Inspiration is vital to freelancers. It is what makes our ideas stand out from those of our competition.
Yet, if we’re not careful, we can lose that inspiration.
It happens to the best of us. We set aside time to work on a specific project and just aren’t feeling it. Instead of spending the day twiddling your thumbs or whittling your time away on Facebook and Twitter, try one of these approaches to get prolific prose on the page. These tips are for freelance writers, but other freelancers will find them useful as well.
How to Find Your Inspiration
Here are some suggestions about how to find your inspiration:
- Take a walk. Getting out of your environment for as little as twenty minutes can have profound results. Put down the phone, step away from the computer, open the door and allow yourself to focus on the sounds and textures around you. When you come back you will be a little more refreshed and ready to go.
- Call a friend. It is hard to separate writing from the other events of your day. Sometimes you might just need someone to listen to you talk about broken appliances, the horrible weather or an exciting trip you’re planning. Or maybe you need to spend ten minutes thinking about problems that aren’t your own. Letting yourself talk about the elephant in the room or blowing off some steam when necessary is a real gift. When you’re good and done, will make writing so much easier.
- Read something. Pick up a book, magazine or poem you love. It doesn’t have to be about the topic you’re writing about. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. Reading a passage that you find particularly meaningful can give you some perspective.
- Put on some music. I like making soundtracks with my favorite tunes on 8tracks.com. I even have different themes—slow, soothing melodies or rockin’ tunes which I’ll alternate between depending on the subject matter on which I’m writing. Just having familiar songs in the background is usually enough to spark my creativity and get my writing flowing.
- Appeal to your sense of smell. A small scented candle or aromatherapy oils can set the tone for your article. Just make sure you match the scent to the emotion you’d like to feel or convey. If you need to get revved up and put a lot of energy in your writing, rosemary or mint might be a better choice than lavender, which could make you sleepy.
- Do some exercise. A quick bike ride or brisk jog can really get ideas going. This is particularly helpful if you’re feeling anxious about your writing project and need to get in your body.
- Eat something. Using this too frequently can definitely have a negative effect on your waistline, but let’s not be taskmasters here. If you’re hungry, give yourself the same appropriate consideration you’d give to another. And keep some fresh water by your desk.
- Write somewhere else. If you’d like a bit of background noise, a local café is a great place to write. If you’d like silence and less external stimuli, go to your local library. This is a great way to get work done, especially on a tight deadline.
- Press record. Having trouble getting words on paper? Start talking into your audio recorder. You can use this to describe ideas for an article you’d like to flesh out, or even to describe what is challenging and try to talk yourself through it. You may come up with better ideas talking than you do writing.
- Take ten minutes to freewrite. You can begin with a sentence or topic about what you’re writing, or simply write about something else entirely. Freewriting is a bit like revving up the engine and getting ready to go.
- Meditate. Or simply sit in silence. Set a stopwatch for ten minutes and just pay attention to your breath.
- Just go. Set your stopwatch for ten minutes to simply write about your topic. No excuses. Just write. If you get stuck, keep typing.
- Switch it up. If you normally write on a computer, switch to pen and paper. If you normally write with pen, switch to pencil or a computer. Even changing the font—or switching between MS Word, Google Docs or a WordPress screen can be helpful. It’s uncertain why this is so, only that it is. Experiment.
- Look at something else. If you can stand working on multiple pieces at the same time and if deadlines allow, put away a challenging rough draft and work on a different piece. Just make sure to return to the first in a few days. You’ll find that your mind is clearer and that new ideas are more likely to surface.
- Write yourself a letter. Write a letter to your older, wiser self, asking for advice on your current predicament. Then write a letter back, pretending you are your older, wiser self. Take a few minutes to read the solutions you proposed. And do them.
What do you do to get inspired? Share your best ideas in the comments.
Image by Bee Skutch