7 Things to do NOW to be Ready when Writing Inspiration Hits

by Edie Melson

As writers, we know that inspiration is a fickle thing. And while we all need to keep writing whether we’re inspired or not, that rush of creativity is nice. What’s not nice is not being ready.
There’s nothing as disheartening as those times happens when inspiration strikes and we’re not ready to capitalize on it.
So today I’m sharing 7 things to do now to be ready when writing inspiration strikes.

1. Always keep a notebook nearby.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a digital app or a physical book filled with actual paper. All too often I’ve thought I’d remember an idea or a new twist without writing it down. I rarely do. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time and angst trying to remember the brilliant idea.

2. When driving, make sure you have a voice recorder within arms reach.

My darling husband decreed note-taking off limits to me while driving—even if I was stopped at a red light. Because of that, I used to keep a digital recorder with me. Now that I have my smart phone, I use that to capture fleeting thoughts.

3. Snag headlines and news stories that intrigue you.

You can take a screenshot of digital articles, or use a program like Evernote. For newspaper headlines, use old-fashioned scissors and a manila file folder to keep track.

4. When you snap or snip an interesting article, be sure to include notes to remind yourself why that particular piece caught your attention.

There is nothing more frustrating than coming across something you thought was important with no idea why you thought it was important.

5. Set up a system to keep track of those illusive ideas.

These can be digital documents on your computer or a filing system in a nearby drawer, just make sure you can retrieve those ideas after you record them. For me, I use a series of files on my computer. I have one for quotes, one for blog post ideas, another for clever names, one for possible articles, etc.

6. Add a visual prompt to your idea.

I admit it, I’m a born lurker. I’ve been known to snap surreptitious pictures of interesting people when I’m out and about. I also take shots of places and things that I’d like to later describe—either in an article or a work of fiction.

 7. Become a professional eavesdropper.

Along the lines of always having a notebook handy, take note of the conversations going on around you. But don’t stop with just the words that are spoken, write down the body language, tone, setting, everything that makes up an intriguing scene.

Each of these things on the list came directly from a lost idea because I wasn’t ready to capture it and hold on. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.
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Edie Melson writphoto-1 copyes for military families and veterans. Her first book is Fighting Fear: Winning the War at While My Soldier ServesHome When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle. Her second, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military debuts on May 10, 2015. She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts at While They Serve.

Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, as well as the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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