Inspiration

So this is officially my first blog post! I’m so excited to be joining the 48fourteen team. This is a wonderful bunch of talented authors, and it’s wonderful to be numbered among them. I’ve been writing on and off since I was little. But I am also a graphic designer and illustrator, and love to combine all three talents. My debut novel, Fire of the Sea, is YA fantasy, and involves a bit of magic, mythology, and mermaids. To learn more about me and my path to publication, you can view my profile here on 48fourteen, or hop on over to my author website: www.lyndsayjohnsonwrites.com

For my first blog post I thought I would jump right in and talk about inspiration when I write. I am a mood kind of girl by nature. I feel like I have to be in the mood to write. I could never be that disciplined author who sets a goal for themselves to write everyday. I mean, I probably write something everyday somewhere (blog, email, penned note, short and sweet tweet). But realistically I am just not going to add to my work in progress every day. Maybe in a perfectly-crafted fantasy world, where the main character is really goal-oriented, right? 😉

I have to feel inspired to work. Some days I am inspired to work on an illustration, other days I’m inspired to cook large batches of whatever I am craving (I’m pregnant), and every once in a very great while I am inspired to work on the laundry (but don’t hold me to that). And some days I write.

So what flips the writing switch? Usually a combination of weather and music. If the clouds are spilling over the mountains and I can find the perfect dreamy tune, I will sit and write all day long (taking breaks to feed the children, of course). When I was working on my debut novel, I listened to endless amounts of Sigur Rós. I was going for something Icelandic and magical, so that’s what worked for me. In fact, I really didn’t even need the weather to comply when I had my playlist on (we lived in sunny California at the time—try finding a moody Icelandic day in Los Angeles). I seriously think I spent an entire summer in the cool, basalt sea caves of Scandinavia.

But there are times (deadlines for sure) when you just have to write, in the mood or not. I do go stretches where I’ll write every single night before bed for weeks, then take a hiatus for a while. And when I’m on that kind of a roll, I hate to get sidetracked by the dreaded laundry. So here are some things I do to keep up my creative momentum:

• I set up my writing space to be the same every day. That way when I sit down, my brain hopefully clicks in and says, “Oh yeah…we did this yesterday. It’s time to write.”
• Again, music. I set up playlists for each of my writing projects. Headphones + Writing Playlist = Bingo!
• I’ll do an image search for images that I feel look like my characters, setting, time period, etc.
• I banish kids, and sometimes the husband. I want to really get into my created world. If someone is going to watch TV in the same room, that won’t fly. I actually prefer to write on my laptop in bed. So I just set (nice) rules for when I am writing and someone else has to be in the bedroom. (What? It’s 2am and you want to sleep? Fine, but no snoring.)
• I pay attention to my dreams. I’ve had a number of extremely detailed dreams that lead to story ideas. But I’m not a notebook-beside-my-bed kind of girl. I just type any impressions or notes into my laptop when I wake up. Sometimes I’ll even find myself writing for over an hour.
• Read. Listen. Watch. I’ve found so much inspiration/motivation from snippets I’ve heard on NPR, hidden legends in old books, and just observing people. Even reading other author success stories can nudge me enough to write that day.
• I refer to my outline often. I’m not a “pantser.” I create a fairly detailed outline for each project. So if I feel like I am getting derailed, I can pull myself back into the story.
• I go to the library. Do I even need to say more? I think the smell of books alone triggers some part of my brain that needs to write.

So there you have it. Those are just a few things I might do to keep up with my writing as often as I can. What are some things that inspire and motivate you?

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