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get inspired - how to

Get inspired! 4 story sources you haven't tapped yet

Inspiration…hm. It seems simple enough—take a walk through the neighborhood, watch your favorite actor on screen, listen to a few verses of an amazing song, but what happens when nothing seems to cause that spark? When the landscape outside your bedroom window is doing nothing to inspire the spectacular poem or short story that you know is just waiting inside of you to be written?

It’s easy to fall victim to the idea that we need to wait for inspiration to find us; that inspiration will one day fall right into our laps, but the truth is it’s more of us finding the inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere you look! You just have to remember to slow down and smell the hypothetical roses. If you’re really stuck on this whole inspo thing, check out this list of people and places you can turn to in order to discover all of the inspiring things that are right for y-o-u. I bet ya didn’t realize it was this easy:
Your family
It’s true: sometimes they can drive us absolutely bonkers, but good ole mom and dad (and even your sibs) can be a great source of inspiration. Do you need a few more character traits to make the mom in your story a little more realistic? Watch how your mom handles all of the fam’s day-to-day problems. Think your poem could use a few more in-depth descriptions? Check out the way your little sis hums under her breath while she plays with her toys. Everything ya see going on could be a potential source of inspo for your next piece!
Your friends
You’ve always half envied your BFF for her crazy fearlessness, so what better way to show her how much she means to you than incorporating the parts you love best about her in your latest creative prose? Check out how her hair sways when she clicks into confidence mode—all her little quirks could be sources of inspiration when you’re stuck later down the road. Plus, character sketches of all your buds can help boost your vocab and improve your description skills.
Your location
Have you lived in the same town your whole life? Or have you moved around more times than you can count? Taking a moment to really look at your surroundings can help you brainstorm new ideas. Grab a piece of scratch paper and write down everything you see, then go back and try and be as descriptive about the things you wrote as possible. Little exercises like this can help train your brain into looking at the most simple things and making them into something totally magnificent.
When you’re really stuck—take a glance in the mirror. There is no other person just like you; your thoughts and actions are completely unique. What more inspiration could you need?! Take a moment to meander through your thoughts, write them down, and reflect. You are the only person with the power to write those exact words. Pretty crazy, right? Sometimes the best source of inspiration comes from a little bit of self-reflection.

The next time you find yourself waiting for inspiration to knock, go out and find it yourself! You can find it hiding just about anywhere—in your science class, under your pillow, even in the wag of your dogs tail. With a quick swipe of a pen the entire world can open up right before your eyes.

published September 17, 2013
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