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Penguinball

Question of the Day #57 - Feeding the Fire

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This is related to QOTD #31 from early 2018. What feeds your imagination? What gets ideas flowing, what keeps the fires of inspiration burning? What do you do to get yourself in a creative, idea generating mood?

There's a couple things I do. I listen to podcasts to get me into the writing mood, it gets me thinking critically. But to get ideas flowing, I usually put on some music and daydream. The bus ride home is great for this. I can let my mind drift and tell myself stories, which often leads me to jotting down ideas, 'wouldn't it be cool if we had a scene where the MC confronts his mother about....', that sort of thing.

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For me, interacting with similar things to the projects helps me come up with ideas and get my writing flowing. Books or shows of a similar genre, hanging out in places that remind me of the theme or premise, that sort of thing.

I also daydream while listening to music. Sometimes the lyrics inspire ideas, whether I take them literally or not. Unfortunately, I don't often write those ideas down and I forget them really fast, ;;. 

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Daydreaming while listening to music is my go-to drug of choice... er, inspiration-provoking technique, as well. Books, movies, games and other media also often provoke ideas. I also like browsing sites and blogs that post writing prompts, especially dialogue prompts. As soon as I spot a snippet of a conversation I can imagine some of my characters having, I start thinking more about it, and then I often come up with a neat scene or an entire plot thread. Most times it's vastly different from what has initially inspired this line of thinking, but that's half the fun. Oh, and whenever I visit some new place, or try a new food, or anything like that, I like asking myself, "What would my characters think if they encountered this sight/taste/smell?" and I let my imagination run from there.

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It really depends. A lot of the time, just talking about writing in Discord, or replying to a post here on the forum, helps me get in the mood. Getting feedback on a piece of writing, or brainstorming, can definitely help. Sometimes it's just a matter of the right kind of movie being on TV, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, to have on as background noise. Sometimes I just have to go into the Fantasy Writers Reddit and look at some of the discussions there, or flip through the (physical) idea journal that I have for writing random ideas down into and something jumps out at me as being something I should use. Music doesn't always help - if I'm listening to the music that I always listen to, which is pretty much soundtrack music with some random artists thrown in, I get too distracted and it's too hard to concentrate. But if I just have the radio on, it's easier to tune it out.

Mostly what helps, though, is just talking, either one-on-one or with more than one person, about writing, or about what I'm specifically working on. Sometimes it really sparks me into wanting to write, and gives me the boost that I need. For example, lately I've basically been avoiding actively trying to rewrite my first chapter for some reason, but I've been getting feedback on the current version of the whole first draft from a friend and her feedback has been giving me a bit more of a boost and I'm working towards finally just kicking myself into focusing so I can get it done.

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I go for a walk and listen to podcasts while walking. That always gets my mind working. Often the subconscious figures out the answer to whatever problem I'm stuck on.

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Reading, especially non-fiction and more particularly history. Some small bit of historical info can be the first link in a whole chain of inspiration.

Mindless work, like mowing the lawn, can sometimes open the way for useful ideas, things that might not come to me if I were 'thinking.' I've come up with more than a  few lines of dialog while working on the yard or biking or some other physical activity. Whole poems too. The problem is remembering them until I can get inside and write them down!

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