When I sat down at my computer almost six years ago and decided to try and do something crazy like write a book, I didn’t know anything about the craft of writing. I didn’t know about genres or word counts or dialogue tags. All I knew was that I had an idea and I wanted… no… I needed to get it out of my head and onto paper (or a computer). And I needed some writing inspiration.
When writing, sometimes we get lost in the rules. We let our heads outweigh our hearts. And that’s not what readers want. They read romance to feel. But how do we do that when the world is basically blowing up and we have jobs or kids or both? How do we find inspiration to create the happily ever after our readers deserve?
Granted, maybe not at the news… that crap is depressing. But on your drive to work or at the park and pushing your kids on the swings. If you make a point to look for the beauty in the world, you’ll find it. Trust me, plot bunnies hide in the wildest of places.
Writing Inspiration — How I Found It
My book, Intercepted, is about an NFL girlfriend who discovers her longtime boyfriend is basically a scumbag at the same time an old fling reappears in her life. My husband played in the NFL for eight years. When I thought of writing a book, I fought myself on letting it be a sports romance. “It’s not glamorous or exciting. Why would anyone want to read about my boring life?” I would ask myself as I pounded away at my keyboard.
But then I realized something: I’m not writing my life. I’m writing a novel. A story about a fun-loving woman who is fighting for love and self-discovery.
And even though it’s not my life, man, did I have so much writing inspiration from the years spent as an NFL wife to make it special. It meant something to me. My main characters all have bits and pieces of the wonderful women I met as an NFL wife. My characters are real to me, and in turn, I think that makes them real to the readers as well.
Yes, romance follows the same formula and a happily ever after is demanded, but no romance is ever the same because no two writers are the same. No two writers have lived the same life or had the same experiences.
Meshing what you’ve lived with what you can imagine might be the purest form of magic there is.
What are your favorite books? When you read them, what are some of the little things that stick out to you the most? For me, one of my favorite parts about reading is feeling like I have traveled the world. In Dylan Allen’s novel, Release, she sets the majority of the story in Ghana. Besides being moved by a beautiful love story, she also was able to totally uproot me. Even months after finishing the book, I still catch myself picturing the beach she described or researching the new foods she introduced me to. Kristen Ashley so flawlessly moves between Denver landmarks and her own worldbuilding that she has convinced me, a Denver native, that there is a motorcycle compound on Broadway (which there still isn’t, no matter how many times I’ve searched).
Keep a notebook with you. That crazy idea you had for a business you’ll probably never actually start? That could be your next main character’s job. The dream haunting you that you just can’t seem to shake? It might be your next plot. The ridiculous thing your husband said at dinner? Well, he doesn’t need to know you are quoting him.
Find Writing Inspiration in Everyday Life
Your life is an adventure and your mind is the glorious place where you can make anything happen. Look around. Find inspiration in the mundane. Your voice is important and your story is needed.