How to Find Inspiration When You Least Expect It

Burning the midnight oil often is the romanticized image of writing. Writing sometimes is not as beautiful as we might dream. However, the harder a writer works the more material they produce. With more material brings with it accomplishment and a larger portfolio. Time and time again I doubt my ability. All creative people do this. You must have passion and with that passion you must have pride. Your pride will show in your ability as a writer. The more you write the better you’ll be as a writer. Always write. Even if it’s crap write it down. Worrying over whether or not what your writing is perfect is just an excuse not to write. The initial step of writing is only 10% of the writing process. The rest is re-writing and editing. So don’t worry about perfect. Your main goal, starting out, is to fill the blank page with words.

Inspiration can be a tough cookie to crack, sometimes. Inspiration is like trying to find a date online. Or like dreaming of where you want to be but not quite there yet. Inspiration is nice when it happens but it is not a requirement to being creative. Creativity comes from hard work. Sometimes, it seems like you’ll never be inspired. Then, out of nowhere … inspiration comes when you least expect it.

When I am on the train or running an errand or in the shower or lost in thought l find myself hit with inspiration’s bolts of lightning. One must always be prepared for moments like these. Never tell yourself you’ll remember the idea later. Afterwards, when you try to jot down this amazing idea you came up with earlier you’ll find that your mind has already dismissed it in some way. Or you end up deciding it was a stupid idea. Your idea then becomes a ghost — a phantom never heard from or seen again.

Always carry a small notebook with you or a smartphone/tablet with a decent note-taking app. I usually carry a small flipbook that I can fit in my front pocket and a good working pen or mechanical pencil (I don’t like regular pencils. They’re too unreliable). That way you can always write down an idea when it’s fresh. Before you forget it or before you have decided to disregard the idea.

I have many great ideas written down that may never see the light of day. But, who knows? Maybe someday one of ideas will get someone else attention and I will be asked to nurture my idea into a complete and coherent story.

I am a compulsive list writer. I have a lot of things I am trying to accomplish in my life. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed. So, when I am somewhere else, somewhere not close to my work. I can be reflective and organize my many ideas into lists. This helps me out tremendously because I can then write down what things I want to do next and what order. An organized writer is a successful writer.

Originally published at on May 5, 2014.

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About robisonwriter