Finding Inspiration to Write

Hello! At the moment I’m waiting on replies from agents, as well as trying (and failing) to study for my A Level exams – that are only two and a half weeks away now. It still hasn’t sunk in.

I’ve also been hard at work trying to complete Villainous, which I’ll probably start querying one day if Soul Seeker doesn’t work out. I’m very close to the end, but I’ve hit a wall. The dreaded writer’s block has claimed me at last.

BUT as I’ve been writing books since I was 12, I know a way around it! Kind of.

Writer’s block or artist’s block affects us all at some point. It’s terrible, sitting and staring at a blank screen, knowing roughly what you want to write but not having the motivation or inspiration to turn your thoughts into words. Sometimes typing one sentence feels like a massive effort.

First tip: close the Word document and get away from your computer. Staring at that screen will only frustrate you – and you need some time away from your story. If you force yourself to write, the result won’t be good because there’ll be no passion behind it. It shouldn’t feel like a chore!

Second tip: watch or read something you like. For example, reread your favourite books. Put on that TV show you’ve been wanting to watch for ages. Your creative mind needs time to rest and recharge, and this is one of the best ways to do it! Seriously – dive into something you’re passionate about. You might even remember what aspect of your story gripped you when you first thought of it – and then you’ll want to return to the computer to carry on writing it.

Third tip: go for a walk, meet up with friends, go somewhere new, or just do some errands that you’ve been putting off! If you’re anything like me, at least a small percentage of your mind is always mulling over story ideas, and while you’re focusing on these other tasks something might just click! It always happens when you least expect it – story ideas have popped into my head at the most random times.

In my case, I’m about to write the chunk of Villainous that is the war. The culmination of the whole quest so far. But I’ve never written a fight that’s on such a large scale – I’m picturing what I want to happen and thinking of The Lord of the Rings – so I’ve decided to put it to one side for now. I want to do Villainous justice, I can’t force myself to write the most important scenes in the book when I feel worn out. (One reason for this might also be because of my looming exams, but I’m trying not to think about those right now. I am revising. I swear.)

So my plan at the moment is to continue reading A Court Of Wings And Ruin, the third ACOTAR book by Sarah J Maas! Oh, Sarah’s books. Sarah is my idol – I’m in love with every single one of the characters she’s created. She owns my heart. As ACOWAR is the only book she’s written that I haven’t read all of, I think it’ll be the best remedy for my writer’s block. I’m only halfway through so far and I’m so in love!

It doesn’t help that I’m anxiously waiting for an agent to reply to me, too. And trying to stay away from my emails. Supposedly the publishing industry is 90% waiting, and I’m a very impatient person, sooo…

I hope this has helped anyone struggling with writer’s block at the moment! Even if you haven’t started a book but you’re trying to think of ideas for one – these tips still apply. Try them out and see what happens! What do you find works for you?

Why I Write

I think the real question here is… why don’t I write? I’ve seen a lot of authors answer this question by saying they wanted to send a message, make a point, or change something in society. Which is amazing.

But my main reason is that I enjoy telling stories. I always have. I love creating new worlds and characters, writing descriptions that can paint a picture or inspire a certain emotion.

I get very attached to my own characters, too. They have their own voices, personalities, and I can see them – everything – vividly while I write, as if the book is a movie in my head and I need to somehow translate these images onto paper. I feel like there’s a part of myself in each character I create, even the villains, and I love making them complex, figuring out their backstories, and how their relationships develop as the story goes on.

I write because it kind of gets me through life. I can use it to escape into another world for a few hours, and get away from stress. Coming back to the characters after a while feels like meeting up with friends you haven’t seen for months. It’s the same as getting lost in one of your favourite books, only this one is mine. I make the rules.

I hope I can make someone feel the way I feel about my book. I want someone to read it and feel excited or nervous during an action scene the same way my heart pounded when I wrote it. My dream is for someone to read my novel and tell me their life has been changed for the better by my story, or that a certain scene moved them, or they’re in love with the characters.

I want it to be a comfort and an escape for someone else the same way it is for me while I’m writing it.

I honestly think that I put a piece of my heart and soul (ha, that’s ironic) inside the book when I write. When showing it to other people I feel vulnerable, like my secrets have been laid bare and someone’s going to find out something important about me by reading. Which is strange to think, because I’m not writing as myself in my books – it’s the characters’ voices, not mine. It’s weird how personal books can be, despite fantasy being so far removed from my everyday life.

I’m drawn to fantasy and historical fiction. Stories that challenge the norm, stories that pitch you into new worlds and surround you with the impossible. Who needs real life when you have magic? I love exploring these sorts of worlds as I write and describe. I love creating complex characters, delving into their emotions and their motives. When I write, I’m going on the journey with these characters. Sometimes I’m discovering things at the same time they are. Writing can be intense and emotional and it can seem worthless sometimes when you don’t get anything from your efforts, but I’m trying. And I’ll never give up. Ever.

I also feel emotions very keenly when I write. There’s one line in Soul Seeker that I wrote, in the middle of a very highly-strung, emotionally charged scene – and I typed the full stop, read it back to myself, and the impact hit me like a ton of bricks. I really felt what this one particular character was realising in that moment – part of his life had just crumbled around him. It felt like it had just happened to me, not him!

That being said, although I feel pained and I tend to laugh out loud at my characters’ sarcastic comments or jokes (please don’t judge me), I’ve never cried while writing a scene. I’ve come close, once. But we’ll see… I have a few heartbreaking scenes planned later on in the Soul Seeker Series…