Writing, writing tips

Monday Minute: Creating Inspiration

This past weekend, I was looking at some literary magazines and found one that I really liked. I even ended up buying an issue of it to read the submissions. After mulling over what I might want to submit to them though, I came up empty.

I set out to write a short story but felt unsatisfied. Short stories are really an art and I think every budding writer should start out with short stories. Stephen King did.

Learning the art of the short story is something I want to do. Usually, I’m full of ideas. Those ideas don’t always pan out though. I tried another approach and when I did the Beatles song “She’s Leaving Home” sprang to mind as inspiration for the story.

This snowballed and I Googled “songs for story inspiration”, which led me to this article called “Let Song Lyrics Inspire Your Next Story” by Jennifer Blanchard on how you can use music as a writing prompt.

Lately, it feels as if there’s no water in the well–if you catch my drift. It feels as if there’s nothing flowing. It made me realize that I have to go and look for inspiration–that it doesn’t always pop up out of nowhere. You have to be on the lookout for that idea and fill your mind.

These are some activities that help me:

  • Browsing through Pinterest photos and pining them for later reference.
  • Studying song lyrics and interpreting their meaning. It’s amazing how many different ways a lyric can be interpreted.
  • Admiring artwork, especially Waterhouse paintings. These are really beautiful.
  • Reading and analyzing writers  who are published in these magazines. When you read their work, you get a feel for the style the magazine editors look for in narratives pieces. We shouldn’t ever mimic their ideas but instead the techniques and tools these writers use.

Already I feel more inspired and I feel that I have a starting point. I’ve learned that stories don’t always have to come from personal experiences but from the sounds, sights and people around us. As writers, we can certainly bring our own experiences to a story but we can also fill in the gaps with our imagination.

What tools do you use for inspiration when you’re feeling lost?



4 thoughts on “Monday Minute: Creating Inspiration”

  1. I think constant curiosity will always serve your muse in writing. Tuning in to the emotions you feel when learning can be a great place to explore ideas. Thanks for sparking my curiosity with your post and accompanying question.

    1. That’s a great way of looking at it. It’s true that when you’re curious you learn and grow. When I think about it, those times when I’ve written my best, I’ve always been curious to explore emotions and ideas further. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. For many years, I did most of my writing in response to other writing and to things people said. I did a lot of reviewing, and sometimes a review would spin off into an essay. One of my favorite songwriters, James Keelaghan, has written some of his best songs about historical events, and another, Pete Morton, manages to write wonderful songs about what’s going on around him when he goes to the post office, or a coffee shop, or a pub. Sparks are everywhere!

    1. Hi there Susanna, sorry I took so long to respond to this! Interesting perspective. I really think songwriters are the most resourceful artists out there. One favourite music artist of mine, Lights, uses comic books or art books as inspiration pieces for her songs or even video games haha 🙂 I think other writing is a great starting point for inspiration and conversations as well. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I enjoy reading your unique perspective. 🙂

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