When seeking inspiration, I imagine there are infinite approaches, but my approach often leads off with a brainstorming onslaught. I figure that if I smack my brain enough times something is bound to break loose.
So far it’s working.
Despite having more than enough to work on, including editing work on more than twenty short stories and several new short story ideas, I also have my novel, which has now survived a couple of editing passes. Pleased with the novel thus far, I decided less than a week ago I’d reached a point where I was willing to pursue my protagonist’s story further. I wasn’t starting from zero, though. I knew the series end in a general sense (always subject to change) and, based on events in the first book, I could see the second book’s beginning, though it was hazy.
Thus, the brainstorming onslaught. Does it sound amazing and magical? Sorry, it isn’t. It’s more about rotating inspiring stimulation and meditative periods.
The stimulation part consists of:
• Assembling music playlists and experimenting with mixes while I’m working.
• Viewing art and photos (my collections on Pinterest, for example).
• Researching via online, library, museums, or traveling.
• Pursuing my own artistic hobbies like photography or drawing.
• Examining the maps I’ve created and working on new ones.
• Creating diagrams. This isn’t really mind mapping…more like diagraming the movements of all the major characters against a map background and noting what they’re doing. I like to see movement.
• Free writing, both on the computer and by hand.
A constant barrage of stimuli work better if balanced with time for the brain to process what’s provided:
• When I first sit down to meditate ideas often appear as all the junk in my brain clears out. • I note them and move on.
• Taking walks and spending time in parks. Hiking and exercising, too.
• Nothing like a relaxing bath.
• Distraction also works. Boring, everyday tasks like washing dishes, vacuuming, or doing laundry help to trick my brain into addressing ideas without realizing that’s what it’s doing.
What’s important is that I force myself out of whatever comfort zone I’ve created while writing and editing. Think of it as alternating between running and walking. Too, my lists above are nowhere comprehensive. This is a sampling and certainly other activities would work for other people. What’s important is that it’s working for YOU.
And once those ideas begin to bounce off each other the real magic begins.