Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Every writer needs inspiration, some more than others, but where do we get it?  I stick mine to my desk.

Confused?  It depends on what you mean by inspiration.  I mean help to keep me going and with writing, not for story ideas.

I have several pieces of paper and bits of cardboard stuck to my desk and my monitor to remind me what to do when I get stuck.  Advice such as:

If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again...Just try a different way.

Then there is there is a piece of paper with just one word on it:  Trapped.  This reminds me that all my characters are trapped in some situation and I need to rescue them...before I torture them.

Another piece of advice comes in a three line ditty:

Tell me and I'll forget
Show me and I'll remember
Involve me and I'll understand

While this piece of advice was initially created for professional trainers, it can easily be applied to the craft of writing and the 'show don't tell' mantra.

Then I have a list of things to describe when writing: Person, Place, Passage of Time, Event, Thought, and underneath that I've written, One thing huge, one thing small, one thing odd.

They're all useful aids when I write, edit or just bang my head on the desk in frustration.

What do you have around your writing area to inspire you?


Ink in the Book said...

I like to keep a an inspiring webpage open on my desktop. It doesn't matter if it's an inspiring article or a creative picture. I leave it there until my inspiration passes and I feel the need t replace it with something new:)

E. Arroyo said...

I need an "area". Right now it's my kitchen table. Those are some great quotes.

Martin Willoughby said...

Inky: That's a good one.

EA: You could always stick post-its on the kid's foreheads while you write.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't have any sayings but there is always music to inspire me.

Martin Willoughby said...

Alex: I don't use music as I find it distracting...mostly as I sing along to it.

Jeannette said...

My favorite note near my writing area is "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." That can still refocus me if I feel I'm starting to wander!

Martin Willoughby said...

Jeanette: I had to read that twice before I got it. Good piece of advice.

Anonymous said...

I've got the same thing! But mine are a collection of comments from strangers who've said they like my stories. Plus, one that shows successful people who'd once been rejected- like Walt Disney was fired from a paper for not being creative enough! (

I like yours better actually - I might have to take a few of these ; ) Thanks Martin

Charlie Holmberg said...

"This reminds me that all my characters are trapped in some situation and I need to rescue them...before I torture them."

This made me smile, ha. :)

Right now I have maps of my worlds and, on occasion, post-its notes, but those are usually things I need to remember to add/fix. I like your inspiration idea, though.

Used to have all my rejection letters on my walls, but having just moved I haven't gotten those back up yet :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Freya: Feel free to borrow them. I don't charge much in the way of a license fee. :)

Charlie: Don't put the old ones back up, file them away to make space for new ones.