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Swoon Author Sandy Hall: The Struggle with Inspiration Drought

Lately, I’ve been experiencing something super frustrating: I’ve been dealing with an “inspiration drought.” I haven’t had a decent story idea in nearly two months. 

Usually I have several ideas floating around in the back of my head, waiting to be explored. But recently, it’s like I come up with ideas and immediately lose interest. So, here’s a list of everything I’ve done to try to force inspiration. 

1. Read a book. I have read lots and lots of books. Both adult and young adult, and in just about every genre under the sun. I also tried rereading favorites.

2. Watch TV. I am ashamed of the amount of TV I’ve watched. I made it through all six seasons of Cougartown in about five weeks. I don’t even know why I’m admitting that. I am so ashamed.

3. Hit up the movies. I saw Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time and Love, Simon in the theater. And many, many more viewed in my home.

4. Listen to music. Old music, new music, music you haven’t heard in a while. I bopped around my office to lots of music.

5. Walk away. I tried to stop forcing it. I told myself that I just needed to walk away for a bit. And that’s how I ended up watching way too much Cougartown.

6. Go through old ideas. I keep a folder of random ideas on Google Drive. Usually I love going through them and will often find a gem within, but no such luck this time.

7. Reread my favorite fanfic. Fanfic is how I got started in the whole writing thing to begin with, so I often find it super inspirational.

8. Dig around in my bookmarks. I bookmark the weirdest stuff sometimes, often because I think there’s a nugget of an idea there.

9. Beta read for a friend. This at least feels more productive than letting Hulu play another episode of Cougartown. It’s nice to feel helpful, but I didn’t get any new ideas in the process.

10. Read/watch/listen to all of the writing advice you can possibly absorb. There are a lot of authors out there sharing their wisdom, but sadly, this was also a dead end.

After all of this, and getting more frustrated by the day, I finally had a bolt of inspiration. All it took was getting stuck in traffic while listening to a very old playlist. Many thanks to “Silver Lining” by Rilo Kiley for finally setting my creativity back in motion. 

Someday soon, I might even write another book. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. I don’t want to jinx myself and end up back in the inspiration drought.

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Sandy Hall


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