Any writer will know the nightmare of writer’s block. It can happen at any time, to anyone. Finding ideas and inspiration can be challenging. However, there are many methods to help you overcome this difficulty. One such method is to mine your own life for ideas. Storytelling is something we do all of our lives, many of us just don’t realize we’re doing it. Whether it’s talking to someone, keeping a journal or simply the memories you keep – they’ve all got a story. You will have millions of experiences within your lifetime, making it an abundant source of inspiration.
A great starting place for stories can be a “what if”. For example, what if an asteroid hit the earth. There are plenty of these scenarios within your own life. Every decision you make is a potential fork within the road. Your life has taken a particular route however, it is possible to create a story from one or more of those choices. For example, what if you had dropped out of school? What if you had said yes to going to that party? What if you hadn’t taken the bus to work that day? You have access to all of the tools, all you need to do is make up the what ifs.
Readers love authenticity in every genre. Whether you’re writing high fantasy, gritty thrillers or non-fiction, readers enjoy the authentic feel. It doesn’t matter if the world is real or not, the characters and settings need to feel authentic. “While you might never have been to a dragon’s keep, you can bring your own experiences to your writing to make it feel more real. Using your memories, emotions, and experiences to enhance your writing will help to bring your book to life,” advises Jose Hanna, chief editor at Academicbrits and 1day2write.
Research can be one of the most tiring parts of writing. You don’t want to spend hours researching when you want to be writing. The great thing about finding inspiration within yourself is that the research is already there in your head. It’s easy to be an expert on your own experiences. All of the information is already there, ready for you to access, so you might as well use it. You may think that you’ve not done anything interesting or relevant. You’ve probably never fought a dragon before, however, you’ve probably felt afraid at some point in your life, you’ve probably stood close to a fire, you’ve probably run until your lungs burn – you get the idea. While you may not have had that exact experience, you can twist and manipulate your own experiences to bring authenticity to your writing.
The most prominent memories are often powerful moments from our lives. These are the memories that make us laugh, smile, cry or keep us awake at night. Powerful moments such as these are great starting points for stories, they have stuck with you through the years, now it’s time to use them. “The experiences and emotions that you have felt will help to guide your hand. While you don’t need to use the exact memory, you can adapt it to your writing style. Often while writing using your own memories it can trigger other memories and inspiration that will help to progress your writing,” adds Melony Gibson, a regular contributor to Originwritings and Phdkingdom.
Not every moment will stick with you forever. However, there are plenty of everyday moments that you will experience that can help with your writing. Places you visit can help to create new worlds. People you see can form new characters with new stories. Try to visit different places and open up your senses to the world. Your experiences will inspire you and add a level of authenticity to your writing that’s difficult to find without experience. Remember to keep a note pad on you as you never know when inspiration will spark.