The muse is a cruel mistress that plays by her own rules. Following her is a fool’s errand. It’s her job to make sure she follows you. If you have to wait for inspiration in order to write, who knows when you’ll write again? I know exactly what it’s like when the mind is dominated by adult topics like bills, work, and pink elephants. Which is why it’s even more important to get into the right zone before writing. Here are a few quick and dirty tips on how to get and stay inspired. No more staring contests between you and the blank page.
Whether it’s a new project or toying with an older one, it helps to make a mindmap of all the themes that tie in to your novel. It is easier to start with general topics related to your story, but at some point they have to be narrowed down to a set of themes. Preferably one, but two at most. It’s easier than it sounds, I know. Aren’t most things? It’s just a matter of practise. It helps to maintain focus.
Once you have one or two themes that relate to your novel, you start making a collage. You can use Pinterest for this, but you can also use printed images and make an actual collage. It’s a lot of fun. Most people are visual and images can be incredibly inspiring when you’re trying to get into the vibe of a story. You can collect images of characters, the setting, objects that invoke the energy you’re trying to go for, anything!
Lastly, you can make either a list or a mindmap about the plot and characters. You write one-liners about the plot and any subplots, as well as on the characters. Play around with it. Whatever you write down, it’s not set in stone. Your laptop isn’t going to explode if you change your mind later. Sometimes you can plan and have your characters go rogue. Use the images as inspiration. Also keep in mind your theme(s). Link your characters to the themes, whether they support the theme or conflict with it. That way you can also root out the protagonist and antagonist.
Surround yourself with possibilities and explore them. It’s your adventure.