Have you ever tried to define the concept of inspiration?
If we ask a dictionary, we’ll get a pretty simple definition: “Someone or something that gives you ideas for doing something.” Inspiration may also be defined as a good idea that suddenly comes to your mind.
But what is the true meaning of inspiration when we relate it to writing? It’s that moment when you see true greatness within yourself. You can express deep feelings and emotions in a way that touch people’s minds and hearts. No matter what project you’re working on, you feel inspired to write valuable content and share it with the world.
As a reader and internet user, you’ve probably felt grateful to writers who changed the way you think. When you feel inspired to write great stuff, you feel like you’re giving back to the world of great content.
In the moments of inspiration, it’s not about business at all. When you’re in that state of mind, you’re simply pouring words onto the blank canvas.
The problem is, sometimes you want to start writing and the inspiration doesn’t come. That would be OK if you were writing for pleasure. But when you’re writing with the purpose of promotion or personal branding, you cannot wait for your muse to show up. Even when you’re writing for pleasure, maybe your editor gave you a deadline.
So you have two options: You may progressively work every day toward your goal, or you may procrastinate for most days and work long hours right before the deadline. Needless to say, there’s much less stress involved if you choose the first path. Plus, frequent writing means you’re getting more practice, and practice is what makes you better.
But how do you awaken the inspiration so you can turn writing into a daily habit?
I’ll dive into a few sources of inspiration that many writers tap into when they want to develop the habit of daily writing.
When you’re trying to convince yourself to write every day, you’re basically striving to hold yourself responsible toward the completion of a goal. So you make a plan with steps that will lead you to that goal, and you really want to make things happen.
But is that just a mental plan, or did you write it down? Many writers make goals with zero plans in mind, and that’s a serious problem. As most other writers, I’m guilty of this, too. I have that big idea for my breakthrough piece, but I don’t have an action plan, so I’m postponing the action.
If you’re one of those writers who actually have plans, what are the consequences that you’ll suffer if you don’t make it?
When you think “I have a cool idea for a new guest post, and I’ll start working on it,” you might already be really inspired. But most of the time, you’ll procrastinate. No one is forcing you to write that guest post, so you’ll simply keep leaving it for later.
Practically, you need some fear. When you know you have expectations to meet, you’ll pull yourself together.
The fear of a missed deadline will make you time-effective, focused, and disciplined, and you’ll find another equally valuable kind of inspiration: the kind that makes you hold yourself responsible.
When you want to write a guest post, contact the host, and promise that you’ll write it by a specific date. When you write for your own site, create a schedule, and promise your readers that they will get new posts twice a week.
Deadlines may be stressful, especially when you’re a content writer and you deal with them in the long run. Still, they serve an important purpose: They are a force of action. When you realize that the due date is close, you have no other choice but to sit and start writing.
Deadlines also create a better ecosystem in the publishing world. Without deadlines, editors will be left waiting for the content you promised to deliver “sometime,” and they won’t be able to create an effective publishing schedule. That’s not good for the editor’s workflow, and it’s also bad for the entire website. Sooner or later, you’ll have to add the element of professionalism to your work, and that means being time-effective.
Believe it or not, the fear of a missed deadline and all consequences that follow will awaken your inspiration.
Fiction writers often get inspired by overheard dialogue. It’s no wonder why they like bars and coffee shops so much.
From Hemingway to Fitzgerald to Dostoyevsky to Tolkien, great writers have always been known for their love of cafes and bars. La Rotonde in Paris was an inspiration for the great Hemingway. “No matter what cafe in Montparnasse you ask a taxi driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde.”
These special places serve as inspiration for modern writers, too. You’ll see them in the corner, just keeping quiet and listening.
It’s not about the drinking. A writer could do that perfectly well in solitude. It’s about the inspiration they find in people’s conversations.
Sometimes they don’t even do it on purpose; they just walk around and happen to overhear a great conversation. Then they create their own world out of those dialogues.
When they want to trigger a conversation around a specific subject, they can mingle and make connections. They become part of the crowd that surrounds them. Communication is just as important as listening. If for example, a writer wants to know how modern dating really works because they want to make it part of their book, they will simply start a conversation with a couple sitting next to them at the bar.
Professional and entrepreneurial writers can do the same thing, too.
