Inspiration Everywhere – A Writer’s Guide

writing advice

Sometimes it can be hard to get inspired. Especially if, like me, you try to publish something new every single week. There’s only so many things you can write about, aren’t there?

Luckily for me, since I focus on fantasy and paranormal erotica, I can write about all kinds of things. I’ve written some more ‘normal’ things, like a student/teacher story, but then I’ve also written an erotic fantasy epic, tentacle sex, even possessed statue sex. So yeah – some of it’s pretty unusual (but it’s all hot, I promise!).

Whether you write on the weird side or prefer to keep things more vanilla, here are five ways to get inspired.

1. People Watching

Go to a pub or a coffee shop, sit near the window, and just gaze out of it. I’ve done this so many times (admittedly, most of the time I was supposed to be writing). You might see a person who has that look you’ve been after for your side character. Maybe it’ll be an outfit, or the way people interact with each other. You might overhear a conversation that sparks your imagination. There are so many possibilities!

2. Tumblr

You could use Pinterest for this too, but I’m more of a tumblr girl. They’re both websites that focus on images and can be super useful for writers. For example, if you’re writing a fantasy story, set up a blog just for that story and search for castles or medieval clothes, whatever’s relevant. Reblog the pictures and you have a whole blog full of inspiration that you can look through whenever you need. If you want to get to know a character better, set up a blog for them and reblog things that make you think of them – pictures of people who look like them, food they like, clothes they might wear (as a possibly relevant side note, there are lots of sexy pictures on tumblr!). The best thing with doing this is that you can keep using the resource – if you get writer’s block, just look through your blog for inspiration.

3. Watch TV

I don’t mean copy the story ideas, or start writing fanfic of your favourite TV show (though hey, if you want to go ahead! I love fanfic). Good TV shows can be great insights into how people work, and it can inform your own writing. Or if you’re writing something out of your area of expertise, a TV show can help. Always make sure that you back it up with actual research, but if you’re can’t bear to read another word about lawyers, watch Law and Order for a fun way to get your head in the right space. Or if you’re writing about somewhere you’ve never been, maybe watch a TV show based there.

4. Listen to Music

Who hasn’t been inspired by a great piece of music? I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m writing (if you have the same problem, try listening to movie or video game soundtracks – they’re designed to help you concentrate!), but when I’m out and about I love listening to music and often get ideas from songs. Spotify and YouTube are great ways to explore new music and get ideas. It could be the title – for example, aren’t The Only Living Boy in New York and Lightning is My Girl super evocative? Or maybe make a playlist of songs your character likes, and listen to them while making notes about them.

5. Go Somewhere New

I find this one can really help when I’m struggling. You could hop on a plane, if that’s in your budget, but it could be somewhere local, too. Have a look in your local area. Is there anything interesting? A castle or a stately house; a beach, a park, even something as simple as a new restaurant in your town. It can refresh your mind and get you out of a slump. Add this to the first point, and people watch while you’re there!

So there we are! My five ways of getting inspiration. What about you – any tips or tricks?

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Self-Publishing Resources

writing resources

Being a self-published author can be challenging sometimes – there’s a lot more to it than writing! I thought I’d share some resources that I’ve found helpful.

FORMATTING

Open Office – a free office suite including a word processor. You can save in Microsoft formats, which you’ll need for uploading to Smashwords.

Calibre ebook management – a program that can save html documents as epub, mobi and more.

Kindle Previewer – allows you to see your ebook as Kindle readers will – invaluable for publishing on Amazon.

COVERS

The Book Cover Store – a really nice selection of premade ebook covers at a good price – $30 or under.

Bookfly – a much pricier way to so it, but if you want a cover designed to your specifications they seem to do nice ones.

Paint.net – if you prefer to make your own, this is a good, free image program.

Morguefile – some free images you can use on your DIY covers or for other purposes.

MARKETING

Goodreads – a great starting place for getting your name out there.

How to get an eBook to #1 on Amazon – I’ve not tried all of them but there are some really interesting ideas in this article.

11 Cheap (or free) Advertising Methods – not geared towards authors but there are some great suggestions.