As a person who is constantly trying to immerse herself in the writing world, I keep hearing about how important it is to write every day. Well, this hasn’t been so easy for me because I usually suffer from writers block. If I feel blocked, I get frustrated easily and end up doing something else entirely. This is certainly not the best way to begin a writing career!
So in my desperate need of ideas, I’ve “cheated” a little bit. I’m guilty of going to one of those websites that generates an idea for you to write about. They look something like this-“Write about two strangers who are in a restaurant. The tone is mysterious and the activity they are doing is studying.” And I’ve even downloaded apps that give you ideas of what to write about. I’m not trying to bash these forms of inspiration. These may work for you. But they don’t do much for me.
Just this morning I got an email from a writing idea website I subscribed to. I opened it and was ready to be inspired! However, none of the ideas spoke to me. I find this happens to me very often. Prompts are fun to help get me started but they seldom lead to any meaningful and fulfilling writing projects. I’ve realized that the stories I write from prompts, aren’t really from my heart. And so, I have a hard time finishing most of them. I’ve become so use to turning to these cheats, that I’ve silenced the stories I already have inside.
So…I’ve been trying to use less prompts! A couple weeks ago, I was at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles for my sister’s graduation. While I was waiting in the lobby, the decorations were so beautiful and the artwork on the ceiling and fountain made me feel inspired. I took pictures of my favorite parts of the lobby and knew I had an idea brewing. A few days later, I sat down and wanted to write something new. I remembered the pictures of the 92 year old hotel I took and began writing a short story about a character who had to stay there. I finished writing it in a couple hours and actually, I’m pretty excited about it. And guess what? I didn’t use a generator or anything! Something about the hotel touched me and I had to write about it. I’ve found that to search within yourself for a story is exciting! It could be a memorable event from your past, a piece of a conversation you heard that has stuck with you or an experience or person that has touched your life.
I think that writing prompts have their place in a writer’s life, but we shouldn’t rely on them too much. Instead, we need to look at ourselves. Prompts are an easy way to get an idea and they are certainly easier than searching within yourself for a story. But I really believe that to be great writers, we should listen to the stories that we already have inside of us. Whether you are a poet, novelist, short story writer or some other creative being, I think it’s so important to write what’s in your heart; what has touched you the most. Those ideas will make the best pieces of writing. So learn a lesson from me…don’t always resort to quick ways of inspiration, look inside yourself first.
Where do you get your writing inspiration? Have you ever tried one of those prompt generators?