|Image: Padurariu Alexandru|
When marathon runners have a big race to run, they often load up on carbohydrates in order to give themselves lots of fuel to burn. And recently, I've been thinking a lot about how to do this as a writer, about consciously finding ways to load up on inspiring things that feed my creative energy, so that I have extra fuel to burn on this complicated, tiring business that is novel writing. And while finding the right fuel still doesn't necessarily make writing easy – just like eating lots of pasta most likely won't stop a marathon runner from being completely exhausted after running uphill for miles – they help keep me going all the same.
Here are some of my writing brain's favorite "carbs" at the moment:
Books. It's obvious, but it's so, so true. As long as you don't start comparing the highly polished writing you’re reading with your messy work in progress, books are the best source of inspiration in the world. For me, there really is nothing like reading a good book to remind me of why I'm trying to write one in the first place.
Music. I'm not usually organised enough to have particular songs for each scene, but I never start a novel without starting a playlist too, and the playlist grows and grows as I play particular songs until I've worn them out, and then seek out more songs to add to the list. I get most fuel from unfamiliar music, so I often spend a lot of time searching for wonderful songs I haven't heard before, especially ones which remind me of one of my characters or evoke my novel’s world in some way.
Daydreaming. I've written about this before, but I'll say it again: for me, taking time to sit around daydreaming about the story I’m writing is not just useful, but essential. My story ideas are almost always born from daydreaming, from playing make believe inside my head, from imagining characters and places and scenes until they’re crystal clear in my mind and the thought of writing them makes me swoon with happiness. And I find that if I've been working on a project for a while, it can be easy to forget that stage before I started writing, that glorious stage when the story was still a glowing mass of wonderful things all burning to be written. Daydreaming about the scenes still to come helps me find my way back to that place, and back to all the shiny sparkly things that made the idea so compelling when I first thought of it.
What fuels your writing fire?
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