Inspiration does not strike in the most opportune times. I’ve waited for days to find solutions to problems in my writing, or to come up with the idea for a new story. You cannot only write the you are inspired, for if you do, you’ll never complete anything.
Sometimes, you are left with no other option but to write through the lows. You write until you become inspired. As I’ve written more and more, I’ve gotten better at finding ways to write even if I don’t have a solution right there, or helping find inspiration for myself. Often I’ll switch gears and try and work on a different piece of writing, or work on something else entirely.
Hemingway had said that while he only wrote around 500 words a day, he would always stop when he know what was going to happen next. That way, he never had trouble picking it up at the crack of dawn the next morning.
This week, I thought I would share some of the things I do to get past writer’s block, and share some of my inspirations with you.
Some of my biggest inspirations are other writers. Often, when I’m in a slump, I’ll open up some work that I love to see what others are doing. Usually, this entails some short story and poetry collections. As of late, I’ve been fascinated by All of us; The Collected Poems of Raymond Carver, and the short story collection A Hand Reached Down to Guide Us, by David Gates.
I am also a big fan of quotes, and will read excerpts from other authors and novelists I respect such as Haruki Marukami, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Raymond Chandler and Ben Lerner.
I love art, and wander through the Art Institute here in Chicago every chance I get. The work there is fantastic and always leaves me inspired and ready to create. Just because it isn’t your discipline, doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate it. Seeing anything produced at the top of its craft is marvelous to observe.
I keep 3 inspirational folders on my computer, one for Art, one for Cinematography, and the last for Photography. And as of today, I’m opening those up to you. In addition to the folders I keep on my computer, I am uploading them all to Google Drive for your enjoyment and perusal. You can see it by clicking here.
Often, when I have nothing to go on, I look through the images and see what calls to me that day. Hopefully they’ll do the same for you. Of course, I don’t own the copyrights for nearly any of these works, so they’re for your own benefit only.
Oh also, this Inspirational Artworks Blogspot page is pretty nice. If you want to discuss specific artists or works, feel free to contact me.
I find music to be an immense source of inspiration. Music can have such an immediate and intimate effect on your emotions. It can put you in an entirely different mindset, and that is not something to take lightly.
Music is an important part of my writing process. I have a hard time listening to music with lyrics while I write, so I often turn to instrumental or soundtrack works. There are a number of artists who are my go-tos these days, including Nils Frahm, Trent Reznor, Disasterpeace, Jim Guthrie, and many more. I have a number of work-specific playlists on Spotify, like this Nils Frahm playlist, this Trent Reznor one, this video game / electronic one, and this melancholy songs one.
Another strategy of mine is to listen to a record, like the Last of Us Soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla, or the Minecraft Soundtrack by C418. A side on a record lasts roughly 22 minutes, so when I get up to flip it after having worked continuously until then, it’s roughly 1 *Pomodoro *cycle, if that’s your thing.
Finally, the last place I turn for inspiration is Twitter. Twitter is an odd social network, which hasn’t quite figured out what it wants to be yet. It’s not profitable or wide-spread like Facebook, nor nearly as good for communication, but it does offer a great introspective look into the lives of creators.
Here are some of my favorite accounts:
@AlejodoEnglish — Translates tweets from Alejandro Jorodowski to English. Great aphorisms for the modern age.
@ChillAnimeBeats — Posts short loops of chill “lo-fi” hip-hop beats over classic anime edits. Just a great place to relax.
@SimonStalenhag — A tremendous illustrator, who often mixes sci-fi with his Swedish upbringing.
@TSElibot — T.S. Eliot quotes.
@DailyKerouac — Jack Kerouac quotes.
@DailyHemingway — Hemingway quotes.
@Chandlerisms — Chandler quotes.
@NeinQuarterly — An American professor of German, who spouts modern aphorisms like he’s Nietzsche’s normal cousin.
@osavox — Multimedia artist and friend of mine who posts great photos and art.
@neauoire — Devine Lu Linvega, a developer and artist living on a boat with @RekkaBell, who together are Hundred Rabbits. An incredibly inspiring designer, developer, musician, and artist. his website xxiivv.com is tremendous as well.
@QuietPineTrees — T. R. Darling, one of the best twitterature writers out there, who posts mostly micro-fiction contained to 140 characters.
Whew. That was a lot. But I hope it offers you some sort of starting place to pull yourself from the abyss. Now go out there and make something.