Taking Inspiration and Making it Your Own: How to Write Your Own Story
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Taking Inspiration and Using It to Your Advantage
Writing a story isn't easy. It seems like every story these days has been written a hundred times over. This is why I rely on inspiration to help me through writer's block!
And that's exactly what I did when I wrote the plot for Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss(PGNEK)!
If you've been keeping up with the blog, you know I was inspired to take my children's book to the next level after my friend challenged me to write a children's book in December 2019. Luckily, I already had a children's book written 11 years prior.
BUT! I've never spoken about the inspiration surrounding PGNEK from when I originally wrote the story in high school.
*Note: spoilers ahead.**
In 2009, my senior English class was assigned to write and design a retelling of any fairytale story. At the time, Disney's Princess and the Frog was just released as the latest box office hit, and I knew many of my classmates would be using the story as their guideline. I was not one to jump on the band wagon.
For over a week, I wrote retellings of other fairytale stories only to find them disappointingly uninspired and too similar to other retellings.
I wouldn't stand of it!
Instead, my mind kept wandering back to Princess and the Frog. So, I finally caved. With the assignment due in just two days, I finally sat down with pen and paper in my hands to find my inspiration.
Closing my eyes, I thought back to reoccurring instances in my life. Why you ask? Well, there's one simple answer. If you've read a children's book before you would notice most of them repeat sentences or ideas throughout the story. So what better way to relate to a children's book then to find something that repeats over and over in your own life.
With eyes closed deep in thought I burst into a full on laugh attack(if you know me this isn't hard to do) once certain flashbacks from my past crossed my mind. A certain theme had unfortunately weaved it's way in and out of my life over the years at that point.
Eye poking? Yes, you read that correctly! Eye poking. Somehow since a young age I have collected several stories where someone's eye had connected with my pointer finger. I underlined the last part of the sentence to emphasize I DID NOT, in fact, poke them in the eye when, in reality, their eye jabbed my finger. It's true, I promise.
From that moment, I knew exactly what to write. I giggled the entire time as my pen hit the paper.
Pleased with the story, I had to have it stand out against the other Frog Prince retellings in class. So, I designed the illustrations with good old colored construction paper, an endless supply of glue sticks, stickers for days, and a newly bought scrap book.
In the end, it was perfect...at least for me. Luckily for me, the rest of the school thought so too as it was read in English classes throughout the high school in which several students came up to me afterwards saying how much they enjoyed the story.
Now 12 years later, I've taken it to the next level. Instead of construction paper, I hired a digital illustrator to make the story a reality. Together we created something amazing for everyone to read all because I was inspired by eye poking!
P.S. For anyone who is curious... I got an A+ on the assignment!
7 Ways to Find Inspiration
Having writer's block can feel overwhelming! Feeling uninspired is even worse! Sometimes it can last a few hours while for others it can last months or even years. But, there are several ways to get inspired! You just have to find what works for you. Below, I have listed 7 ways for you to find inspiration to help you write the next best novel.
1. Take Experiences from Your Daily Life
As I mentioned above, I used an event in which I experienced to get inspiration for PGNEK. You should too! Writing about something which has personally happened to you not only gives you inspiration, but it comes across as being authentic and relatable which readers love! Think of a life experience and start writing! I promise everything will flow from there.
2. Go on a Nature Walk
Getting out of the house and going for a walk can clear your head from all the noise we deal with in our daily lives. Fresh air and being in nature can give you a new lease on life with a fresh take on writing. So get out and take a walk!
One of my old roommates and I used to walk around the neighbor and come up with stories based on the houses we walked past. It was a fun game and inspired more and more stories there after.
3. Listen to Music
Music is emotional and can bring up strong feelings. I've written an entire story based off a 4 minute piano piece I once heard played live. It moved me so much I had to write about the emotions I felt in that particular moment. So dig deep and see what moves you!
4. Go to a New Location to Write
A change of scenery can do wonders for you. My favorite is to go to a coffee shop(even though I don't like coffee) just to change things up a bit from the mundane work environment. This simple change in location can brings tons of inspiration!
5. Use a Random Generator
This is one of my new favorite obsessions! If you've been keeping up with my Random Generator Stories you know how much of a challenge it has been for me. For those just joining, I use a random word, phrase, or sentence generator in which I have to use whatever result it gives me and incorporate it into a story. The challenge is so inspiring and definitely takes me out of my comfort zone. I highly suggest this one!
6. Retell A Story From A Different Point of View
Retellings are very common, but the best, in my opinion, are from another character's point of view. Especially secondary characters whose spotlight was dim in the original story. This leaves much to the imagination when it comes to retellings, because no one can tell you otherwise! Take a lesser know character from your favorite book and try it out!
An example I've done is Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby who is seen as a liar. In my retelling, she is speaking the truth, but no one believes her. A great twist and also good character development.
7. People Watch
This is another one of my favorites! Seeing people interact with each other can leave you wondering and speculating especially when you don't know what they are thinking or saying to others around them. I've conjured up several stories based on watching people. So next time you go shopping take a look around and see if you can come up with anything!
Through the years I have used this technique to get out of a rut and make stories my own. So, I hope this post inspired you to start writing your next story!
If you have more ideas of how to find inspiration leave a comment below. I would love to hear them!
Don't forget to check out Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss available on Amazon now! Maybe it can inspire you to write your next story.