Inspiration Station – 10 Tips to get to writing

The first Monday of the year, a perfect moment to get some inspiration! For people that write a lot, nothing is more terrifying than writer’s block. To help you beat that beast we’re here to provide you with a couple of tips and tricks to set off for a course to Inspiration Station. Read on to find out what we do to keep the inspirational juices flowing.

1. Listen to music

Data finding his inspiration playing the violin.
Data finding his inspiration playing the violin.

One of the common things being mentioned when talking about inspiration is music. Music has the ability to transport us back to a particular moment in time. It can evoke emotions. It can show us a moment that we haven’t lived ourselves. Whether it’s very lyrical music, that tells the full story of the rise and fall of our machine overlords or fully instrumental renditions of classics, next time you’re stumped for what to write look no further than your favourite Spotify track list.

2. Ask your writing buddies for inspiration

O'Brian and Bashir helping each other out!
O’Brian and Bashir getting drunk on Inspiration!

What’s the point of collaborative writing if you don’t ask for their help when an ugly writer’s block pops up its ugly head? Tell them you really don’t know what to write about. Everyone has been there and they are more than willing to help a friend and colleague out. It doesn’t matter what the two of you write about. Make it a quick bit of dialogue at the replicator. A bit of gossip in the turbo-lift heading to the bridge. Anything that will help you get some words on the screen is better than nothing!

3. Get inspiration from Writing Prompts

Jake Sisko writing
Jake Sisko also followed these rules to write readable posts!

Writing prompts are a great way to get inspiration. They allow you to not worry about what you need to write, they allow you to just worry about how you write it. We will be sharing some of our very own writing prompts in our Inspiration Station series. Writing prompts really give interesting twists to incorporate in your writing. Even if you just use one and write something unrelated to what you were working on, at least you’re writing again. Any form of writing scares off the ugly beast of writer’s block.

4. Watch some episodes of your favourite show

Tom and B'Elanna binging some TOS
Tom Paris and B’elanna Torres love to go back and watch some of their favourite Star Trek Episodes.

Since we’re in the business of loving the shows we’re writing for, why don’t we go and find inspiration by watching an episode or two of the show that brought us here? Always be careful not to turn it into a full re-binge of the entire Dominion War, but watch and episode or two. Perhaps ones that are similar to the plot you’re currently in. Alternatively, watch your favourite Star Trek Film. And once you’re done with First Contact you should have all the inspirational adrenaline to get your motor running again!

5. Create a side character

Jeffrey Combs' many characters
Jeffrey Combs being and inspiration to us all.

Not all writing needs to centre around your main character. It sometimes helps to get a fresh perspective on the situation that you’re currently in. We all get tired of looking at a star chart, or fixing whatever your crew broke, why not create a character in a different department? This even allows you to help out if anyone else ever runs into some trouble inspiration wise.

6. Always be prepared for unexpected inspiration

Semper Fi!
Starfleet’s MACOs are always prepared! Semper Fi!

Any author’s best friend is a notebook they can carry on them at all times, because you never know when inspiration strikes. This is not a good tip for Star Trek writing, but writing in general. Whenever you hear a name, read a news story, see an inspirational picture or have a good wandering thought. Grab your notepad and your pen. That way, whenever you need inspiration, all you have to do is grab your little black book and go through it.

7. Read, read, and read some more

Picard reading all his favourite posts
Picard reading all his favourite posts

The good thing about collaborative writing is that you’re not the only one that’s writing. So go back and read some of the old posts. Read your own character’s biography. Why not also read your crewmates their character’s biographies. While you’re at it, read some past posts or posts on another vessel. Get a Star Trek novel, read that. Read something else, anything really. Everyone writes in a different way, they focus on different things and it’s always good to get a fresh look at writing. It doesn’t really matter what you read, but read something.

8. Find pictures that inspire

An inspirational black duck in a sea of conventional yellow ducks.
An inspirational black duck in a sea of conventional yellow ducks.

Like music a nice picture evokes emotions. There’s dark and gloomy ones, but also bright and happy ones. There are plenty awe inspiring science fiction images floating around the web as well. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, so that’s already a full post wrapped and sorted! It’s also said that looking at a picture that displays a break from convention, like the black rubber duck one above, inspires out of the box thinking. Simply seeing that picture just now made you more creative. You’re welcome!

9. Set a target

Ezri Dax looking for an inspirational target to hit
Ezri Dax looking for an inspirational target to hit

What slows people down sometimes is the tendency to go back and rewrite parts they have already written before. Getting so stuck on the details that no words make it to the page without being scrutinised ten times over. Beat that by setting yourself a goal. A goal with a time limit. Like within the next fifteen minutes, write 400 words. It’s as simple as that.

For some people that extra pressure is detrimental so make sure it works for you. For most people it can really help to stop worrying about where all the commas should and shouldn’t be, and if armour should be written properly or in the American fashion. Set yourself a simple (but challenging) target to reach and reach it. That act alone immediately gives you a good feeling, hooray for dopamine, which makes you want to set a new target. Reach that target and you want to go one more time. You see where this is going? A new post. That’s where.

10. Just. Do. It.

Just Do It!
Shia LeBeouf shares his most important tip for getting inspired

In the end the only thing that’s stopping us sometimes is ourselves. All the thoughts and worries about whether or not what we’re writing is any good. Sometimes all that you need to do is get those fingers going. Once you get the rhythm back in those fingertips the rest will follow. Writing is like any skill, you need to do it often, you need to keep practicing and you will get better. You will find what works for you. Go back to that.

Share your inspiration!

A bonus one, or maybe even multiple. Share your tips on how you get inspired in the comments below! Be back here every Monday for even more tips and tricks straight from Inspiration Station!

Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkensaltzer, PhD
L.I.S.P. Professor

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

– Saul Bellow

Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkaselzer, PhD.

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