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Don’t you hate the feeling when you stare at your blank computer screen or your fresh piece of paper, your hands above the keyboard, your pencil hovering above the paper, and you don’t know what to write? I sure do.

But instead of sitting and staring, frozen with not a single idea of what to write, I get up, walk away, and get inspired.

Tapping a Pencil

Photo by Rennett Stowe

Here are six effective things you can do to inspire yourself:

1. Read/Watch Movies

Reading or watching a movie is a great way to take a break from your current writing project and get inspired. Often, if you see other peoples’ works of art or character creations it will give you an idea for your own story. Obviously you don’t want to steal anyone’s idea, but reading or watching a story will most of the time spark your brain and get you back on track.

2. Listen to music

Most of the time when I’m writing I’ll listen to music. Certain songs that I listen to give me ideas or energy when I’m writing a certain scene. I’ve found that listening to “The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond” gives me a boost while I write battle scenes or anything medieval. Some writers prefer to listen to music without lyrics so it doesn’t distract them, but others find a singer’s voice to be inspirational and energizing while writing. Find what works for you and stick with it.

3. Record your dreams

A good night’s sleep is good for recharging, but it’s also good for inspiration. Keep a notebook close by your bed so when you wake up from a vivid dream you can roll over, grab your notebook and pen, and write down everything you remember. Dreams are very good for giving you story ideas. It’s certainly worked for me. So next time you can’t think of what to write, consult your dream notebook for ideas.

4. Free Write

Just type away about whatever the heck you want. You could write random words that pop into your head, you could describe how awful your day was, you could say, “This is stupid this is stupid this is stupid . . .” It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write it, just make sure you’re writing and eventually you’ll get an idea.

5. Keep a notebook of words

Do you ever see a word that sounds “mystical” or seems to “sprinkle” “happiness?” Those three words are all in my “Cool Words Notebook.” Anytime I hear a word that sounds cool or a word I just really like, I write it down. Then if I get stuck writing something, I’ll flip open the notebook to a random page and try to use that word in my next sentence or paragraph.

6. Observe your surroundings

This has got to be one of the best ways to get inspiration. People, animals, and everything around you can give you some of your best ideas. What’s the story behind that man’s sad expression and trashed clothes? What happened to that dog’s broken leg? How can you fit that abandoned shack into your story? Keep a notebook with you at all times so you can write down everything you see at a moment’s notice.

What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?


Christmas is right around the corner, so choose one of these methods of getting inspiration and use it for fifteen minutes. Then write a Christmas story based on the inspiration you received and post it in the comments. Be sure to comment on a few other people’s practices as well. Have fun!

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an author and the founder of The Write Practice. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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