For me, there’s a big difference between being inspired to write and having the motivation to write. One is about fun and ideas and flow and the other is about working towards a goal and keeping the end in mind.

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I think that most books START with inspiration. You get that great idea, have that little voice whispering in your ear, or just get flat-out excited. It’s perfect to take those great feelings and get started! It’s that serendipitous moment that kick-starts the creativity.

Motivation is what keeps you going after the initial inspiration fades.

And inspiration probably WILL fade over time. Work ethic and the “I’m not going to let anything get in my way” take over and eventually, the writing gets completed. Motivation is a needed ingredient in your writing. But inspiration, ah, inspiration! Without it, nothing would get started.

Don’t for one second think that inspiration is limited to writing fiction! All writing is creative. You have to find the right order of words to express your thoughts. (If you’ve ever struggled to convey your thoughts you know what I mean!) In fact, MOST of my inspiration lately is about articles for the blog!

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t believe in writer’s block. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a LOT easier to write when inspiration is knocking.

5 Ways to Stay Inspired

1. When inspiration hits: WRITE
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drop everything and get words on paper. Period. No excuses. Inspiration doesn’t come around every day so make the most of it when it’s around. I’ve scribbled article drafts on napkins and done character sketches on the back of envelopes. And yes, I’m THAT WOMAN who’s pulled over to jot a note in the dust of the hood of my truck.

2. Remember that feeling!
It won’t last forever so when you’re digging deep into motivation (and maybe finding the well empty) think back to the last time you were riding the wave on inspiration. Sometimes calling those feelings to mind is the only thing you need to get you going again. I once was writing a short story that woke me up at 4 am for three days. It was the most amazing feeling to be SO inspired. When I’m stuck, I vividly call up the feelings of sitting on my aunt’s cracked leather couch, hunched over the laptop with a backache and needing to set an alarm to remind myself to eat.

3. Continue to nurture your soul
Your imagination needs fertile ground so keep doing things that you know uplift you. Two big ones for me: being in nature and being in water. Do you ever wonder why I’m always talking about my latest camping or hiking trip in the newsletter? Because it feeds my soul and keeps me inspired!

4. Stay away from dream stealers
We all have circumstances in our life that kill creativity, dim the light in your eyes, and make us miserable. Avoid that at all costs! It’s hard to catch the inspiration bug when you’re too busy chasing the worry whatifs!

5. Believe
If you read an interview from any of the most prolific creative types: writers, novelists, painters, sculptures, photographers, etc. always say that they have TONS of ideas. I don’t buy that. I think what they really have is the deep, unshakable belief that they have tons of ideas. That belief creates a ton of ideas and allows them to tap into inspiration at will.

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Don’t stress yourself out too much if you find that you’re tapping into your motivation more than your inspiration! It’s okay. Inspiration gets you started but it’s rarely enough to get the job done. I think of it like painting a wall in my house: all the pretty paint chips are so exciting, lined up in the hardware store. (Inspiration) But once the paint is mixed and in the gallon and I’m faced with drop cloths, painters tape, the ladder, cutting in, paint in my hair, and cleanup there’s no way that JUST inspiration will be enough to get the wall painted. I have to dig deep, make coffee and put on snappy music to get it done. (Motivation)

But without the WALL of awesome paint colors (and some that make me go “No WAY!”) nothing would ever get done!

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Kimberly Eldredge

Kimberly is an author, illustrator, and entrepreneur. She helps coaches, speakers, and authors take the content they already have and FINALLY get their book written and published.
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10 Responses to Chasing Inspiration: 5 Ways to Stay Inspired

  • While I cannot state that I’ve actually pulled over my truck to jot down a note, I have called home to the partner to write it down for me while I was driving. :)
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…My Top 10 Favorite BlogsMy Profile

    • Well, Bonnie, not everybody is cool enough to drive a truck…

      Seriously, if I had had somebody to call I would have! It probably would have been safer!

  • I like the analogy of the paint chip selection process (fun!) vs. the actual painting (for me, not fun at all). One thing I like about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, each November) is that it forces you to keep going and keep writing so you can get 50,000 words down. Sooner or later, writer’s block disappears because you are motivated to keep pouring those words out – even if they will need major editing later. At least you have a manuscript to edit. Of all your suggestions, I think the WRITE is the most important.
    Alana recently posted…A Day a Year in the MakingMy Profile

    • Are you doing NaNoWriMo camp next month? I’m planning on it to FINALLY get the kick in the pants I need to start my novel. I figure I shouldn’t wait all the way to November!

  • Nope, you should definitely *not* wait for November or July to roll around before you plunk your butt in the chair and start writing. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said writing is 50% inspiration and 50% perspiration? Or something like that. The numbers may be off, but you get the idea.

    When inspiration strikes, go with it. Keep writing until the steam runs out. Will it be perfect? No. Will you absolutely be tied to the concept? Maybe not. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Let it sit after the inspiration leaves if you have to, come back to it later. You may even find a use for it you hadn’t thought of before.

    Just do it.
    Deb Dorchak recently posted…Plotholes and Dubious SuperpowersMy Profile

  • Motivation and inspiration are key for sure in creating anything of magnitude over time. I like to say that Inspiration is the fuel and motivation is the car you drive to get to the goal. They are both in the spiritual and emotional side of the brain where creativity is nurtured and it is key to love them, take care of them, an be around others who support that part of you!

  • When the muses come calling, pick up the dam phone! Answer the Door! Invite them into play and play right away! There is no doubt that the muses don’t wait for anyone or the “Right” time. In fact, they have a totally different idea of what is a “Right time” for Inspiration. To a muse, the shower, washing dishes, driving a car, dreaming…. these are all examples of great times for “Right Time” so it is up to us to be prepared. I have a voice memo in my phone so I can “Write” while driving, by talking out loud into the recording phone, a notebook that goes everywhere with me, including goes to bed with me in case a brilliant idea comes in the form of a dream.
    Then, after the inspiration is captured, I would add that it can’t be only motivation that carries the day. The three D’s are key. Daily… Devotion… and Discipline. The biggest part of being a professional writer is SHOWING UP to the PAGE!
    Wendi Kelly-Blue Sun Studio recently posted…Integrity CheckMy Profile

  • I needed to read this article about staying inspired. I find that I am often uninspired to write or blog but I know that it is what helps me find my voice and reach my clients. It’s hard to stay motivated when life happens (everyday). Thanks for reminding me on how and why I need to stay inspired.

  • This is a wonderful topic. I know I have to be in the mood to write. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it. I love seeing how tips like this relate to so much more than the topic at hand. They really apply to anything you’re trying to create or do. Great reminders!

  • Lordy, I love these tips! I write in the dust on my dash, too! I’m a firm believer that if you can just hack out some stilted first draft when the inspiration hits, you can go back later and flesh it out. Starting is half of it! I love these, thank you! best, Angela