As I writer, I often think about what makes me write what I write.
Let’s go ahead and call it the muse.
The idea of a muse has always been very romanticized, (I’m going to go ahead and shout, Mistresses! Booze!) With the modern age, this has begun to change. I use begin because I think there is still a wealth of people that believe in the power of writing #afewdrinksin. It could be the varied types of writing that have inspired this change, or maybe technology, or the modern day lifestyle, the platform for writing, how and where we commute, live, publish…
Whatever, the reason, it’s clear that there are many more possibilities. Depending on when and how and where and what you write, your inspiration, your muse, can come from anywhere.
And there it is– In my opinion, there are now endless possibilities, and more writers should take full advantage of this.
Every writer needs a way to get started, and every writer faces writer’s block at times. The idea of a muse goes back a long time to the artists, painters, and writers of old. However, the modern day muse is incredibly intriguing. There are apps to use that generate word choices, character traits, and exciting events. The NaNoWriMo Plot machine can help you build any story. Even Google can be used. I’d recommend typing, “I’m curious.”
You can find Plot Generators on Pinterest. I have a ton of pins relating to paintings, beautiful food pics, etc. You know what you write, so create a world of ideas where you can come and go whenever you like.
On Writeometer, a goal oriented writing app, the idea machine is included right there within the app. Serious numbers of people use these online devices, and they can really help. (Feel free to disagree, & tell me so!)
I hate to state the overly obvious, but there are also books upon books of plot ideas.
Another surely obvious option is to read. I have always maintained that reading causes writing. I, myself, have to find a balance and choose carefully. I can’t read anything tooooo engaging–new series are out of the question, and the news is never a good idea. Shorter pieces are nice, short stories are perfect, and random journals or writing zines are perfect. In fact, I believe that “The Believer” is one of my very favorite inspirational muses. I’ve never made it through a whole issue without stopping to write. Honestly, never.
Another of my favorite muses is the library. I take my keyboard and a blank document or a story that’s stuck and start my writing session by walking around. I do not check out books at this time. That is prohibited. I look at book covers, go to the reference section, open the massive dictionary to a random page, check out the librarians’ suggested reads, and dream about my books sitting on those very shelves (one already is!), and then I write. It always works.
Now I’d like to mention a few modern muses, namely the possibilities provided to writers by Twitter hashtags, YouTube, Reddit, and the very general, but not unmagnificent Internet.
Twitter is my absolute writing go-to. When I am writing, I often have Twitter open and my Tweetdeck has #amwriting permanently installed as a column. I admit that this particular column is not necessarily always helpful as a muse. Sometimes when I tweet with #amwriting, I am not actually writing. Yes, this is an admission, and a sort of public shaming of myself. I sometimes encourage or push myself to #startwriting by tweeting #amwriting and some sort of an idea. For me, this. Actually. Works.
Surprised? Maybe not.
Moving on to an even better use of Twitter…
The hashtag #muse, which I’ve personaly been working to get going, can lead you to quotes, music and pictures. You should also try #quote and #newtome, or go random with hashtags like #weather or #why.
I Love @historicalpics .
Although random Twitter hashtags can lead to some weird tweets, Hold on! Back up, I said weird, but what I meant is quirky, odd, strange, freak, queer! Just the type of things that might help your main character get out of the stronghold of that wizened green ogre.
#weird– Another great anti-writer’s block hashtag.
If you want to write something new, intriguing and unique, then you should write and be inspired in the same way.
One piece of advice, don’t click on articles. Prohibit it; make it off limits. Pictures are fine, short videos even, but quotes and comments are the best option, from my experience.
Before I bring this to a close, I’d like to mention a few more ideas that I like.
When you’re working on a specific project, a long grueling novel especially, set the scene and return to it every time you work on that project. I drink the same beverage, use the same tea mug, play the same scary music YouTube playlist, and keep the same token object by my side. It will be retired when the project is done.
All the senses matter.
As a writer, you should keep all five close to your heart.