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 motor 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 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 opens you to new possibilities.
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.
SET ASIDE 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 to boost inspiration? Leave a comment, and let me know if you want to be entered in a drawing for a copy of HIDDEN AMISH SECRETS. The photos included in this blog are from our recent family beach vacation. In my opinion, there’s nothing like surf and sand to enhance creativity. What’s your Happy Place and how does it help to ease your stress and heighten your productivity?
Wishing you abundant blessings,
could get her killed.
Julianne Graber left her Amish life behind after a family tragedy, but now she’s back to sell the family home— and someone’s dead set on getting rid of her. With her neighbor William Lavy by her side, Julianne must uncover dangerous secrets to make sense of the past and present. Can she find justice for her family—and a future with Will—before the killer hits his target?
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