Inspiration is not something you can force, though it is a necessary component of the creative process. Knowing what inspires you and exposing yourself to it, can help to get inspiration flowing.
I do not actively look for inspiration but I expose myself quite often to things that I know that can inspire me. Inspiration does not come out of thin air for me. Most of the times when I get an idea, I am deep in thought and creating stories in my mind. Talking with other people about things, they can be very random and have not to be related to any kind of creativity, I get inspired as well.
High on my list of things that inspire me is music. Especially music with sad lyrics. I automatically start building a story around the lyrics or I try to relate to them. Sometimes I marvel at how certain emotions are described. More than once music has helped me to convert a certain emotion more clearly to ink and paper. Sometimes I come across a song that fits extremely well for a certain story/scene/character and I can listen to it over and over again without getting tired of it. But not all music inspired me. I have to like it. I am able to get most inspiration from band I really love.
|The beautiful, magical northern lights serve as a great inspiration for me. One day, I hope to see them myself.|
source: Google images
Nature is also a great source for ideas. Reading, especially poetry, and writing has taught me to stop rushing and enjoy the simple beauty around me. It does not have to be an incredible landscape from a faraway place. A seemingly dull tree or a bird that you see everywhere can be enough to trigger a flood of inspiration. Especially autumn is a great season for ideas for me. All the colours and the world slowly preparing for the cold and dark winter are very inspirational. The world is changing right before my eyes. It is truly incredible.
Another important thing that inspires me, are my literature classes and reading. While they do not always give me content ideas, they do, however, want me to experiment with language. Writing is not only about telling the story and how you tell it, but also about using language. Sometimes the language part is very difficult for me because I do not write in my first language. I deem myself to be a decent user of English, I know that my vocabulary is sometimes very limited. Luckily there are always dictionaries and the thesaurus to help me resolve that problem.
There are far more things that inspire me, but those mentioned above are the most important ones I can almost always fall back on. To make them work I have to more or less relaxed. They are, lucky for me, also great ways to become relaxed. But sometimes when I am stressed or very worried, it is almost impossible to relax and inspiration stays away. These states of mind do not last long and I do not allow them to meddle with my writing. There is always something to write about, even though it is about grocery shopping or walking to work. Even such simple things can make a great story if told and written well! Who knows where they might lead.