If you’re like me, you’re never at a loss for story ideas. They seem as plentiful as the stars in the sky. The tough job is to focus on the glimmer of light worth following. Discerning the direction my work will take requires a knowledge of the various parts of a story that fit together into a completed manuscript, such as character, conflict, suspense, motivation, faith, romance.
Pulling all those pieces together, like a giant jig-saw puzzle, can be a challenge. When I’m tired or have worked too long, my vision for the story blurs. Sometimes the framework may be in place, but the middle remains a giant void unable to be filled. At other times, I’ve pulled in so much information that I’m unable to fit the parts into a unified whole.
Some may call that writer’s block. I think of it as being stalled, like a car that sputters and dies. When the driver repeatedly turns the key in the ignition, the engine floods and refuses to start.
“Let the car rest,” my husband would caution, which applies to the overworked writer as well.
Whether you feel blocked or stalled, try one of the following five tips for inspiration. The ideas aren’t new. We’ve all used them from time to time, but since we’re starting fresh in 2013 and gearing up for our March Speedbo, they’re worth reviewing once again.
ENHANCE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Do something nice for your writing space, whether it’s a private office, a cubbyhole in the corner of your bedroom, or an area in the kitchen you’ve claimed as your own. Engage your senses. A scented candle, soft music playing in the background, a favorite photo that recalls a special place or a relaxing trip, a plush throw covering your legs, a bouquet of flowers or a candy dish filled with chocolate can change the ordinary into something special that encourages creativity.
EMBRACE NATURE. Most of us sit for hours each day at our computers. We need to give ourselves permission to spend time outdoors. A walk in the woods, a stop at a local pond to feed the ducks, a short break to build a snowman with the kids can be welcome diversions. Pausing to enjoy the beauty and bounty of God’s creation provides a breath of fresh air for our bodies and our minds.
EXERCISE. Turn that stroll through nature into a power walk, and you’ll free the endorphins, lower your blood pressure and come back refreshed and renewed. Thirty minutes at the gym, a Zumba class, or a bike ride -- even if it’s stationary -- sweeps away the cobwebs and restores energy and enthusiasm.
MAKE A DATE WITH YOURSELF. Remember the old saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? It also applies to Jill. Reserve a few hours in your weekly schedule for something you enjoy. Go shopping at the mall, have lunch with a friend or visit a local museum. You’ll come home eager to get back to work.
MAKE TIME FOR PRAYER. I doubt Seekervillagers need to be reminded of the importance of making time for God, no matter how busy our days may be. Praising the Lord and focusing on the Divine elevates our thoughts, brings peace and nourishes our spirits and our souls. Often the answer to a story question pops into my mind when I’m in prayer as if the Lord is thanking me for spending time with Him. Focusing on something bigger than ourselves allows us to think beyond the finite and open ourselves to the possibilities that only God can reveal.
What tips can you offer for inspiration in the new year? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my January Love Inspired Suspense, THE GENERAL’S SECRETARY, and a $13 Starbuck’s Gift Card for 2013. No superstition allowed. I’m claiming the year ahead will be filled with inspiration, creativity and writing success for all of us in Seekerville.
Wishing you HOPE (my One Word for 2013) in the New Year!
THE GENERAL'S SECRETARY
By Debby Giusti
Trusting the Wrong Person Can Be Deadly...
Lillie Beaumont's dark past has just turned up on her porch--fatally wounded. The dying words of the man imprisoned for killing Lillie's mother suggest hidden secrets. Criminal Investigations Division special agent
Timmons agrees. He has his own motive
for seeking the truth, and it gives Lillie every reason to doubt him. But even
as they reluctantly begin to face painful secrets together, Dawson fears that a murderer is waiting to
strike again. And this time, Lillie is right in the line of fire... Dawson