"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Inspiration - How To Tap Into It

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Inspiration - How To Tap Into It

You can wait for days, weeks, months sometimes for it to strike.

It seems you can’t will it, force it or otherwise pluck it out of the air.

It’s actually hard to know exactly what it is!

But when inspiration strikes, it hits hard.

Excitement fills you. You’re convinced – there’s a surety inside you – you are on to something.

You’ve just had the most original and enlightening thought anyone in the world has ever had.

And then what?

Do you act? Do you rush for a pen to jot down the idea?

You should.

Sometimes even the best and most profound ideas are fleeting. But sometimes not.

I’ve noticed over the years that when you get a really good idea, it tends to stick. Not only that, it can literally change the direction of your life.

Think about this:

You’re an author.

One day, a character occurs to you – someone you like and think could be a good focus for a story or two. You write about him/her, your story becomes a novel, your book gets published and suddenly your character is out in the world.

Isn’t that just an amazing concept? That a single moment of inspiration can create so many consequences?

Now you can see why good ideas should be considered precious – you never know how valuable they could be to you – and you never know where a good idea might lead.

So where do you find these ‘good ideas’?

Well, if you’re not used to being regularly inspired, you may have to work at it.

But it’s not so hard. It’s just about practice.

Many of the seasoned authors I know complain they have too many ideas – and not enough time to act on them.

It’s because they’ve spent so many years expecting inspiration to come that it does – and all the time.

Try this:

Write down 5 ideas for magazine articles. Now.

How long did that take you?

Ten minutes – an hour?

Good but someone used to writing articles or regular columns could come up with ten in probably less than thirty seconds.

They’ve gotten used to thinking up ideas on the spot. They’ve trained their minds to do it.

You can do the same.

Before you go to bed at night, tell yourself you’re going to get some really good ideas tomorrow. In the morning wake up and tell yourself how much you’re looking forward to the good ideas you will have later in the day.

Whenever you’re inspired by something – or receive a flash of insight, write it down, promise yourself you will work on it – and move on.

Be consistently aware that good ideas are everywhere.

Most often it’s just seeing the norm from a slightly oblique angle – or making a connection in your mind between two apparently disparate objects, ideas or concepts.

From a writer’s point of view than can no better starting point for ideas than the ‘what if’ question.

What if chickens wore clothes?

What if an ocean liner overturned?

What if there were real witches, or vampires?

What if the sun didn’t come up tomorrow?

These are the sort of questions that will train your brain to think in this way – to reprogram mind and re-invent it as an ‘inspiration creator’!

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Keep writing!
Rob Parnell
The Writing Academy

"True power is an individual's ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." — Winston Churchill

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