3 Ways to Inspire Your Brain
You’ve either just finished a novel and need an idea for a new one, just started a novel and need ideas to get the ball rolling, or are struggling with writer’s block mid-novel.
You need that oh-so important inspiration.
But how do you get it?
Inspiration doesn’t just fly through your window. In fact, you’ll more often find that as soon as you’re looking for it, it’s even harder to find.
However, there are ways to trick your brain into thinking creatively.
Here are 3 of them.
GET WITH NATURE
I know it sounds a bit hippy-dippy wishy-washy but it has actually been scientifically proven that immersing oneself in nature is very good for you.
One study found that people who spend time in rural areas have much lower levels of stress. In Japan, forest bathing is now an official stress management therapy.
A Study by the University of Michigan found that individuals showed a 20% increase in short-term memory improvement following a walk in nature.
We are designed for nature, not the artificial and technologically dominant world we live in. With a better memory and a greater sense of calm, your mind can work wonders!
Nature is also a great place to come up with stories: the beach with the sound of the waves and children playing; the stillness of a forest and the creaking of an old tree in the wind. Where do you think Tolkien was when he created the ents?
SEE THE WORLD
This is vital, though more difficult since not all can afford it (though there are plenty of ways of travelling super cheaply!).
Travelling is vital because it helps you to see and think outside the box you’ve been brought up in. You can discover cultures that will change the way you think about the world. You’ll see and learn so much about people and yourself.
Travelling will open your eyes.
Pack a notepad and pen and book a bus, train, or flight. It’s time to develop your knowledge of the world.
Consider On the Road by Jack Kerouac; one of America’s greatest novels. It was a direct result of travelling!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CULTURE
Art, photography, films, theatre, literature, music… learn from those who have been before.
Immerse yourself in whichever interests you most, though make sure you don’t neglect the rest.
Art (in the broadest sense) is there to make you think and rethink; it’s there to test your boundaries, develop your opinions, and teach you something about the world and its people.
It is the perfect tool for finding inspiration, especially via cross-pollinisation (mixing the forms of art together).
They all say, ‘as a writer, you must read’.
But it is also incredibly important to develop your knowledge in an entirely opposite craft.
If you’re a photographer, get to know the world of music.
If you’re a musician, get to know the world of literature.
If you’re a writer, get to know the world of art.
Now, I’m damn lucky and I know it. I love in the countryside ten minutes walk from a large wood. I have travelled far and wide (New Zealand, South East Asia, Japan, Europe, Africa etc). In summer 2017 I went to La Biennale di Venezia - Italy’s largest art festival (it started in 1895!). I have ticked all of the boxes listed in this blog post and, granted, I still have trouble finding inspiration at times.
I am not claiming these three points to be the answer to gain ever-lasting inspiration - but they are definitely the best places to start!