Finding Inspiration – Tips for Beating a Case of Writer’s Cramp
One thing we all go through, no matter what it is we do for a living, is fight for inspiration. For writers especially this can be a problem; call it writer’s cramp or the writer’s cramp, but whatever we call it we face it. We can sit down, our minds filled with words and ideas, but when the fingers touch the keys the words just don’t seem to translate our sentiments. Another common plague is that we can often become bored with our own words, our own writing styles, and our own approaches. The beauty of literature is the variety, no two authors have the same writing style; we are like fingerprints, unique and nearly impossible to replicate. The problem is the fact that when you write your own words, you can easily find yourself bored of your own work. But we can actually use these moments of complacency to inspire ourselves, because in these moments we have the opportunity to grow and expand our skill set. Everyone has their own techniques to breaking writer’s cramp, but these are my techniques to getting out of the writer’s cramp.
Go back to your roots: Handwrite
Personally, one of the best ways to get myself out of my rut is to go to my roots and handwrite articles. When I started writing I did 100% of it on paper. I never had a laptop, and to be quite honest, I didn’t want people to see what I was writing on the computer. My writing used to be a very personal thing that I shared with absolutely no one. I used to have binders of written articles, poetry, and other things stashed away in my room like a teenager’s playboy magazines. Try this simple trick and I think you’ll find that putting pen to paper gives you a more creative feel. Maybe because it’s my handwriting that I seeing, but something about it makes it feel more personal.
Look at pictures
When writing about travel sometimes we do so days or weeks after going to a location, and it’s hard to hold onto the feeling of a location. What I end up doing sometimes is go through old pictures and basically dump my brain speaking out loud. I will look at a picture and go over the following: 1) It looks like… 2) It smells like… 3) It tastes like… 4) It feels like… Look at each detail of the picture and describe it. Generally, after saying those things out loud, even if you can’t come up with a sense for everything, you’ll have a paragraph to write for each picture. Take your 4 or 5 favourite pictures from the place you are writing about and do this, I guarantee your work will improve and be more creative.
Use a tape recorder
Sometimes we have all these great thoughts and quotes bundled up in our heads but when we hit the keys the thoughts don’t come out fast enough, or the right way. One simple trick is to turn on a tape recorder and just dump all your thoughts out. At first it might seem strange, but in the end you’ll find that you can think out load a lot faster than you can type, and you’ll have no problem getting all your thoughts out.
It seems backwards to read when you are trying to write, but it seems to do the trick for me a lot of times. Also, try to read an author that you’ve never read before. Each author has a different writing style and although your goal should not be to copy their style you may be able to take some of their creativity and put it to use in your own style. I have in the past also read in French, Spanish and Portuguese as a means of expanding my creativity. Usually by the time I have read even a little bit I am full of ideas. As you read, keep a notepad at your side in case any great ideas come to mind as you are reading.
I am very guilty of using the same descriptive adjectives far too often in my writing, and although most wouldn’t notice this, I do, and it drives me crazy. As such, every now and then I will mark down words that I want to work into articles in the future. The simple challenge of trying to work these words into your articles will spark your creativity. Also, don’t be afraid to use the synonyms button on Microsoft Word, it is not cheating, it is helping.
Always keep a notepad with you
I think that this is the biggest mistake that most writers make, is that they don’t carry anything to write on. You should get into the habit of carrying a tiny notepad in your pocket with a pen in case any great ideas, or quotes, come to mind. How many times have you thought of something at random and thought “oh, that’s a great line” only to forget it or twist it later on? I have some of my best thoughts in the most random places, and carrying a pen and pad in my pocket allows me the ability to jot down my thoughts wherever I may be and work them into articles later on. You can also pack a tape recorder if you like, but be prepared for strange looks when you begin talking into it on the Metro.
Do you have secrets for getting rid of writer’s cramp ? Share them in the comment box below.