Throwback Thursday: Lost!

A throwback to one of those days when you just can’t find your inspiration …

I search for it Under the stairs Thinking wistfully That I left it behind While I was cleaning But no It is not there I look for it Behind the couch Where scraps of paper Have been discarded In mom…

Source: Lost!

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5 Things to Start Writing About Right Now

Think you’ve got nothing to write about? Think again. There are endless ways to inspire yourself, and here are just 5 ways to begin right now.

  1. A stranger you’ve seen recently

Strangers are merely people whose stories we don’t know yet. As a writer, creating characters is something that we all do with an image in mind. Both physically and mentally, these may be somebody we’ve seen in our own lives. We can do this either consciously or subconsciously. Think of somebody you’ve seen recently who remained in your mind, whether because of their appearance or their actions, and write their story.

  1. A conversation you’ve overheard

Sometimes, we catch a conversation at just the right time. Passionate conversations, such as arguments and reunions, can cause us to wonder at their beginnings – and endings. Think of someone you heard someone say recently, and fill in the gaps in their conversation.

  1. A moment in your life that you will never/never want to forget

We are defined by those moments in our lives that we cannot or do not wish to forget. These can be good moments that change our lives for the better, or bad moments that we must find the strength to overcome. Depending on their nature, we can write about them in different ways: a letter to somebody who was cruel, a poem about someone we love or someone we lost, an article to encourage and inform, a story based on real events, and so on. Oftentimes, these are the pieces which display the most emotion – and bring out all our skills as writers.

  1. A place you love/want to visit

The world is a place of beauty that is waiting to be explored. Whether somewhere we have already been or somewhere we have yet to discover, writing about it can open avenues of description that can challenge our abilities as writers as we attempt to put the beauty of that place into mere words on a page.

  1. A thought that is spinning around in your head

A lyric, a title, a sentence, an idea … whatever it is, our heads are filled with many things that never make it onto paper. Pluck a thought out of your head and write it down, then allow your imagination to develop it from there.

Inspiration: Writing Challenges

Blogging U has a four-week, post-a-day challenge entitled Writing 101: Finding Everyday Inspiration. This course looks at finding inspiration in a variety of sources, including from quotes, lists and tweets. Although it is not specifically aimed at writers of fiction or poetry, it is a great way for anyone who is feeling a sudden or alarming lack of creativity to find inspiration from previously undiscovered places. You don’t have to follow the challenges to the letter, so you could use each day to inspire you writing however you wanted to!

This is our final discussion on the topic of inspiration. So far, we have examined some key areas where writers might find inspiration: writing groups (online and in person), imagery (such as photographs and art), music (in its many varieties) and personal experiences. Today, we will discuss writing challenges and prompts, with a few examples of websites to look at and explore.

Blogging U also provides other two- and four-week courses, including A Poem A Day and Writing 201: Poetry, which are both great challenges for poets and can connect you with a huge number of eager writers on WordPress. Keep an eye out for their courses, as they run all year. Look beyond this, though, and you will find that there is so, so much more. There are many places on the internet dedicated to challenging writers, such as Story A Day, which runs a May challenge to write each and every day throughout May to a prompt sent directly to your inbox.

Writing challenges can come in many forms. They can be complicated and detailed, or extremely simple. Some websites and small publishers will happily provide their followers with regular prompts, from words or phrases to whole paragraphs. Others will challenge you to write to a picture prompt (as we have discussed) or in a specific style. If you write something that catches somebody’s eye, you may even get featured on their website or asked to contribute!

There are also websites such as Ad Hoc Fiction that allow you to submit your writing (in this case, flash fiction of 150 words or less that includes a specific prompt word or phrase) to a competition for free. Ad Hoc publishes entries on their website and puts them to a public vote for a chance at a cash prize.

These are only a few of the places where you might find writing challenges and prompts to inspire you. Social media is bursting at the seams with writing prompts and you can often be rewarded for your efforts. There are challenges for those who need a little bit of inspiration and others for those who want a bucketful. Seeking out a source of inspiration can feel like an impossible task at times, but there is something out there to support and inspire everyone. All you need to do is look.


This month’s theme is INSPIRATION. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Inspiration: Personal Experiences

I lost my inspiration for writing short stories in the middle of 2015. I had ideas, but when I tried to write them down, they became scrambled and lost. The words were bland and empty, and I found this lack of creativity difficult to overcome. This month, I am discussing inspiration and ways for writers to locate their creative side.

