Now, before we start, don’t get inspiration confused with motivation; they’re quite different from each other. Simply put, motivation is getting yourself to do the actual writing. What motivates you to write isn’t the same as what inspires you to write. Motivation is helpful for getting work done but not a necessity.
Inspiration on the other hand deals more with what helps you come up with the main concept or ideas for your stories (or whatever it may be that you’re working on). In a way, inspiration is the more important of the two. This is because you can have all the motivation in the world to do something, but if you don’t have the inspiration to make something—the spark that ignites your mind full of ideas—you’re still not going to get anything done.
For instance, how many times have you been all jazzed up to do some writing, but when you sat down to start, you got stuck looking at a black page for an hour? This is because you didn’t have an idea—something which inspired you to sit down and write in the first place. Maybe you see something strange happen on your way to work and that inspires a whole story premise. You must always keep an eye open for such things. You never know what will work its way into your imagination.
One thing motivation and inspiration have in common, though, is that neither are actually required to become a writer. In fact, many of the greatest authors simply sit down and write each and every day—whether they have inspiration or are motivated. So, never make it a habit to only write when you feel “inspired.” Just use inspiration as a tool to maximize your writing potential.
One great thing about inspiration is you can get inspired from various things. I said this in another article, but whenever I have a tough time getting something good on the page, I take a break and watch one of my favorite shows. I find whenever I see something written very well, whether it be in movies or TV, it always make me want to try and top it by creating something better.
The same goes for whatever you like to read. Whenever I read a well written story it pushes me to do better with my writing. Hell, even when I see friends or family doing something that’s not writing related (like accomplishing personal goals they’ve set for themselves) it inspires me to do whatever I have to do to meet my goals.
Because without the inspiration, your writing is probably not going to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Now, that’s not saying if you aren’t feeling inspired at the moment you just shouldn’t write anything. That’s a very poor attitude to have (see Stephen King quote above).
Sometimes, you just have to put the hard work in until you get that spark of inspiration within yourself. And hopefully after putting that hard work in you can keep some of that writing inspiration with you at all times.
What it comes down to are three main factors:
- You need the self-discipline and willpower to follow a strict writing routine. That means writing even when you don’t feel like it or aren’t motivated nor inspired.
- When you get motivated to write you should use it to your advantage. And since you never know when you’ll get that intense urge to write, you should keep an idea book/sheet so you don’t waste your motivation on trying to figure out what to write.
- Always use the world around you for inspiration: whether it be story ideas, things that make you want to set life goals, or any other things that inspire positive results.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is to keep writing. You don’t need inspiration to be a writer. Nor do you need to always be motivated. All you need is a good attitude and be open to new ideas. But when that inspiration does come, take advantage of it. After all, countless novels were inspired by the random things that happen to us each and every day.
Thanks for reading. And hey, while you’re here, you should check out these other great writing articles.