Tuesday, August 26, 2014

10 tips for Romancing your Muse (and Divorcing Writer's Block)

As a fantasy writer, I can generally find inspiration in anything. Here are 10 ways that work for me:

1)  A solid sleep pattern, some exercise, and good nutrition. (Okay, I fail at most of these three, but it doesn't mean you can't try)

2) A personal thesaurus. I have a journal filled with altenate words for the ones I tend to use often, turns of phrase, and varied descriptions for emotions, colors, buildings, trees etc;

3) A journal of the world and characters. I keep sketches, details, pictures and notes that inspire me. I've made a journal for every world I've ever written.

4) The library. I can browse a variety of subjects: history, science, mythology, sociology, architecture...anything that might spark my imagination.

5) Word tin. Remember those magnetic poetry kits? Whenever a word catches my fancy, I write it on a cardboard tab and put it in a tin. Occasionally, I'll dump the tabs out and come up with all sorts of interesting word combinations, some I might actually be able to use.

6) Music. If I need intense emotion in a scene I'm writing, I'll listen to music that reflects that mood.

7) Pinterest and the websites of my favorite artists. These sometimes give me great visual or atmospheric inspiration.

8) Get away. I'll take a walk, re-pot plants, clean my house, shop, work on something else. And I'll return to the story renewed.

9) Read. After 20 years of writing, I think I've found my own voice, so I don't worry about taking on the voices of others. Reading other authors keeps me from going stale.

10) Watch a film. I'll choose a film that reminds me of the scene or mood I'm trying to convey. When I want to write a scary scene, I'll watch a scary movie...

If you have any tips for temporary writer's block, feel free to comment!


  1. Argh, it ate my comment. But anyway, to paraphrase: this is a good list, great for inspiration! Music definitely helps.

    For temporary writer's block, I usually just change location. Switching from my desk to my dining room table, or to the library or to a coffee shop if I need ambient noise (you can mimic it here for free!). Another trick is to grab some writer friends and engage in friendly word wars, where you write hard for 15 minutes and share word counts and your favorite sentences at the end. Writing can get lonely, but somehow knowing others are suffering just as much can be the motivation some people need. :)

    And then there's just blocking out the sites that suck up time and attention. StayFocusd, you are a godsend.

    1. I like that idea. I used to write with a couple of friends. And I don't have to worry about websites--I write the first 2 drafts with old-fashioned pen and paper!

    2. I've got a couple of friends local now where we meet up every other friday or saturday and do nothing but snark at each other. ...and write. I guess we write, too. But there's always a lot explaining about science.

      I was about to say old-fashioned pen and paper? Your poor hand! And then I looked at my wrists and was like, right. Yeah, no throwing stones when you live in a glass house, Lexie.