Inspiration – Free of Charge

I love reading about exercises or movements that are meant to inspire writers to write. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month (November 1-30) is when I see Twitter, Facebook, and other social media light up with progress reports of pages written in one day, plot twists resolved, and novels completed. My hat is off to writers who can rise to this kind of deadline-oriented challenge. But even though my job is all about deadlines, I’m not sure I could rise to the occasion of a NaNoWriMo-type of challenge.

Perhaps you’re like me – more of a mulling, looking-around, taking-a-walk kind of thinker. Whenever I have to take on a creative project, such as writing book jacket copy, or creating a discussion guide for one of our books (yes, I consider these creative tasks!), I find the deadline is less of a motivator than a roadblock. I take deadlines very seriously, but they don’t fuel my creativity. Nor does scrolling around online. Or watching TV, or even reading (alas!).

Moving helps a lot. Walking, going to the gym, and even carrying the laundry up and down several flights of stairs all help to unclog my mind and open it up to bolts of inspiration. This isn’t rocket science – I’m sure there are boatloads of studies that point to moving as a way to jumpstart creativity. Victoria Beckham works on a treadmill desk – I mean, need I say more? (BTW, I think treadmill desks are brilliant. I’m too klutzy to even consider one, but if you can pull it off, then go for it!)

lizheartGet up. Change your scenery. Look all around you for “signs” that are connected to your story. I love looking for symbols in the pavement as I walk down the street.

Go to the bookstore. Marvel at the world you’re a part of by being a writer, even if you’re not published – yet. Watch people. Look at book covers. Touch paper. Admire the way book spines look on the shelves, all lined up.

Listen to what’s surrounding you – conversation, cars, sirens, birds, wind, rain, the air conditioner, children, adults, loudspeakers – this is life all around you, and you can ride it to new ideas or solutions to writers block.

Again, this isn’t rocket science. You know this already. Taking breaks is important and helps to open our minds. Here’s to inspo, however we can find it!

Author spotlight

Liz S.

Hi, I'm the Editor-in-Chief at Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. I've worked in the book biz for over 30 years (let's just …

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