What to Do While Waiting for Inspiration to Come?

by - 1:55 PM

I've never had any trouble coming upwith new and slightly random topics for blog posts... until this week (and as you might have noticed I'm also uninspired to think of catchy titles for my posts). I asked you guys for help on Twitter and the amazing Tudda Pudda was the first to respond:

I don't do anything before I sit down to read, except telling everyone to shut up because I want to read, but I was very excited to write a post full of life-changing writing tips, I really was. So I pictured my own writing process and came to the stunning conclusion... that I have no idea what I'm doing when I'm writing. My writing process in a nutshell:

Step 1: Randomly get ideas at 3am
Step 2: Scribble idea down on the nearest piece of paper
Step 3: Try to make sense of it in the morning
Step 4: Unprepared word sprint!
Step 5: Run out of ideas
Step 6: Wait for inspiration to come

I know, I know. Not at all what you expected. I may sound like I'm almost a pro, but in reality I'm an overexcited amateur. I could give you tips on how to be overexctied, but that's not what you're looking for, is it?
I was bummed when I realized that I couldn't do a post on writing tips. I discarded the idea and started studying for finals. My slightly dysfunctional brain, however, had other plans than learning German geography. I had barely opened my text book when a little voice in my mind whispered: 'Hey Envy, you can give tips on what to do while waiting for inspiration to come!'
I tried to ignore the voice, because I recognised it as the one that usually makes me do stupid things, but this time it was very persistent. 'You're the best at waiting for inspiration to come. Write about what to do while waiting!'
I looked at my text book, then at my laptop. It was an easy decision. 'Okay,' I said to myself. 'Let's do this.'

When I was younger, let's say seventeen, I used to do gigantic word sprints. When I finished them, I'd literally stare at a blank wall until inspiration came to me again. The results were terrible, so I decided to try a different approach. These days I pick one of the things from this list, wait for a while and TA-DA, inspiration!

#1: Watch pointless TV shows
Whenever I'm stuck or stressed out, I watch pointless TV shows. These shows are so simple and brainless that you're brain comes up with great ideas out of sheer boredom. Let's take a look at my favorite pointless TV show: Wicked Tuna. It's about people on boats catching, right, you guessed it, tuna. Every episode is the same. They start by saying: "We really need to catch a fish today!"
Then they go out at sea to try and catch a fish. When they catch one, they all start yelling how big it'll be (and it's never as big as they claim it to be). So they catch the fish, go sell it and say: "Now we need to catch more fish!". So they go out at sea and do the whole thing again. Pretty pointless, isn't it?
But the beautiful thing is that your brain doesn't get a lot of impulses to process, so your subconcious can work on your story. Works for me every single time!

#2: Edit, edit, edit
If you don't want to lose touch with your story by watching people catch tuna, editing it the best thing to do. You already know what you want to say in the chapters you've already written. Go over them again, tweak a bit here and there until you're happy with it. I do this when I feel very productive, but inspirationless at the same time. By the time I've edited two or three chapters, my mind has worked out a whole new chapter.

#3: Sleep
First, let's take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of sleep, okay? Since I started college, sleep has been my best friend. When I'm working on a story late at night and every word I write sounds wrong, I call it a day and go to sleep. My mind is still in the middle of this story and nine out of ten times I'll dream about it. Most of my good ideas are based on dreams I've had.
It's not just the dreaming that helps me to get inspired again. When I don't dream, I create a little bit of distance between me and the characters. Not much, but enough to see things from a different perspective. I wake up with awesome ideas the next morning and get ready for my next word sprint.

#4: Tell a friend
When I'm really desperate, I tell friends about the story I'm working on. They more or less have to be supportive, because they are your friends. Besides, even if their enthousiasm is faked, it can motivate you just enough to think your story over again and spark some ideas.
If that doesn't work either, I just ask them for help. "What would you do if you were the main character?" That kind of questions. I listen to each and every suggestion, then take what I like best and add some ideas of my own to the mix. If you're really desperate, this'll get you right back on track!

So that's what gets me through those awful inspirationless moments. What do you do while you wait for inspiration to come?

Stay Awesome!

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16 Fellow Ramblers

  1. #3. I get most of my ideas right before going to bed or while I'm in it. I do the scribbling too so I won't end up forgetting it. But mostly the ideas I get are stuff that I have to work on the next day and then decide how I can make a post out of them.
    It might sound silly but quotes give me a lot of inspiration to write :)

    -Kathie K

    1. Quotes, why haven't I thought of those? Doesn't sound silly at all, I think I'm going to try that next time I'm stuck!

  2. Watching silly tv sounds good xD
    I had trouble with making comics a while back took me a couple of weeks to get motivated again.Not sure how I got motivated again though :P

    1. Watching silly tv is the best :D
      Maybe you got motivated because everyone wants you to continue your story ;)

  3. #4 is really good! I never thought about asking my friends about what they would do if they were the main character!

    1. I never thought about it either, it kinda happened one day. I was complaining about writing a character, but the character was missing something. One of my friends came with a load of suggestions, half of them terrible, but there were some things I could use :)

  4. Ooooh, I'm in there! Hahahah! Officially famous!

    And I do the SAME with the lame tv shows. I have no idea why but it's always a good way for me to relax and watch while not thinking too much on the plot or little details I want to add. Probably because I'm not stressing myself out over them, with being too busy watching.

    I edit like crazy a lot too. And I hand write all of my chapters and ideas, so when I type them up, new ones just start flying in. It's cool.

    My little sister is the only person I talk to about my stories. Mainly because we're writing a lot of them together, and if not I still do, for some encouragement. She's awesome and not someone I have to worry about stealing my ideas. Because if I told anyone else, I'm sure they'd be a writer themselves.

    But then again, I did ask you for some help, hahaha. :P

    ~Tudda Pudda ^_______________^

    1. You'll be very famous from now on! :P
      I think that's the magic of lame tv shows: you're not too busy watching, but just busy enough to be entertained :)
      So cool that you have a sister who's into writing. I don't have any siblings and my parents would worry if I asked them advice on zombie apocalypses and vampire anatomy XD I'm not worried about people stealing my ideas though, I think that someone who steals an idea will never be able to make it as awesome as the original.

  5. These are all really good ideas which I never thought of before! And the Wicked Tuna thing made me laugh so much XD

    1. Thank you!
      Wicked Tuna is really awesome, but when I realized the whole show comes down to people yelling they need to catch a fish, I laughed for days about how silly it actually is XD

  6. I think your creative process is so nice. I tend to be a lot more of a planner when it comes to various projects, and learning about your way is really cool because it focuses more on creativity and inspiration. :)


    1. I've tried planning my writing projects, but it didn't work for me. I make a big outline for the general plot, then just start writing. I hold on to the plot, but there are Always so many unexpected things popping up when I don't plan everything :)

  7. Your techniques are very interesting and some are effective, because I do it too. Thank you for this post, you somehow inspired me!!


    1. It makes me so happy to hear I inspired you, you don't know how much that means to me!

  8. I don't write, I come up with theatre acts, but it's basically the same thing. Except when I'm out of inspiration, I device myself to it. Like, I just make my actors do random stuff on stage, putting on different kinds of music and lights to influence them, and 95 % of what comes out of it is absolutely non-usable, but the last 5 % are usually really awesome. I think sometimes it's necessary to have those ten really bad ideas before you get the good one!

    1. You know, I like all the comments I get, but yours is definitely the most interesting one. I can really picture the process with music and lights and exploring all the possibilities. Too bad I can't do that with my writing XD
      A lot of the ideas I get when I'm out of inspiration is useless too, but the things that are useable are, like you say, very awesome :)


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