It\u2019s a contradiction we writers know all too well: wanting to write with every fibre of our being, but lacking the necessary inspiration to get started and\/or keep going.\r\n\r\nSo what are we to do when creative motivation is lacking? Simply waiting around for inspiration to strike isn\u2019t a viable option, but neither is forcing something onto the page just for the sake of writing. We\u2019re left with no choice: we have to take inspiration into our own hands and seek it out ourselves.\r\n\r\nThis is definitely easier said than done, so to help our fellow writers out of any creative ruts, we\u2019ve put together these six simple tips for becoming and staying inspired as a writer.\r\n\r\n\r\n1. Gain experience\r\nIt\u2019s hard to write something truly good, something that profoundly connects with readers, if there\u2019s no experience behind the writing. Now, when we say \u2018experience\u2019, we\u2019re referring to both writing experience and general life experience. Let\u2019s look at the difference between the two.\r\nWriting experience\r\n\u2018Wait a minute,\u2019 you may be thinking. \u2018Isn\u2019t this a bit of a catch-22? If I\u2019m having trouble finding inspiration to write, how can the solution be\u2026to gain more writing experience?!\u2019\r\n\r\nWe know it sounds tricky \u2013 and, truthfully, it can be. But there\u2019s no getting around the facts: the main thing that makes your writing better is doing more of it. Writing and inspiration go hand-in-hand as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy: often, the more you get stuck into writing, the more you\u2019ll be inspired to continue writing, and so on.\r\n\r\nLikewise, the more you write, the better you\u2019ll get, and the more chance you have at success through publication or recognition. Oftentimes, a bit of encouragement and the reassurance that you\u2019re doing something well can provide you with all the inspiration you need to keep going.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTo get to that stage, though, you do need to face one of the most common problems for writers: getting started. But we have a few helpful hints in that vein, so read on\u2026\r\nLife experience\r\nIt may sound clich\u00e9d, but the truth about literature is that when it comes down to it, all writing is about life. Every writer, whether consciously or subconsciously, draws on their own knowledge and experiences to inspire them and breathe life into their work.\r\n\r\nAs a writer seeking to be as prolific as possible, it can be easy to forget that actually living life is the best way to have things to write about! Spending all your time holed up, concentrating on putting words on the page, can actually be counterproductive. It\u2019s impossible to write something that has real conviction, passion and impact if it\u2019s not coming from a real place.\r\n\r\nSo, besides the natural course and events of your own life, what else about the world can inspire your writing?\r\n\r\nTravel, of course, can be a wonderful muse; new cultures, new people and new adventures are all great catalysts for your creative spark. Getting out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in unfamiliar places can refresh you and provide new perspectives from which to consider life.\r\n\r\nHowever, you don\u2019t necessarily need to spend six months abroad to foster inspiration for your next story. Seeking inspiration can be as simple as sitting in a caf\u00e9 or on a park bench, people-watching and listening to snatches of conversation, observing the flow of the world around you and allowing it to blossom into concepts and stories.\r\n\r\n\r\n2. Read widely\r\nThis one is a given, and it\u2019s probably something you\u2019ve heard many times before, but the importance of reading can\u2019t be stressed enough. All good writers are readers too. No matter how individual a style or how natural a talent you have, your writing will always be made better by the other work you read and absorb.\r\n\r\nObviously, you should read extensively within the genre or style you intend to write in, but don\u2019t limit yourself to that alone. Whenever you\u2019re not writing, try to devour a variety of genres and forms. Explore fiction and non-fiction, short-form and long-form, poetry and short stories, magazine and blog articles\u2026 Read everything, and read often!\r\n\r\nReading becomes especially crucial when you\u2019re lacking inspiration. We don\u2019t necessarily mean that you should go searching for new ideas within other people\u2019s works; while a brainwave might indeed strike you while you\u2019re in the middle of a new novel, it\u2019s more likely that reading will simply remind you why you became a writer in the first place. Try to use the work of other writers as a constant source of encouragement, inspiration and motivation.\r\n\r\nWhen it comes to non-fiction, books about the craft of writing can come in especially handy. There\u2019s an incredible number of books about writing out there, so the titles you find most helpful and inspiring will depend on your individual writing aspirations. To get you started, though, there are a few classic staples that we recommend, as they will serve any writer well. These include:\r\n\r\n\tOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King\r\n\tBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott\r\n\tOn Writing Well by William Zinsser\r\n\tThe Writing Book: A Practical Guide for Fiction Writers by Kate Grenville\r\n\tThe Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction by Stephen Koch\r\n\tZen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s a great tip in today\u2019s age of smartphones and social media: replace the time you\u2019d usually spend aimlessly scrolling Facebook with some proper reading time. Whenever your hand automatically reaches for your phone during lunch breaks or before bed, redirect it towards a book instead! Your writing will thank you for it.\r\n\r\n\r\n3. Be part of the writing community\r\nWriting is something of a lonely pursuit. Solitary by nature and by necessity, the craft of writing demands that its pursuers spend a great deal of time inside their own heads. While this suits the majority of writers, there are times when it inevitably leads to frustration, a sense of isolation and a lack of inspiration.\r\n\r\nWhen this is the case, it\u2019s time to re-join the real world, and the best way to do so while also seeking inspiration is to connect with likeminded individuals in the writing community.\r\n\r\nAs we mentioned in point 2, the work of other writers is often a great source of inspiration \u2013 but what about writers themselves? Surely there\u2019s no better way to motivate, reaffirm and refresh yourself than by reaching out to people who are just as passionate about writing as you are!