I have already examined writing groups, imagery, and music (which I believe is an absolutely fantastic source of inspiration). This week, we are going to talk about finding inspiration from within your personal experiences.

For this discussion, I will look at two examples: the first is word of mouth, the second memory. These are both examples of how I took the ideas I had in my head and turned them into better, more imaginative pieces of writing.

1 – Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a great source of inspiration as you essentially have to fill in the gaps of the story and build a universe of your own around them. If you still feel some level of creativity hidden somewhere deep inside of you, then consider using word of mouth to take your writing to the next level.

I used word of mouth to help me write the short story Room 33. I was originally planning to write about a haunted house, but after struggling with the direction to take the story in I was reminded of a story someone at work told, and so I wrote Room 33 instead. It definitely helped me to focus on the original subject of a ghost, but it also allowed me to expand the story and develop it in a specific way.

2 – Memory

Your memory probably does not provide you with as much flexibility as word of mouth. If you’re feeling uninspired and uncreative, it can put a real kick back into your writing.

I used memory to help me write the short story Dreamcatcher. As a child, I would talk to the dreamcatcher at the end of my bed every night before I went to sleep, as I believed it prevented nightmares. In this instance, I wanted to write about bad dreams but could not create the correct atmosphere within my writing. Using my memory allowed me to focus more on the subject of bad dreams rather than the bad dreams themselves, and (hopefully) create a more convincing atmosphere.

If you want to read poetry inspired by memories, then check out my book, City of the World, which is based on my experiences in Vietnam. You can buy it direct from the publisher here or on Amazon. There are also some extracts on this blog.


This month’s theme is INSPIRATION. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Inspiration: Music

Are you feeling inspired to write today? We all struggle to locate a good source for inspiration at times. This month, I am discussing ways for writers to find inspiration and enhance their creative side. So far, I have talked about writing groups and imagery, and how you can use both of these to help you become inspired.

Today, I am going to talk about finding inspiration in music. This is a great area for writers to explore as there is so much to discover in music and, depending on the type of music you decide to listen to, it can produce an incredible variety of results to compliment your writing. Lyrics can take you in an alternative direction to instrumental music, just to give you one example.

When you plan to use music to help inspire you and add extra creativity to your writing, you should think carefully about what you are planning to write. It could be something that you have been trying to work on for a long time but feel stuck with; or you may find that music leads you in another direction and that you should allow your creative side to lead you.

Consider the genre you wish to write in and the way in which you wish to write. If you are looking for something deeply emotional, then you will want to listen to something that will bring out an emotional response within you, and thus allow you to put that emotional response into your writing. It could be something with a slow tempo, with sorrowful lyrics, or with heart-tugging instrumentals. What fits into those definitions is up to you.

If you are writing a fantasy or an adventure story, you will probably feel more in the right creative mood if you listen to something with a strong beat, or a fast-paced tempo. Or how about something you relate to adventure, such as the theme tune to an adventure movie? Think about the kind of music that you can connect with – songs that can make you cry, smile, nod your head, and so on.

Take your time to listen to the music once you have chosen it. Music touches us all in different ways, so allow it to inspire you. Sit and listen in silence, focusing on the melody, or the lyrics, or your emotional response to the music. If any phrases jump out at you, whether in the song or from your response, jot them down – and try to describe in words how you feel as you listen. You may wish to listen to the same piece several times before you begin to write, as well as to listen during your writing. Let your mood – whether excitement or misery – show in your writing through this influence.

There are many ways to use music to your advantage when you are writing. Music can help to boost your imagination or enhance your emotions, whether through memory or entertainment. We need to focus on these things so that music can influence and inspire us to produce effective, creative writing.


This month’s theme is INSPIRATION. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Inspiration: Imagery

Inspiration is all around us, and it is essential if you want to produce good writing. Anyone can write, after all, and practice can get you far – but you want that extra something to get yourself noticed. On Thursday, I discussed inspiration and attempting to overcome your “creative block” by getting involved in writing groups, whether in person or online.

Today, we are going to examine some ways in which you can use images, such as photographs and art, to inspire your writing.

Images can be the things you see on a daily basis. This mean that almost anything you see could potentially inspire you. Of course, you are less likely to feel inspired by something you see all the time, such as your dog or the postman. That is why you should actively pursue imagery that may be inspiring and encourage your creative side.

