You may not be aware of it all the time, but your writing is inspired by something. It might be a song, a poem, a movie, real life. It doesn’t really matter what inspires you. Have you ever had that sudden, inexplicable urge to just write? You had a story or a character that grabbed you and wouldn’t let go? That’s what I call inspiration.
One of the ways I’m personally inspired is by literature. Poetry and classic works inspire me to write modern things. You wouldn’t think it would work that way, but sometimes the underlying truth in something old opens your eyes to something current. One example of this is Emily Dickinson’s ‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death’. This simple poem written by a simple girl is one of the most interesting pieces of literature on death that I’ve ever read. It really made me think about how we, as a culture and society, view death. In turn, that thought inspired me to write a story about facing death and the steps from terror to acceptance.
I can’t tell you how many times one of my stories has been inspired by a song. It doesn’t even have to be a song with lyrics. I frequently listen to instrumental music when I write to avoid typing the lyrics accidentally. It happens. But the melody of the song can inspire me to change where my story is going, increase or decrease the pace, and even change my character’s views on occurrences within the plot. Some song lyrics themselves inspire me to write characters in different ways. Hopeless love, abusive relationships, and even puppy love are strongly featured in modern music. Those lyrics help me to make my character’s reactions true to life, even if that is not how I personally would react in that situation.
Television and movies also inspire my writing. Sometimes it is only the thought of: why the heck did they do that? Or: I could write this so much better. Thus inspired, I go off and take the characters on the journey they should have had. This fun writing practice, called fan fiction, allows me to take fully formed characters and explore them in different situations without having to first plot out every single detail on my own. It’s the “cheater’s” way of writing, but it does make for good practice. Of course, no publishing or profit can be made for characters stolen from another. But it is fun to borrow them for a while.
No matter where your inspiration comes from, just remember to keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll get. Read also, because through reading you improve your vocabulary, grammar, and plot skills. Above all, have fun with what you write. This is your creation, make it what you will.
Coleen Torres is a freelance blogger. Her profile is called phone internet.