“A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words”:
The “Inspiration Book” is a great idea to help with writers’ block! Go through a variety of magazines and cut out pictures of people, places, and situations that catch your eye. Be brave and search through publications you might not normally read (i.e. Field and Stream, People, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, etc.). You never know what you might find. When you have a good selection, put them in a binder and divide them into categories such as “Character”, “Setting”, and “Plot”. When you need inspiration for something to write about, look through your pictures and select a character, setting, and plot and use them to “jump-start” your creativity. Sometimes it is easier to describe people and situations when you have something tangible in front of you to look at, rather than trying to create purely from memory or thought. If you are looking for a challenge, close your eyes and randomly select one from each category and see what happens! The pictures may seem totally unrelated at first, but your imagination will guide you through an amazing (but tough) literary journey! You may even end up with a great comedy!
Writers need to be great observers and listeners. You should always carry a small notebook and pen with you and jot down “snapshots of life” (i.e. snippets of conversations you hear at the bus stop, descriptions of people waiting in line at the bank, the emotions that flow when you look into the eyes of your child, or the taste of your favourite pizza). If done discretely, people won’t think you are a pervert or a stalker and you will have a wealth of “data” to use in your future writing creations! Especially if something pops into your head while you are doing laundry, or if you have an interesting dream – write it down right away because you will forget it later! Capture the moments as they happen.
Read, write, read, write, read, and write! The more you read, the more you learn and the more you write, the more you will improve. Branch out and read different styles of books, from the “greats” to the “not so greats” – from Hemmingway to Stephen King, to a new author on the scene. See what is out there, and what people want and like to read. Look through magazines that you are interested in and see what kinds of stories they publish. Is there something you could write about in your area that might satisfy their requirements? Writing is like a sport – you need to warm up first and practice, practice, practice! You can’t peel yourself off the couch after ten years of inactivity, leap onto your rusty old bike and win the Tour de France! You need to stretch, limber up, get in shape, maintain your equipment and start off slowly. Eventually you will be able to go the long haul, but start off with baby steps. The same holds true for writing. You need to get a decent computer (or pen and paper will do for now), learn the basics of writing (you may already have them, or you will hopefully learn them through this website), brush up on you skills, take a deep breath and start writing something – anything to get you headed down the path of writing. Soon you’ll be busting through the finish line of your first book!
Most importantly, surround yourself with loved ones and people who share your joy of writing and reading. They will inspire you and give you the strength to follow your dreams. Writing for profit is a TOUGH business to crack into. Write first because you love the craft and your passion will ignite your work. Only then will you be a great writer (maybe not a rich author, but a great writer!). Have patience and faith that hard work does pay off. It may take years, but hang in there ! And lastly, savour the small victories and use them to fuel your spirit. If but one person is inspired or touched by your writing, then you will have fulfilled your dream!