Thumb 13608102 1379178125432294 1206025509 n  2 Dorian Sabo Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We live in the information age - the age in which the average person has a computer and Internet access, the age in which we communicate with each other mostly in written word through social media. Such an age has opened great opportunities for writers of all sorts. With the rise of popularity of Internet, blogs, e-books & e-publishing, everyone is a few clicks away from becoming a writer of some kind. One might even argue that nowadays there are more writers than readers! I'd even encourage more people to become writers since writing, in any of its forms, is a fun and productive experience. However, there are some obstacles a writer will inevitably encounter. One of them being lack of inspiration.

    

writing comic

(Image:@Ana Katarina Ladavac)

'How do you find inspiration?' is probably the most common question a writer will hear in his life, and while the answer to this question may be an interesting one, finding inspiration isn't the most important part of the creative process. Even though it's the first step of the creative process – maintaining inspiration is the most important part of the creative process.  

peanuts

(The Peanuts Movie. 20th Century Fox)

It doesn't take a genius to realize that inspiration comes in many shapes and forms and that there is no universal method that can help every single person on the planet get inspired enough to write something. Thus, speaking of means of finding inspiration can be a bit redundant; especially when we take into consideration (and I say this judging by the many conversations I had) that finding inspiration isn't a real problem for the average person – almost every person I've ever met was, at some point of his or her life, inspired by something and felt like writing that down. However, a large majority of those individuals never became writers: the difference between them and an average writer is that the average writer actually sat down and wrote something. This is where 'inspiration maintenance' comes into play.

Since inspiration is a subjective term and we already established there is no universal method to finding it, I won't be able to give any solid suggestions regarding finding inspiration. The only suggestion I can give regarding inspiration is not to force yourself to get inspired to write something. That will be counterproductive. I can, however, give you a few decent suggestions regarding inspiration maintenance. The first of them being – force yourself to write!

1. Forcing yourself to write – the theory of dots and lines

You might think that the previous paragraph makes no sense at all, and you might even think that I was drunk when I wrote it. And you might be right, but let me explain myself first!

writing comic

(Image:@Ana Katarina Ladavac)

When speaking of inspiration and writing, I like to mention something I call – the theory of dots and lines. Inspiration works in the form of dots: you get inspired to write something down, and that something, be it a line of dialogue, or a setting, or a plot twist, or a wacky character – is a dot. A novel, or any other written text for that matter (like this article, for example), is a collection of lines connecting those dots. No one ever got inspired to write something from the first line of text to the last – inspiration simply doesn't work that way. Most of every written text is filler, or improvisation if you'd like to call it that way; that's connecting the dots of inspiration.

So, when it comes to writing, you shouldn't force yourself to find the inspiration for a dot, but you should force yourself to write the connective tissue, the lines among several dots. And this is where many people fail. I can help you with some further suggestions.

man writing

2. Creating a daily routine

(Image:@Ana Katarina Ladavac)

The best way to write effectively is to create a daily routine. Many famous writers made writing part of their daily grind. As should you, if you want to get some serious work done. Try to write every single day, if possible; make a plan to write a number of words per day or to write for an amount of time. Pushing yourself to write is a great way to maintain your inspiration and to force yourself to do the job of connecting the dots, a job that could otherwise be quite tedious. Even if you don't feel like writing or you're having wild mood swings, you should write. You could even use your feelings for inspiration.

For example, I once suffered a mild writer's block, but I bypassed it by having the main character of my novel suffer from writer's block as well, and then I described his feelings. I know it sounds cheap, but no one who read my novel ever complained about it.

writing

3. More obstacles you might encounter – originality

(Image:@Ana Katarina Ladavac)

“Wanna-be” writers and "real" writers alike might think their newest idea, in spite of being good, isn't truly original and it's akin to some other work of art, and therefore they might decide not to pursue that idea. The truth is that, in this day and age, very few things are astonishingly original, but that doesn't really matter. Audiences usually like the same things, and they like to feel they are on safe ground. Safe grounds are, of course, genres, and some are immensely popular, even though they are very formulaic (lately, superhero movies).

Let's look at some book examples that were popular lately: 50 Shades of Grey was a smashing hit and that novel was conceived as fan fiction of the famous Twilight series (which weren't very original themselves).

The Martian is basically Robinson Crusoe on Mars (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/10/07/mart-o07.html), and the hugely popular A Song of Ice and Fire book series is greatly inspired by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Just remember the famous quote - Good artists copy, great artists steal.

penguins

4. What? Even more obstacles?! – low self-esteem

(Image:@Ana Katarina Ladavac)

The other problem that some writers might have is low self-esteem. They might think the text they've written isn't good enough and that may discourage them from further writing. Lack of confidence is a normal occurrence, even already successful and famous people suffer from low self-esteem.

Still, there is some good news. Not only are less confident people usually more successful , but there is also a psychological effect called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which simply says that unskilled people have higher levels of confidence than skilled people.

Nonetheless, if that doesn't make you feel better about your work, you should remember that you've been blessed with the great gift of being able to edit and re-edit your work (which should be done regardless of how we feel about our work).

snoopy

There are many reasons why someone might have low self-esteem, but when it comes to writing, I can tell you from my experience (both personal and from interacting with other people) that what lies behind this low self-esteem is the fear of being criticized - the fear that someone will find flaws in your text and call you out on them. That fear is far from rational.

In reality, the audience probably won't be bothered by the little mistakes you might have made in your work.

In reality, some form of criticism is inevitable (it's not possible to please every single person on the planet), but that's exactly why you shouldn't lose sleep over it.

In reality, you can even write a universally panned novel (*khm* 50 Shades of Grey *khm*) and still make a ton of money. Or you just might create a universally acclaimed novel or an article. Who knows? You just need to connect the dots and see for yourself.





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