Inspiration and when it strikes.

Inspiration is a funny thing–at least to me. The oddest things will inspire me to write. Sometimes its something mundane, like taking a walk outside. Something in the air will just put me in the mood to grab my laptop and type away.

Other times, it’s when I’m eavesdropping on conversations (Don’t judge me, but eavesdropping is one of my favorite things to do. And hey! If people don’t want to be overhead, then they should have their conversations somewhere private). Sometimes the dynamic people have–the camaraderie between good friends, that’s something that moves me to write as well. Because that’s actually something I try to capture with my characters. I want them to strike a chord with readers. I want my characters to feel real, and their conversations authentic.

When it comes to emotions–well this is going to sound basic, but I get that from real life. My life. I try to remember not only how I felt, but those around me in certain situations. Weddings, funerals, vigils. Church, holidays, get togethers. All the good, the bad–those are the kind of situations that I pull emotions from, and I try to transfer them into my characters.

For settings–well, it’s usually places I’ve been. I recently took a trip to DC and Virginia, and just being in Old Alexandria put me in the mood to write. If you’ve never been, it’s really beautiful. So beautiful I decided to write a novella that takes place in Virginia in a town a lot similar to Old Alexandria.

So there you go. Just a small list of the things that inspire me to write. So what kind of things inspire you?

person typing on typewriter
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Writer’s block?

So it took me a long time to finish writing the first draft of my novel. Like, years. Why did it take me so long? Well, some of it was life. Things happened and pulled me in a direction where I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write. And we all need to be in the right frame of mind to write. Otherwise, it’s probably going to be crap.

But there were other times where I had legit writer’s block. Where I was stuck and couldn’t write a word for months. I’m glad I had these moments as I learned how to manage my blocks and how to get past them.

I’ll be honest, I have bad habits. I don’t outline. I don’t brain storm very much. What I do is let the characters live in my head for a few years, and when I feel like I have a good idea of who they are, what their purpose is, who their adversaries are, what the climax of my story will be, and how my story will end–that is when I start writing. I don’t have diagrams or flo-charts or any of that stuff. Maybe some notes I’ve written here and there, but they’re flimsy, because I’m probably the laziest writer you’ll ever meet.

But I do have three parts to my story. A: the beginning, B: the climax, and C: the resolution. And the block comes in when I’ve written myself into a corner, and I can’t see how I’m going to get to from point A to B, or B to C. This is when I have legit writer’s block. The first few times it happened, I let weeks go by as I tried to figure out how I was going to proceed. After awhile, I realized that the best thing to do was to cut. Cut those last few paragraphs or pages and write something else, take my story in a different direction–because it doesn’t matter how I get to point B, as long as I get there.

And that’s something I recommend writers doing if they ever find themselves with writer’s block. Try putting the car in reverse and taking a different road to your destination. And enjoy the ride. I know I do.