best serve their own unique style or experience.
As a result, I’m a big advocate of using writing coach tools to assess and aid our writing. This can then help you choose a book or article style best suited to your talents.
- ProWritingAid can assess your writing’s suitability to the academic or casual styles of writing. When you know where you naturally fit, you can adapt your next book or article to this style.
- Grammarly can identify the types of errors you’re making. If you know long words are a challenge for you, for example, you know to avoid certain genres and niches.
- A human book editor can give you feedback on your writing style and which genres or niches you are most suited to.
Once again, I’m not advocating letting your present dictate your future. After all, you can always train yourself to become proficient in any given style. However, knowing where your strengths and weaknesses naturally exist can help you choose the best fit writing style for your next project. This can reduce the time it takes to write your next book.
Hopefully, by now you’ve found at least one idea to help you find inspiration for your next writing project. In summary:
- Looking outside your niche can help you generate new ideas your competitors don’t have access to
- Various tools can give you a starting point of inspiration you can build off and add to
- By understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer you can determine a suitable style for your next project
When you’re stuck for inspiration, where do you turn? Which of these ideas do you already use, and do you have anything to add to them? Feel free to leave a comment if you want to join in the discussion!