Writing Advice: Finding Inspiration in Others


In my writing life, I’ve found that I have “input” days and “output” days. I’ve written about this before on the blog. Basically, I’m having an “input” day when I’m feeling more interested in reading or watching shows than I am in writing. Conversely, of course, “output” days mean that I’m feeling more inspired and ready to actually output my ideas onto the page. These different types of days often come in bursts, meaning that I sometimes have an “input” week, when I simply don’t feel inspired to write.

Well, folks, I’ve been having one of those weeks. But I wanted to write about this because I feel like it’s coming to an end, and I wanted to discuss why that is. Over the past week, my “input” mode has mostly revolved around the television show Better Call Saul. As some of you may know, this is the prequel to Breaking Bad, and its second season just finished up. I’m really enjoying the show and I think it has the same overall feeling of Breaking Bad, which is thrilling.

In conjunction with watching the episodes, I’ve been listening to the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast. Each episode of the show has a corresponding episode of the podcast, in which the creators, writers, editors, and sometimes actors from the show discuss the process of putting together that episode. Aside from further fueling my obsession with the show, this podcast has also become a source of inspiration for me.

That’s not to say that it’s inspiring me to write a Better Call Saul-esque story. Rather, hearing about the process of creating a rich and expansive story is inspiring me to do the same. Personally, I think Vince Gilligan is a visionary, and hearing him discuss character motivation, backstory development, and worldbuilding (it’s not just for fantasy/sci-fi) is truly awesome. This man has already created 5 superb seasons of a television show that is so unique and compelling, and now he’s moving on to a whole new show in that same rich environment. Hearing about that level of success is, to me, inspiring. It makes me want to create my own stuff.

I have a tendency to feel guilty about my “input” days or weeks. No matter how many times I hear other creators say that feeding your brain with new creative information helps to build your own bank of ideas, I still feel bad if I’m not actively creating. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes you need to take a break from your own stuff and hear about what other creative people are doing. Even if it’s just talking to friends who also create things, this can get you back on track and excited once again about creating. So, go forth! And find inspiration in others!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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