So what do I do when I have those disheartening days when my muse goes on vacation? Here are five things that work for me.
- Go for a walk. Walking, whether it's in the city or the country, puts a writer in touch with the world around them. For me, it helps clear my head and encourages me to take in the sights and sounds of life. It's always amazing to me how a disheveled garden, a patched roof, or even a broken cobblestone can start the imagination rolling.
- Visit the library. I enjoy the feel of books especially those with worn bindings. Just the idea that a particular book has been read so many times makes me pull it from the shelf and thumb through it. Personally since I write for kids, I spend a lot of time in the children's section. I check out the illustrations on the covers, and play word association games with the titles.
- Read books, magazines, newspapers, or even blogs, but read with a purpose and be open to ideas. It seems like I can never finish a book without wondering "What if?" or "Why?" A writer's questions can become an article, a blog, or a book of their own. This is how the idea for Search for the Red Ghost came to me. I read a book, wondered why and what if, and was inspired to write my first MG novel.
- People watch. I love to do this. For me, it's sitting on the playground and watching kids play together. I also listen to what they say, how they interact, and who is included and who is not. I have notebooks filled with snippets of conversation and interactions. They have been invaluable when working on a children's story, a picture book, or a difficult piece of dialog in one of my works in progress.
These are things that work for me. What do you do when your inspiration takes a holiday?