However, if you write in a specific niche, you might not encounter relevant conversations in the pub. If for example, you write about social media marketing, you can’t expect people to talk about it wherever you go. Don’t worry; you can still observe conversations happening online in forums such as reddit and Quora by searching for the relevant topics and seeing what people talk about.
Then, turn those conversations into ideas that will inspire you to deliver more content to your audience.
For example, you may see someone on reddit asking how they can connect with influencers willing to promote their brand. You can turn that question into a detailed article that teaches business owners how to make deals with influencers.
When you want to be a great writer, you have to surround yourself with great writers. And an easy way to do this is by reading the writers you want to be like.
Reading is important, but reading often is even more important. You want to turn it into a habit by giving yourself a simple daily task to complete. For example, you can set yourself a goal to read at least three blog posts or at least 20 pages of a book per day.
Needless to say, you have to choose great content. Don’t waste your time reading something you can’t learn from.
When you choose blogs, go for the best ones in your niche. When you choose books, go for the writers that impress you with their style. It’s a good idea to branch out into different genres from time to time, since you’ll discover new inspiration as you read and learn more.
Why is reading important as inspiration for writing? Simple: You can analyze the content to see what makes it so great. You can write about your impressions so you’ll turn your piece into a critique. You can also use the work of great writers to support your own arguments. Write about your point of view, and use authoritative quotes to make your writing more believable. We’ll talk more about quotes in the next point.
You won’t copy the writers who influence you, but you’ll probably adapt stylistic nuances and adjust them to your personal style.
You may even engage in copywork–you’ll rewrite your favorite pieces, and you’ll find a deeper connection with the text. You won’t even notice how the inspiration comes, but you’ll feel like creating something great of your own.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs.
That quote would be a great beginning of an article that teaches people how to recognize mistakes and move on.
How many times have you been inspired by a quote from an exceptional leader? You probably remember a moment when you felt like taking action right after reading something. A great quote may have such power in a moment when you seek solutions.
Well, quotes can serve as practical guiding points for daily writing, too.
When you realize you lack inspiration for your writing routine, just pick a quote by an influential person from your niche, and use it as a writing prompt.
Some starter questions might be: What do you think about the quote? What tips could you derive from it? When the quote is the theme of your writing, you can easily identify relevant issues that your audience faces and create a post with tips they can implement.
Let’s take that quote by Steve Jobs as an example. It has a broad range of target audiences, so it will expand your reach. The quote inspires you to write about a specific issue: people who make mistakes while trying to be creative. The quote will give you a head start. From there on, you can explain the issue in detail and suggest specific tips on how to identify the mistake and fix it, or avoid it in future innovations.
To find inspirational quotes, just think about your niche and, identify the most influential people from that category. Then, search for articles they’ve written (or pull from the articles you’re already reading for inspiration), and I’m sure you’ll find a great quote to jump-start your writing. Goodreads is also a good place to find quotes if you search for a relevant tag. Grab a pen and paper, and start writing about the quote.
Maybe you’re not reading newspapers and watching the news every single day. Like most people nowadays, you probably get your information online. But are you actually paying attention to it?
While it’s easy to get information on current events, it’s even more important to stay on track with everything happening in your industry.
What are the latest inventions? What are the big companies and big leaders doing? As an entrepreneur or a professional writer, your audience expects your commentary on exciting trends. If for example, you work on a blog that delivers social media marketing tips, your readers will expect information on Facebook’s video service that’s supposed to compete with YouTube and Netflix. You want to keep an eye on the trends and be among the first ones to write content about them.
The best thing about news as a source of inspiration is that you’re actually receiving it on a daily basis. Sure, there’s some research involved, but you’ll definitely benefit from it both professionally and personally in terms of your writing goals.
Just check out what the available information is, and deliver something deeper and more detailed for your readers. The audience prefers long-form posts because they like finding all solutions and information they need in a single place. Google understands that, which is why it usually lists long-form content at the top of search results.
With the five ideas listed above, you’ll have a hard time running out of inspiration.
It’s not as hard as you’d think to find something that inspires you to write every day. You just have to be disciplined about this activity.
A fully committed writer doesn’t wait for inspiration to strike. They search for it!
Laura Buckler is a freelance writer and contributor at essays.scholaradvisor.com. She loves to share her passion for motivation and achievement. She believes that everyone can reach their potential by making things more simple.