I spend a few hours writing every day. However, it’s the time outside of that writing where I get random book ideas and often solve plotting point issues.
I’ve been out for my run when a random story idea will hit me, based on something I thought about or felt at the time. Sometimes if something is going on in my life, I write or journal about it to process it. Sometimes that leads me to story ideas. I write them all down as soon as I have the chance. If my phone is with me, I have note and recording features.
If I need a brain break throughout the day, or even during my writing time, I will lay under a light blanket and cover my eyes. I let my mind rest. Sometimes it drifts to story ideas or plot points. Sometimes this quiet time is where my mind gives me my next scene idea, so I know what happens next in the story. My favourite blanket for this is a blanket I edged myself, and it’s a comfortable light fleece with the Gryffindor crest all over it. Nothing like a magical themed blanket to magically trigger ideas in me!
During meditation I’ll let my mind wander if it goes to one of my active stories. I let the scenes and ideas come, just like my time laying quietly, and see what my mind comes up with. I don’t think actively, I let my deeper mind tell me what the story is. I only allow it to go to active stories, otherwise I direct my attention back to my breath, unless I get an amazing story idea. It’s better to pause the meditation and write it down than forget it after.
I’m also a gamer, and I love epic games with a strong story. I don’t care for things like racing games and first person shooters, but give me a good fantasy adventure or something and I’m all in. Same with movies and other books. Seeing what other creators have done sometimes inspires me with my own ideas. I also sometimes will be inspired by a character, then loosely base my own characters off them, or take features I like from multiple characters that I love and make someone new. Sometimes it’s the relationship between characters that’s inspiring.
Knitting is also a great time to let the mind wander, as is any task that you don’t have to concentrate hard on to complete. During these moments I let my mind stay passively engaged by the activity, but it can wander to my story. Often these are the moments that I discover what happens in that moment that I’m stuck.
Ultimately, writing doesn’t happen just in writing time. That may be when the idea hits the page, but the ideas are allowed to come at any time. Story ideas are recorded as soon as possible, and plot points are remembered and put down during my next writing session. I always remain open to inspiration, and because of that, I have a file with over 15 different story ideas to work from when my first novels are done. Being open means the creativity can always flow. Apps can help gather ideas and notes, and writing time is when those turn into a reality.
Stay open, stay creative, and go write!
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.