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How to Get Inspired

by Rochelle Melander

Last week, we went to see Piano Men 2 at the Milwaukee Rep. Two men play and sing songs on pianos, based on audience requests. The performers played songs as diverse as “Ring of Fire,” “Green Acres,” and “Hey Jude.” They encouraged the audience to sing along—loud and proud—whether we were good or not. When they played the Peanuts theme song, they asked us to bop. We did.

I experienced something I hadn’t for a long time: a spark of inspiration and hope. Ideas for my writing projects and coaching business popped into my head. I felt a little more inspired than I had in a long time.

What happened?

The music and movement awakened my creative brain. They helped me to get inspired.

School and society trains us to be analytic—and not necessarily in a helpful way. As students, we are given problems to solve and mistakes to correct. We are graded on how much we get right, so we begin fearing being wrong.

I see this with my students all the time. When I ask them to draw a circle, they freeze. They say: It will be lopsided. It will look like an egg. I can’t.

I ask, So what if it’s not perfect?

They say, It won’t be right.

They like it when I give them templates. They want to trace something that’s “correct” rather than draw a shape that might be wrong.

In order to make art or write our books, we have to get out of what I call “editor brain” and into our “creative brain.”

So how do you get into your creative brain? How do you get inspired?

Here are some things that help warm you up and get you into a creative space:

Play music.


Make art. (And by this I mean, play with art supplies. Scribble with markers or crayons. Paint with watercolor. Doodle.)

When it’s time to write, try these tools:

Walk and dictate your piece into your phone.

Forget the computer. Use paper and pens, pencils, or markers. Don’t worry if your writing is messy. Just get it down.

You will still get that crippling thought, “But this isn’t right!” Pause, tell your editor brain to chill out and go back to playing with your writing.

Did you hear that?

Go back to playing. Stop thinking about your work as something precious or precise, even though it might be. Just play with words.

Make it more fun by playing music while you write.

Look up some fun words in your dictionary, thesaurus, or a rhyming dictionary.

What else do you do to make writing fun? Leave your comments below!

1 Response

  1. Thank you for the invitation. I was playing with words recently and used multiple rhymes in a sentence.
    •I can make an alphabetical list: I will bend thread and needle, at the end of the day, to fend for myself if you will lend me what I need to mend my blouse. I hope not to rend it again even if people send me to tend to a matter and I must wend my way through prickly places.

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