I’ve written a lot of poetry in the past and its ok, but it’s getting to the point to where it almost about the same thing every time and It’s burning me out bad. I would like to go in a different direction with my poetry, but the thing is I don’t know how. So with that in mind, how do you guys get inspired to write? What methods or strategies do you guys use to help you get inspired? I am very curious.
I steal your ideas while you sleep.
Joking aside, inspiration is a pretty personal things, which is why I find a lot of authors tend to roll their eyes when they get asked this question at conventions when it comes up.
What works for one person doesn’t work for another, and so on and so forth.
But that said, sometimes you can find your own inspiration in others, sooooo…
Long walks. Dreams. Reading fiction in the genre I am writing.
Pictures. Write Now! series of books and their exercises.
Sex. Music. Chatting with fellow writers.
And a lot more.
Personally, there is no formula or strategy as to what inspires me. It just happens. It can be in a flash or it can be in a slow burn rising to a bursting firework.
If you are stuck and wanting to get inspired, I suggest looking at your past and seeing what has inspired you previously.
Do you feel like doing poetry after listening to a rousing piece of classical music? Then consider getting a few collections of said music and give it a listen.
Do you find that going for a walk through a forest brings about ideas? Then do that.
Getting attacked by bees get your creative fluids moving? There you go.
Really, the best way to get inspired is to pay attention to what does it for you, or, what got you to write the poetry you are currently burned out on in the first place. What inspired you to write that kind of poetry? Start there and then look through your everyday life to see what catches your eye, what gets you daydreaming, what makes you want to put pen to paper.
And then do that.
If you continue to struggle, I suggest getting a book called “Around the Writer’s Block” by Rosanne Bane
If there is one book I can’t pimp enough, it’s this one.
You can train your brain to help you be creatively minded through a few simple techniques, and this book helps you discover what you can do to basically alter your brain to help you write.
Anyway, that’s my two cents.
If you want to go in a different direction with your poetry, I’d say try reading poetry that’s different from what you typically read or write. For me, some of the best inspiration comes indirectly, from reading widely and kind of building up a mental compost pile. When I was writing poetry regularly, I took a lot of poetry anthologies out of the library and then sought out more work from the poets that interested me there. Now, of course, there’s lots of stuff online – you might try Poetry Daily and The Writer’s Almanac for new poems posted every day. Make lists of words and phrases you like in what you read; copy favorites by hand into a journal. Don’t worry too much about understanding what you read.
I’d also suggest looking at art (in person if you have a museum available to you, or online or in books) and listening to music – again, go outside your comfort zone of typical stuff and follow whatever intrigues you.
I get my best ideas when I’m high.
Thank you guys so much for the advice. Sorry for taking so long to reply back.
I am taken by things, but it’s a very short term effect. The excitement of starting and finishing projects is elating.
For me it’s mostly music that inspires me. The genre of the music really doesn’t matter; I’ve found inspiration in everything from Metal and Rock to movie soundtrack scores. About the only genre I haven’t found inspiration in yet is country
My best ideas usually come to me like a flash from the sky. But there aren’t nearly enough of those to keep me busy, so I also actively “construct” story ideas by saying to myself something like, “Hey, you haven’t written a Western yet, have you?” and then conflating said Western into an SF piece. Or, I’ll take several “partial” story ideas, like a setting designed for one failed story attempt and a plot meant for another, and conflate them into something interesting. Sometimes I just come up with an interesting protagonist and he creates a world and plot for himself. Worst case, when I have no other ideas at all, I look at what sells and try to satisfy purely my financial needs. But this truly is a last resort-- it’s much harder work than the fun stuff and wouldn’t be worth the effort, save that it keeps the writing muscles fit and strong.
I draw a lot of inspiration from the people around me and things that have happened (or are happening) in my life.
Writing conbook stories helps me stretch my brain out a bit because they often use themes that I am not familiar with. I also get a deadline and word limit to work around which adds just a bit of pressure, too.
You know that little voice in your head that goes “That’s stupid”? Ignore it and listen to the one that says: “What if?”
Please forgive my saying so, but I think that voice is often vocal because certain ideas are, in fact, stupid. ^.^;
Sure they are. The skill is making that stupid idea plausible and interesting.
As the world will learn when I get round to writing ‘Planet of the Pool Toys’
Well, I’m intrigued.
However, I don’t retract my point. There are plenty of ideas that simply won’t do.
Getting back to the original question, sounds like what it boils down to is do/read/write something different or outside of your comfort zone.
If we get into a rut in our life, our work does the same.
