Writing Advice: Self-Inspiration


Inspiration is a flighty temptress. Sometimes she dips down into your brain and gives you some great ideas, and other times she spends months far away. Sometimes you have to chase after inspiration, searching for posts like this one that will seemingly give you the silver bullet you need to get your writing groove back. You might read a “help me start writing again” book to get your brain started. I’ve done those things in the past, trying to find inspiration so that I can sit down and begin at last. But I think there’s a more obvious answer staring us all in the face. Why not try getting inspiration from yourself?

Think about it, you’ve written before! You may be stuck right now and see no way out, but you’ve gotten out in the past. I’m sure you have Google Drive folders or computer files full of very real evidence that proves you know how to write. Somewhere, there is proof that you can do this. With this in mind, I’d like to propose two new methods of inspiration.

(1) Take inspiration from your past achievements. This one is really, really simple. If you’re feeling particularly stuck, try sifting through your past work. Look at projects that you’ve finished and admire just how lengthy and word-filled those documents are. Reading other people’s work is a great way to get inspired, but reading your own work should be as well. In addition to reminding you that you can, in fact, write, this might just spark a new idea. Even if it’s just a short story or vignette about a character in one of your past projects, that’s enough to get you writing. And once you’ve begun, it’s easier to continue.

(2) Mine your abandoned projects for new ideas. There’s no shame in digging up old ideas, dusting them off, and giving them a second chance. I’ve been trying to think up ideas for National Novel Writing Month in November and this took me back to an idea I started last summer. All I wrote for that idea was a smattering of short stories, but I really liked the characters. Now I think I’m going to use them again, just in a different story. If it’s something you created, it’s fair game!

I hope these ideas help you out as you continue your quest for inspiration. And if you’re already feeling properly inspired, happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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