\r\n\r\nObviously, this isn\u2019t as easy as flicking Margaret Atwood an email to ask for a few tips. Instead, you\u2019ll need to track down writers online or in your area \u2013 most of whom will be amateurs just like you \u2013 and start up a discussion, a joint project, or even just a new friendship.\r\n\r\nA few good ways to immerse yourself in the writing community include:\r\n\r\n\tJoining a local writer\u2019s group or your state Writer\u2019s Centre;\r\n\tAttending literary festivals, events, classes and workshops;\r\n\tParticipating in online forums, such as Facebook groups for writers;\r\n\tExchanging work with other writers for feedback and critiques.\r\n\r\nThe pleasure and benefit you\u2019ll gain simply by talking to another writer is a gift in itself. To discuss your shared passion and craft, and perhaps most importantly of all, to be reminded that other people are having the same difficulties as you\u2026 There are few things more encouraging or inspiring to a struggling writer.\r\n\r\n\r\n4. Keep things in perspective\r\nWriting anything at all \u2013 whether it be a well-developed short story or (gulp) an actual full-length novel \u2013 can be extremely daunting. An insurmountable wall of possibilities and obstacles can loom up before you, and questions like \u2018Where do I start?\u2019 or \u2018How can I ever finish?\u2019 can haunt even the most confident wordsmith.\r\n\r\nAt times like these, it pays not only to remember that you aren\u2019t alone (see point 3), but also to have a sense of perspective. Tackle things in terms of the bigger picture: remind yourself that all writers have been where you are, and that the only way you can truly fail is never to start at all.\r\n\r\nTo lessen the intimidation factor, keep in mind that writing just a few hundred words every day will add up in the long run. Before you know it, you\u2019ll have a solid foundation upon which to build and expand or refine and improve.\r\n\r\nFor every writer, crafting stories takes time and extensive effort, so don\u2019t beat yourself up about the problems you can see with your manuscript or the length of time you\u2019re taking to write it. Just take things one word at a time; after all, that\u2019s the only way to get things done.\r\n\r\n\r\n5. Know yourself as a writer\r\nA writer, like any other professional, needs to know how to play to their strengths. By doing so, you\u2019ll ensure that you\u2019re at the top of your game, producing the best work possible \u2013 and you\u2019ll also nip a lot of insecurity and doubt in the bud.\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t dwell on your writing\u2019s weaknesses or despair over the aspects of the process you find most difficult. By all means, work to improve these elements, but never allow pessimism to consume you \u2013 and, most importantly, never compare yourself negatively to other writers. Instead, focus on what you do best and what you\u2019re most passionate about, and you\u2019ll always find the inspiration and motivation you need.\r\n\r\nFor instance, if you have a knack for immersive, detailed description, try to build your story around this technique, painting a vivid and engaging portrait for your readers. If you\u2019re more suited to writing snappy, compelling dialogue, use that as a focal point in your writing instead \u2013 or even try out a completely different medium that favours dialogue, such as scriptwriting.\r\n\r\nAs well as knowing your strengths as a writer, you should also make a point of structuring your writing process around your strengths as a worker. For example, if you find you\u2019re most creative and productive first thing in the morning, get up early and dedicate AM hours to writing. Night owls, on the other hand, might choose to rise later so they can stay up writing into the night.\r\n\r\nThe bottom line is that no two writers will ever write \u2013 or work \u2013 in exactly the same way. Use this to your advantage by honing in on your individual strengths and allowing them to inspire and guide your writing.\r\n\r\n\r\n6. Focus on writing first and editing later\r\nAt one stage or another, you\u2019ve no doubt come across this sage piece of advice: \u2018Write drunk, edit sober\u2019. (While it\u2019s commonly attributed to Hemingway, there\u2019s no evidence that he ever actually advised such a thing \u2013 but that\u2019s another story for another day.) While we\u2019re firm believers that you should do what works for you in order to be inspired, we\u2019re not necessarily suggesting that you pop a bottle of red every time you want to write!\r\n\r\nRather, we\u2019re saying that you shouldn\u2019t hold yourself back in any way when creative inspiration strikes. Have you ever sat down to write and found the words flowing forth quickly, effortlessly, almost as if you couldn\u2019t control them? Have you ever found yourself feeling suddenly compelled to scribble down a phrase, thought or idea, even though you\u2019re not entirely sure of the direction it\u2019s leading?\r\n\r\nOur advice is to always embrace that feeling completely. Whenever you\u2019re struck by pure inspiration like this, don\u2019t interrupt its flow for anything \u2013 let alone to correct grammar, change a word or rearrange a sentence. Without overthinking it, allow yourself to write whatever comes naturally, and don\u2019t stop until you\u2019ve run out of words! Get everything out onto the page, even if it doesn\u2019t quite make sense or isn\u2019t as elegantly phrased as you\u2019d like.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s easy to develop the habit of editing as you write, but the truth is, this is neither the most productive nor inspiring way to do things. The writing and editing sections of your brain are totally different. When you\u2019re writing, you\u2019re tapping a well of creativity; you\u2019re giving your mind free rein and exploring any and every possibility. When you\u2019re editing, however, you enter a much more critical mindset, applying judgement, logic and rules to strip your work back to its purest and most effective state.\r\n\r\nAlways remember that a first draft is just that. It can be sculpted and shaped to your liking a hundred times before it ever sees the light of day; what\u2019s important is that you have some truly inspired raw material to work with in the first place.\r\n\r\n\r\n***\r\nSo, writers: after all that, are you feeling any more inspired? If not, don\u2019t worry. It could just be one of those days \u2013 we all have them. Take a break and come back to your writing later; but in the meantime, perhaps try out one of our suggestions and see if it stimulates your creativity. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.