Sometimes, I find myself sitting in front of my laptop, wanting to type out a story or the next chapter of whatever novel I’m working on, out of the ten I currently have on the go, but the words won’t come.
I could simply be tired or have used up all my energy writing all day at work or just have become so stuck in my usual routines of gym, work, dinner, Playstation/Netflix that I have no creativity to muster.
Obviously, I love to write. I discovered this at a young age, when my late Grandma would take four or five sheets of printer paper and fold it into the form of a book. She’d then secure it with staples and tell me to write her a story, while she worked on of her own, tapping away on a small laptop someone had bought her one Christmas. She only used it for playing solitaire, writing her fantasy novels and emailing pen pals who had made the transition to the 21st Century, while a cigarette slowly burned in the background when she got distracted.
I would write her stories about fairies and unicorns because I was a stereotypical girl who loved anything frilly and pink (until I went to secondary school when I discovered Linkin Park and wore kohl eyeliner and strange fishnet sleeve jackets from Tammy Girl of all places).
I think I wrote and illustrated stories until around the age of 14 of 15, when I suddenly realised boys didn’t smell that bad and that straightening my hair made me look like all the other girls in my year (because when you’re a typical teenager all you want to do is look like everyone else). I didn’t really start up again until I went to university where I discovered that I could complete a Creative Writing module on top of my English Lit degree.
Each seminar I attended would encourage my need to write stories and I actually finished a novella whilst at University that I self published. When I read it back now I cringe at how childish the story is and how poorly constructed my characters are.
I also feel a sense of sad nostalgia because many of the events and characters were based on people I knew at the time and things I had done – because that’s how we create stories, we take moments in our own lives and expand upon them like a crude caricature.
However, I never delete those stories when I discover them in the dark recesses of my document folder. One of my tutors always told us: ‘never erase work’ because later you might come back to it and find a sentence you really like or a character you had forgotten about that you can use in something better.
This past weekend, me and my boyfriend drove three hours up to the Harwood Dales, in the North Yorkshire Moors, to enjoy a ‘proper’ English holiday featuring walking boots, aching feet and walks on the cool British coastline. Something I had never experienced and was actually not looking forward to – my idea of a holiday involved a plane, cocktails and sun loungers by a pool.
The weather was actually surprisingly warm, around 22C, and my boyfriend Jamie being the pale (handsome) nerd that he is turned into some sort of pink lobster/man hybrid after being out in the sun for a couple of hours and the area was beautiful.
Sunburn aside (I might have also turned a little pink), I’ve returned feeling refreshed and inspired but also with that feeling of sadness you get after a lovely break from reality that makes you want to pack up all your things and move away forever.
We went for a long walk on Saturday morning through the national park near our small rented cottage and I couldn’t help but look out over the picturesque countryside and think of Wuthering Heights and the Shire and epic quests and fairy folk and I wanted to do nothing more than sit and write.
Sometimes you need to take time out, break up your routine and seek a new location before your creativity returns – and I hope mine lasts so I can get some words down.
I thought I’d share my thoughts on finding inspiration with you – and the pictures I took on holiday of the scenery, that made me feel a little more inspired.
What helps you get your creativity back on track? Do you have any tips? Sharing is caring!