Just as in the case of writers groups, there are lots of websites and groups on social media that are dedicated to presenting eager writers with pictures designed to stimulate creativity. Some will challenge you to write to a specific set of instructions, such as a limerick or a haiku, which is great if you want to test yourself or hone your skills in a particular area. Others will allow you to engage with your fellow writers when you submit your writing, giving you an opportunity to see what other writers thought of the same image. The aim of them all is to get you thinking outside of the box.

You can also find inspiration from images around the home. Old photographs can provide us with fantastic inspiration – they generate a whole list of questions about the person or persons (or objects) in the photograph and their life stories, and may just be the kick that your writing needs. Picking up a pen in a moment of awe or wonder can be an incredibly rewarding thing to do.

And, of course, we must not forget images that themselves have been created by somebody else’s moments of inspiration. Where is a better place for a person who has lost their creative edge than a room crammed full of creativity? Take a trip to a local art gallery, giving yourself enough time to get the feel of the artwork. Then, while you are still inspired by what you have seen, start writing and see where your imagination can take you.

Writing is supposed to create, among other things, images in your reader’s minds. Take the drawing, photograph, model, picture, or other imagery you have felt drawn to and transform it into the written word. Describe the majesty, the colours, the spectacle, the confusion: this will really get you thinking about what you are writing and what you want your audience to imagine when they read it.


This month’s theme is INSPIRATION. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Inspiration: Writing Groups

All writers struggle to find inspiration at times. It may be when you first begin to write, or it may happen suddenly despite a long and successful period of writing. You are not necessarily unable to write – it just feels as though what you do write is not up to your usual standard. It is not creative enough and building a plot or forming a poem is not impossible, but merely becomes bland.

This is something that you must be able to overcome as a writer, whatever you are writing about. I would not call this “writer’s block” as much as a “creative block”. You need to find something to get your creative juices flowing again – to put that spark back into your writing.

Inspiration can come from many places. In order to find something that inspires you, it is important to understand how you, as an individual, operate. Are you stimulated by the visual (photographs, art), by sound (conversation, music), by memories (yours or somebody else’s) or something else? It will likely be a combination of factors, though you may find one stimulus more helpful than the others.

Your creative ideas will not return to you immediately. Your search may take some time. You need to be able to rebuild (or begin to build) the excitement within your writing that will only happen when you are inspired.

There is a fantastic tool that is closer than you think: as I said above, ALL writers struggle to find inspiration at times. This is why it is incredibly helpful to get involved in writers groups. Not only can you meet other people (whether physically or online) who are like-minded and share your interests, but you can also bounce ideas around with them. This can help you to develop your writing and explore the different ways that you could take your basic plan.

There are some great writing groups online, such as on LinkedIn and Facebook. I am a member of The Writer’s Connection on Facebook, which is a lively group where people post poems, stories, links to their blogs, prompts and tips.

If you have close friends who are interested in writing, and who are willing to help you work on your own writing, then they can be another great resource for creativity and inspiration. Other people can make you consider options you had never even thought about and give you an alternative perspective. In fact, why not return the favour? You may find that thinking up ideas for someone else seems easier than thinking up your own ideas, and inspire yourself in the process.

Or, if you’re bolder than I am and lucky enough to know a local writing group that meets regularly, then you may find discussing your difficulties in person will give you even more of a creative boost. Being surrounded by other writers helps to create an inspirational environment – and there you can challenge yourself to fight against a sudden lapse of creativity.

Remember that when you are writing alone, the only one working on that annoying problem is you.


This month’s theme is INSPIRATION. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Theme for January: Inspiration

Each month, this blog will feature posts discussing writing tips and prompts on a specific theme. This month’s theme will be INSPIRATION. I will be discussing different ways that writers can get inspired and sharing posts designed to inspire you to write.

If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of finding inspiration, then please post a link in the comments or email me on lauramarieclark1@gmail.com with the subject: Inspiration.

Lost!

I search for it
Under the stairs
Thinking wistfully
That I left it behind
While I was cleaning
But no
It is not there

I look for it
Behind the couch
Where scraps of paper
Have been discarded
In moments of laziness
Alas, no
It is not there

I seek it
In the bedroom drawer
Where I keep my dainty
Unmentionables; perhaps
It’s hidden amongst them
Regretfully no
It is not there

I hunt for it
In cupboards and on
The tops of wardrobes
Hoping for some sight
Of my lost inspiration
I cease, and – oh!
I find it everywhere