The Bookish Fox

Playing Hide-and-Seek with Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems like inspiration is actively hiding from me (or taking a vacation).   To help you find your sneaky muse (because sometimes a girl cannot keep waiting by the telephone, err, computer), I have compiled a list of places where he might be. He may run, but he can’t hide. Also, because muses are particular, I have specified certain locations for particular problems.

The Zoo

The Problem: You are having trouble with your descriptions.

How It Helps: Struggling to describe a horrible smell? Head on over to the monkey house. Want a perfect hue for your heroine’s dress? Gaze at the perfect pink of the flamingos. Want a cool sound for the alien in your science fiction story? Listen to the elephants trumpet. The zoo is a perfect place to get you in touch with your senses, so if your city has one, definitely take advantage of it. 

A Party

The Problem: You don’t have any ideas for new characters.

How It Helps: The fastest way to meet new people is at a party (especially at a wedding). And there is no better way to develop new characters than to meet new people. They will tell you about their jobs, how they met the hosts, and other fun facts about their lives. There is also non-verbal inspiration to glean: how they dress, how they speak, and their body language. You have to leave your friend group though. There may be perks to being a wallflower, but inspiration isn’t one of them. 

The Mall

The Problem: You are struggling with dialogue. No matter how much you try, you can’t get it right.

How It Helps: There are lots of opportunities for eavesdropping at a mall. Sit on a bench in the middle of the mall or at the foodcourt. You will have plenty of opportunities to listen in to conversations. If you are struggling with the slang of teenagers, you can bet there will be a bunch walking out of American Eagle. If you want to perfect the cadence of a stay-at-home mom, sit near the baby store. If you want to nail the jargon of businessmen, hang out at the Starbucks. Before you know it, your characters’ words will be on fleek. 

Momentum App

The Problem: Nothing inspires you. You just feel completely dry.

How It Helps: I don’t know what kind of magic is coded into this app, but it always makes me feel inspired. Maybe it is the beautiful photography of stunning views around the world or the motivational sayings, but I always want to get to work after opening a tab on my Chrome. 

Pandora Station

The Problem: You cannot get in a rhythm with your writing. The words are slow to come. 

How It Helps: When you have a dedicated soundtrack for your music (i.e. classical music, music inspired by The Bleachers, etc.), you are more likely to trigger your mood to write. Besides, there is something about having a literal beat to keep my fingers moving on the keyboard. 

Now that you have a list of hiding places, you are all set. You may have 99 problems, but inspiration ain’t one. 


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