Don’t Have a Clue? 5 Tactics for Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration flashes like a thunderbolt from the sky…but in my experience, inspiration much more often something you must actively chase – like a tornado hunter.

Many of you aspiring writers might already be cooking already. The boiling roll of inspirational waters has reached a simmering point and you’re on your way. Congratulations!

But for others who are either casting around for a new idea for a short story or novel and feeling uninspired – allow me to share some of my tricks. Because I’ve been there – believe me! Nothing worse than not having a clue of what you want to write about.


Visit an art gallery, museum and let the works wash over you. Keep your mind open and then stand before a painting or sculpture that you find yourself particularly drawn to. Imagine yourself as a figure in the painting or the figure of the sculpture – what’s your story? Who are you? Or imagine you are the artist and think about what you were doing the moment you created the work. Keep your notebook handy and jot down as many thoughts as you have in 5 minutes. Don’t edit yourself just keep going until the 5 minutes are up.

Take a look at your notes and see if there’s a nugget of something you can elaborate on.

 ‘Inspiration’ is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything. Nick Cave


I was a member of a writing group for over 14 years – and some of our inspiration for some of our work came from our yearly retreat to a member’s cottage up in Parry Sound. We’d each come armed with pens, notebooks and writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing. One of our members had a fantastic postcard collection of evocative images.

We’d each blindly pick a postcard and then for 10 minutes we’d write a story, letting the work flow without self-censorship. We’d start by writing a first person narrative; then a dialogue and then a third person narrative; then a pure description; and so on.

Many of the work that happened in those 10-minute sessions led to longer works of fiction for all our group.

Try it yourself – use the image below.


There are little gems all around us that can hold glimmers of inspiration. Richelle Mead


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