Kick-Starting Your Writing

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If you’re like me, you have never been on a motorcycle. The idea is intriguing, but it was hard enough for me to learn to ride a bike. Add in seeing a few motorcycle accidents and watching a friend get pinned under one, my desire to rev that engine is now next to nil.

Then, I read something like this:

“I had a dream about a motorcycle,” said Harry, remembering suddenly. “It was flying.”
Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: “MOTORCYCLES DON’T FLY!”
Dudley and Piers sniggered.
“I know they don’t,” said Harry. “It was only a dream.”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

What if motorcycles could fly? Or pigs could talk? Or chickens could dance? I’ve seen all these things happen in the pages of books. But how do people get these ideas to begin with?

(I was going to make an amazing analogy of how writing is like a motorcycle, but after doing my research—a very important aspect of good writing—I’ve learned it’s more complicated then just kicking the engine. Actually, if you’re literally kicking the engine, you might damage the motorcycle and/or your foot.)

But back to writing, something I know a little about…

Every writer is unique, but here are a few things I do when I want inspiration for a new book:

  1. My local café – I can’t work in quiet solitude for long or I fall asleep. So I go to a coffee house, get a pastry and coffee, and sit in a corner with my computer.
  2. Alternate news sources – Whether or not the stories are true, they’re chopped full of strange ideas—the flat earth theory, sentient insects, black goo, Planet X. Even if you don’t write sci-fi, these headlines might stretch your brain enough to find the perfect idea for your new novel.
  3. Staring into space – Once I have an idea, I have to look away from my computer. I keep my fingers posed over my keyboard and type my thoughts. It might be days or weeks later, but I eventually get an idea I want to expand upon.

Whether or not you do what I do, the point is to keep thinking and writing. You can scribble notes on a napkin or draw in a journal or make an outline on your computer—whatever helps you brainstorm and get excited about writing a novel. And remember, some of the weirdest ideas have developed into the best-loved stories

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