Inspiration is one of those nebulous forces that many novice writers think is innate. If they don’t have it, they can’t write. That’s their excuse and they’re sticking to it. Anyone who has been at it for a lot longer will tell you: inspiration isn’t always something you’re given, sometimes you have to work for it. So, many writers have their “go-to” sources of inspiration. Here are some that might work for you as well as they work for some others.

Read, read, and read some more

A common issue with newer writers is that they know too well the genre they want to write in. Knowing what you want to write isn’t bad, of course, but sticking exclusively to that genre in your reading is. Vary your reading. If you’re writing a fantasy novel, read history, read romance novels, read thrillers, read classic literature. Otherwise, it’s all easy to ape other authors in the genre you want to be in. While homage and genre conventions aren’t bad, being more well-rounded in your reading can help you gather inspiration for ideas new to the genre, too.

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When it comes to creating and writing people, then there’s no better inspiration than people themselves. You will often find yourself basing character traits on those you recognize from people around you. But people-watching as highlighted by can help you pick on behaviors, quirks, expressions, and other factors that can end up sprouting a whole character in your head or help you better characterize one that needs a little more definition.

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Out in the wild

If you’re writing stories that take place out in the wild, then having a deep sense of what it’s actually like out there is incredibly important. If you want to write a forest well, you need to see it, smell it, breathe it in, and feel it under your feet. A little solitude and a new environment is great for thinking away from your comfort zone, but even better is when you’re not so passive about it. When you’re at the beach, check out, grab a board and get out on the waves. When you’re in the woods or at your nearest mountainside, get on your hiking boots and get walking. Exercise is another great way to get your head ticking in another direction on its own, but in the outdoors, it also helps you get more in touch with the sensation of your environment.

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Outside your wheelhouse

There is plenty of art inspired by other art. Plenty of writers use music to set scenes or grow scenes in their head.

Pieces of visual art can be the starting point for a whole narrative. Explore art outside your own pursuits or try new equipment like the best art tablet, for example.

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Talk about it

Finally, don’t neglect to talk to other writers and share their work when you can. You’re going to see narrative devices they use that could inspire some creativity of your own, or you’re going to read scenes that have you thinking “but what if it went this way?” Use to find some great online writing communities, and get involved in the conversation.

You might find yourself getting inspiration from somewhere completely different than the examples named above. Great, that’s perfect. Just take note of it so you know a source you can tap into in future.

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