How to Get Writing Ideas

What is Your Muse?

skyscrapersI like Henry Miller’s writing plan. I keep thinking about how he was so deliberate about his art–making sure everything he did contributed to his creativity. He made sure he got out into the public every day to read or eat in cafes. He took walks or bicycle rides to new parts of town. He noticed what was around him and made sure he learned something new to foster his creativity. He also spent time with friends every day.

I think that today, we writers have a tendency to hide behind our computer screens. We use social media to make us feel connected to the world, and Google to help us learn about it.

Miller didn’t have social media or the Internet. He had to venture out of his home and watch the world. He had to listen to how people spoke to write good dialogue. He explored new streets and cities to write better descriptions. He got his writing ideas by doing and watching. He had to find his own muse.

I’m inspired this year to be more deliberate about my writing. Specifically, to get new ideas for my writing by getting out from behind my computer screen. I plan on hanging out in cafes, coffee shops and museums. I will watch more, listen more, and observe more.

I find when I do these things, ideas for my writing come freely (and it is so much less stressful than staring at a blank page on the computer willing and begging an idea to come forth!)

If you aren’t into Henry Miller (which I’m actually not–I just like this plan for writing), maybe you will learn some ideas from James Patterson who was interviewed by CNN last spring.

They billed him “The Word’s Busiest Best-Selling Writer.” I think those two things are related. Some of the highlights of the article:

  • He’s passionate about writing and reading
  • He has partners who help him write books in different genres
  • He has a great sense of humor
  • He chops wood every morning
  • He has a folder full of about 400 ideas that he is working through–and he adds new ideas for books and stories to his binder every day

Those things help him get writing ideas and be a successful author.

What do you do to feed your creativity? What is your muse?