Finding Inspiration for Creative Writing Projects

Posted on March 10, 2013 by John C

Nothing injects more fun into a writer’s life than creative writing. It demands that a writer turn to their imagination as their guide. They use words and sentences to bring to life a fictional world populated with detailed settings, complex characters and compelling plots.

Creative writing also offers a unique set of challenges. It requires more patience and effort to spark ideas and flesh them out into engaging and compelling stories. Writers are always searching for surefire methods to harvest fresh ideas.

If producing novels, poems or short stories is your goal, these creative writing techniques can help inspire ideas that will make your dream come true:

1. Read Before You Write

It doesn’t make sense to write a mystery novel if you don’t enjoy that genre of literature. Reading is a good way to see how other authors work. How have they fleshed out their ideas? What has made them successful? Reading authors in your target genre gives you a better sense of what ideas sell. It offers a template you can reference as a starting point for fleshing out your own ideas.

2. Carry a Small Notebook

Observing the people, places and events around you can spark a flood of good ideas. In those moments, it helps to have a small notebook on hand to jot down whatever pops into your head. Some of your best material can come when you interact with the outside world. You can pull great lines of dialogue from conversations you overhear riding on the train or standing in line at the grocery store. Sights, sounds and smells you experience can influence the direction of your story.

3. Exercise Your Brain

Ideas are like a vegetable garden. They don’t grow unless we plant the seed first and give it plenty of nourishment. Doing writing exercises to stimulate your brain can sometimes unlock ideas you didn’t know were kicking around up there. One effective exercise is to ask your character questions. Why are they doing a certain thing? What is their motivation? When you start to get inside their heads, you can pull ideas from your own.

4. Start a Blog

One of the best things you can do as a creative writer is to write every day. Starting your own blog can get you into the habit of writing. You can share personal stories about your experiences, your struggles and triumphs with writing your thoughts and feelings. You can even try out some ideas and get feedback from your blog followers.

5. Save the Editing for Later

Editing along the way can stifle the creative process. No writer is going to produce a first draft with fully formed ideas written in a perfectly cohesive manner. It takes time to fine tune from rough draft to polished story. Allow yourself a chance to get everything in your head down on paper. Then you can turn your attention to deciding which elements work and which ones need to be discarded.

John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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