No one creates in a vacuum. In this video, learn to take a responsible break from your own writing to get inspired by your favorite creators.
there's nothing more inspiring than someone who has solved a similar problem before. I'm talking about the greats. I'm talking about writing masters. Novelists, screenwriters, poets, essayists, bloggers, journalists, anyone that you admire or look up to can be a great source of renewed motivation for your project I guarantee you they've struggled too. It may not seem that way when you read or watch their final product but they did. That final project didn't just come out of them that way, fully formed and with no challenges. Your writing idol, whoever that may be, was at one point or another in your shoes, sitting in front of a blank screen or notebook, listening to crickets chirp inside their heads thinking, "I'll never finish this thing." During every single book that I've ever written, there's been a point where I thought I would give up, where I said to myself, "This isn't working. "It will never work. "I'll just give the publisher their money back "and go deal blackjack in Vegas instead." And you know what? Every single one of those books got finished, using one or a combination of the tools that I'm giving you here. I'm just saying, we've all been there. You are not alone. So keeping that in mind, sometimes when you're stuck or feeling uninspired or it's just getting too difficult, the best thing you can do is immerse yourself in greatness. Find something inspiring to read, watch or listen to and tell yourself they were here too and look how great it turned out. I'll tell you, some of the hardest books I've ever written have been sequels or second books in a series. "Unforgotten," the sequel to "Unremembered," ridiculously hard. And more recently, I co-wrote a book called "Between Burning Worlds," which is the sequel to my sci-fi re-imagining of "Les Miserables," "Sky Without Stars." Hardest book I've ever written, period. And that was my 18th novel. You'd think it would get easier. It doesn't. Not really, anyway. I gather more tools and I find more ways around obstacles, yes. I gather experience but writing a novel or any project is always hard and there are always challenges and because of that, it is always a rewarding experience when I finish. That's why I keep doing this job. If it were easy, I'd probably have quit years ago. So how did I get through both of those sequels? By watching and reading about a hundred other sequels and telling myself, "They did it. "You can too." For about three months in the writing of each of my sequels, I immersed myself in other sequels. "The Empire Strikes Back," "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Bourne Supremacy," "Terminator 2," "Toy Story 2," whatever I could find. I also went back and re-read some of my favorite novel sequels, "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, "Siege and Storm" by Leigh Bardugo, "Scarlet" by Marissa Meyer. I read and I watched and I absorbed and I studied. I broke down plot structure and character arcs and world building. Sometimes, just taking a closer look at someone who has does it well in your opinion can not only be inspiring but it can be illuminating and educational. To implement this tool, there are several ways you can get inspired by the greats so let's take a look at them. One, study great plots. If you're writing fiction like a novel, a short story or a screenplay, try watching a movie or reading a book that is similar in tone or genre. This can be a great way to clear your head and perhaps see your story problems in a new light. Sometimes we get so stuck in the world we've created for our story, we have a hard time seeing outside the walls of that world. Watching someone else's brilliance, can often help break us out of our own limitations and inspire brilliance of our own. and copy someone else's plot. In fact, I highly discourage that but seeing how someone else dealt with similar plots can really open your mind to new possibilities. Two, re-read your all-time favorite book or a few passages from it. This applies to all writers. Inspiration can come from anywhere but I often find it comes from someone I admire. One of the reasons I became a writer was because I was so inspired by some of my favorite authors. I thought, "I want to do that." So sometimes, just taking a few moments to revisit a book that you absolutely adore, fiction or non-fiction, can remind you of why you're doing what you do and give you something to aspire to. Read an article on a similar topic that you're writing about. Sometimes when we're stuck, it's simply because we're not familiar enough with the topic we've chosen to write about or we're simply stuck in a certain mindset about something and unable to see our project clearly. Reading other writers' perspectives and learning more about your topic, whether that be fiction or non-fiction, can really help shift your perspective and bust you out of your writing slump. Four, listen to a podcast on writing. If there is one thing there is no shortage of, it's podcasts and the number of podcasts out there devoted to writing will blow your mind. These podcasts talk about all manner of things relating to writing and many of them often interview writers about their process. This is a fantastic way to get a behind-the-scenes look on how other writers struggle with their projects and how they get out of those struggles and you never know when someone is going to say something that sparks a fire inside of you. Restoring that inspiration or breaking you out of your current blockage. Check out the pdf that came with this course for writer podcast recommendations. I've linked to a few podcasts that I've enjoyed to get you started but feel free to seek out your own as well. Five, take a writing course. Oh, wait, you're already doing that. No, but seriously. There are a ton of great writing courses out there besides this one, of course, that can help you plot, build characters, build worlds, generate ideas, improve your writing, improve your structure, basically, any topic you can think of. Six, go to a local bookstore to see an author speak. If you live in or near a major city, I guarantee you that authors stop there and do book signings and more often than not, the author will often do a presentation and a Q & A session where you can ask questions. Seeing an author speak always inspires me to run home and write. In the pdf that came with this course, you'll find a link to indiebound.org that will help you search for your closest independent bookstore. Independent bookstores are where authors most often do signings. Visit the site of the independent bookstore and click events. Almost all independent bookstores have an event tab on their menu. Scroll through the list of events and find an upcoming event for an author who interests you. Most of the time, the events are absolutely free. Sometimes, however, the purchase of the author's most recent book is required to attend, although I always recommend buying a copy of one of the author's books as a matter of courtesy but either way, you can sit in the audience and just absorb all of the author's wisdom or you can even ask a question about how they deal with their own blockages and doubt. I'm pretty sure you'll leave feeling inspired. So those are some of the ways you can implement this tool. Keep in mind, however, watching a movie, reading a book or article, listening to a podcast, taking a course or going to an author event should not be done in place of writing. I still recommend you write every single day, even if it's just five words. See the Write Five Words tool for more information about that. The Get Inspired By the Greats tool should be used separately, either after or before you've written to get you ready for your next writing session.