Hey, everybody! Dronon has just posted on Flayrah that a new furry mammal has been discovered in the Ecuador and Colombia rainforests; the olinguito. And it’s cute!
Now how long will it be before we see anthro olinguitos in our stories and poetry?
The olinguito’s actually been discovered for about a year now, if I recall correctly. It’s already flooded FA since it was, so I won’t be surprised if it makes it to written works soon.
Music is a great start for me, especially new music I haven’t heard before. I go looking for artists who can songwrite, in particular, and leave room for ambiguity enough in their lyrics to build my own story around their song.
Carbon Leaf is a band I turn to very regularly for inspiration.
The Weakerthans are headed by a lyricist who is an English major, so every one of their songs is a series of lyrically evocative narratives.
As an example of inspiration, here’s a new French-Italian animated movie, “Mune”, that’s described as crossing Marvel’s “the Amazing Spider-Man” with Disney’s “Bambi”. Okay.
That reminds me that the Japanese animator-cartoonist Osamu Tezuka had fun creating animation and characters out of the most unlikely mashups that he could think of. Combine Walt Disney with Stanley Kubrick? “Phoenix 2772”. Combine Sherlock Holmes with Elmer Fudd? Sharaku, the Three-Eyed Boy. Combine his own Astro Boy with a cat? Atom Cat, a.k.a. “A Tomcat” – that’s Tezuka’s own pun in English, which he claimed that he didn’t speak.
Talking about mashups has reminded me of one of the most imaginative books that I’ve ever read; the s-f novel “Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy” by Matt Ruff (Atlantic Monthly Press, January 1997). I read it shortly after it was published, over 15 years ago, so I won’t try to write a detailed review now, but so many scenes still remain vivid when I think about it today: set in NYC in 2023 with a Manhattan financier beaten to death with an autographed first edition of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”; two killer robots designed to look like Amos ‘n Andy stalking their victim through the girders of a skyscraper under construction; the last living Black man on Earth as the captain of the “Yabba Dabba Doo”, a pirate submarine lookalike of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine but painted green with white polka dots, hiding in a reactivated secret Nazi U-boat base beneath the Statue of Liberty from the naval hunters captained by ancient Queen Elizabeth II who are after him; what the cryogenic lab disguised as Walt Disney’s frozen tomb is really used for; and much more. The only subplot that might be called anthropomorphic is about a slob in a dirty T-shirt in a tenement who is drinking beer while watching the movie “Jaws” on TV, unaware that the giant white shark in the movie has entered NYC’s sewers, encountered the radioactive glop from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, grown legs, and is now coming through his tenement’s hallway to eat him. I was extremely impressed by Ruff’s ability to make this scene, and much of the novel, both absolutely hilarious and absolutely terrifying at the same time; not to mention making the novel (which has a tightly written single plot) seem completely original when it is almost entirely composed of mashups of well-known elements. That’s imagination!
Here are two s-f “end of the world” paperbacks that came out almost simultaneously in 1959, American reprints of British originals, that were so opposite that I wondered at the time if the authors knew each other and deliberately wrote the two novels to be such opposite extremes. One was “After the Rain” by John Bowen (a pseudonym), where a nonstop rain like Noah’s flood drowns the world.
The other was “The Tide Went Out” by Charles Eric Maine (another pseudonym), where a new super-bomb is being tested in the Pacific, it blows a hole in the bottom of the ocean, all the water drains into the center of the Earth, and the world dies of thirst. I remember being very impressed by how hard the author obviously worked to make his goofy scenario seem straight-faced plausible, as opposed to potboilers that were just plain ludicrously Bad Science, like having Denver, Colorado wiped out by a big tsunami, or a Richter scale-20 earthquake (the Richter scale only goes up to 10).
Is anyone familiar with Erle Stanley Gardner’s few attempts at science fiction before he settled on writing mysteries exclusively, such as “Rain Magic” (Argosy All-Story, October 20, 1928), where the White Hero and The Girl Who Must Be Rescued get into a boat just off New York City and let the world rotate beneath them until they come to the South Pacific island where they want to be, and land. (Whereupon The Girl has to be immediately rescued from ooga-booga cannibals, as I recall. This summary may not be entirely accurate; it’s been a long time since I read a 1963 reprint.)
This is inspiration, of a sort. At least these stories show that authors can get their inspiration from anything. What if Richter scale earthquakes went beyond 10? The Flood is commonplace; what if you did the opposite? How would you make the whole world turn into a parched desert? How would you apply any of these to furries? Some disaster dooms humanity, and the only hope is to bioengineer people into dolphins, if it’s a Flood, or into tortoiselike reptiles if it’s the opposite.