Building Your Writing Inspiration Toolkit: Part 1

Whether you’re brainstorming new projects or wish to  reanimate your ardour for a work in progress, a writing inspiration toolkit can help you set the mood and immerse yourself in the world of your story. You can pre-emptively create this toolkit on a day you’re fired up for your project or gather these items when the going gets tough to help pull yourself out of a creative rut. Here are nine tools to have on hand to help fan your passion:

1. A list of movies or shows in your desired genre. Sitting down with a new show or an old favourite can act as both research on the genre and a fast-track to a writing state of mind. You can also opt for a movie or show featuring a writer as a main character. Becoming Jane and Stranger Than Fiction never fail to reignite my desire to write, but perhaps Misery will do the trick for you. 

2. At least two books – a favorite fictional read and one on craft. Lose yourself in a fictional story of the genre you’re working with when you’re in need of ideas or having trouble capturing a tone. Conversely, turn to a book on craft when you’re feeling flat in regard to writing in general. Reading how other authors get through rough patches or familiarizing yourself with their tips on routine could be what you need to get back to your own ritual.

3. A bookmarked folder of articles on your web browser. Anytime you read an inspiring piece online about someone’s perseverance or the writing process, bookmark it to a special folder. Sift through these saved articles for quick pick-me-ups when you need a break from your work or an opener to your writing session.

4. Genre-related music playlists. Build a playlist of songs that remind you of your story or browse other public playlists to use when you write. Search for fantasy music, top love songs of the decade, or some experimental electronic an alien in your story might enjoy. You can also save movie or show soundtracks, as they often don’t have lyrics to interrupt your train of thought.

5. Decorations for your space. Are you writing about a Christmas dinner in the middle of summer? Bring your snowman cookie jar or reindeer pillow out of hiding. Writing something spooky? Play with the lighting in your room or hang up an old Halloween mask on your bedroom door. You can also choose to decorate your writing space to a character’s liking. Perhaps your protagonist is a minimalist or would keep a stuffed animal on their bed.

6. Saved images on any social platform (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc). How do you imagine your character’s hometown? Is there a nature scene or a setting from a video game that conjures up that feeling you want others to have when they read your work? Save photos and art to these sites to shuffle through when your vision for a scene feels muddled.

7. A related scent. By selecting a perfume, room spray, essential oil, or candle for your project, you can link the scent to the act of writing your story. Pick a fragrance that reminds you of the setting, such as a cedar candle for a book that takes place in the Pacific Northwest, or opt for notes that energize, like citrus or peppermint.

8. An outfit to set the mood. Would it help you to write about the 1960s if you wore that vintage shirt with a groovy pattern? Maybe donning a ratty house robe will allow you to channel your character’s heartbreak. Use your closet to your advantage when you need to add dimension to a scene or invoke a feeling.

9. A journal specific to your project. Keep a notebook with you even when you’re not actively writing to use when inspiration hits or to serve as a reminder of your story so that the wheels keep turning. Decorate it to look like a journal your main character or favourite author would keep or purchase one that already fits the genre, like a worn, faux leather book fit for your western screenplay.

Everyone will find meaning in different objects and approaches. Consider what naturally plunges you into the world of your book and reconnects you to the art of writing itself. Your toolkit is for you and you alone, so let it be as wild and kooky as it wants to be.

  • Posted by Julia McAlpine
  • May 18, 2020 11:42 AM PDT
A writing inspiration toolkit can help you set the mood and immerse yourself in the world of your story.




  • Why Does My Manuscript Ke...
    Here are five reasons why your manuscript may be rejected, and they have nothing to do with the quality of your writing!
  • Tips for Submitting Your ...
    There’s nothing magical about getting your work accepted. Here are some tips to give you a better chance of getting your work read and published.
  • How To Develop More Confi...
    Having fears, doubts and low confidence is all part of being a writer, whether you are new, experienced or even successful.
  • And Now for Book Two: How...
    There are a few ways a Book II is different from Books I, III and beyond. While no series is the same, many follow a set of suggestions that help Book II stand out.
  • 2021 Writers' Conferences
    We’ve compiled a list of 2021 writers’ conferences in the United States to help you find one that fits your needs.