How to regain inspiration? - Myth-Weavers

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How to regain inspiration?

How to regain inspiration?

Was doing great for a while. Had all the ideas and all the energy to respond to all the posts. Lately tho, everything feels so blah and I feel like I'm flagging. My content hasn't been as good as I know it could be, the time between my posts is getting longer and longer, and I know people in games that I both run and play in are waiting for me.

So my question is this, how do you go about getting your muse up and running again?

Where does your muse come from normally? What sparks your imagination?

Reading, or re-reading books is how I get my imagination to fire. Read something along the same lines as what you're playing in without the intention of borrowing from it. Or perhaps trawl the internet looking at images of something similar? Hopefully it will get your mood back and help you be more imaginative again.

When was the last time you had a vacation? A complete change of pace? Just getting away from your routine?

I find looking at art or minis helps find new ideas. Working on games for different genres helps. I also find gaming music can give me some new ideas. Try "Two Steps from Hell" or "Future World Music".

Well, the first thing is to throw the idea of a "muse" that controls what you can do out of the window - you can write whatever whenever you want, not when some fickle winds decide now it is a good time to write! People chasing "muses" kinda give too much power to something they feel is out of their own control, and when it comes to mindsets, your own thoughts are what makes or breaks it. You're a strong independent writer who needs no stinkin' muse!

But in situations like these, I can see three different solutions.

1. Writer's block? Just out of ideas but you do want to write? Write. Anything. Whatever. Push yourself over the blah by just doing it until your mind gets that you gotta do this, so it does it. Writing a roleplay post, can't come up with anything? Start writing whatever comes to your mind, start from the middle or the end of the post, write about something completely unrelated, anything to get the juices flowing. Only way to cure writer's block, waiting won't do anything.

2. Are you feeling more like you don't want to write? Burned out? Take a break. Opposite advice from that writer's block thing and you might wonder which one to go with, but try to search your own feelings. Is writing only making you more miserable? Are you just feeling tired? Do you actually have ideas but you don't just want to write them down? That's how you'll know.

3. Something big happened in real life? That could also be affecting you. You might either have to solve that issue first before you can really return, or get it to a point where you can relax and think of other things. Writing can be very therapeutic too, though, so if you can manage to make it into such a tool, it could help you even when things are hectic in your life. But this you gotta solve however you feel the best.

I wouldn't worry about "quality" or "length". Post what you feel or what you can get out, if you decide that keeping writing is what you should do. Sometimes a sentence is all you need and that rarely takes as much time and effort as a longer post. Gamemaster posts are a lot trickier and tend to have to be much longer and complex because of how much stuff you have to write in them, but as long as you hit everything you need to hit, it doesn't have to be amazing and a perfect example of writing or anything. If your players can manage, you could try playing a situation where a GM isn't constantly needed for a while. Your players might be able to give you ideas and story hooks if you just feel like you're out of ideas for your games. As a player, you don't need to do all the hard work alone if you can put yourself in your character's shoes and feel what they want - they know what they want to do, so just do what they would do!

This is a near constant question in online communities I visit around other creative pursuits. I helped teach improv at one point, too. This is going to come from a combination of teacherly advice and personal experience.

Back to basics: Remember why you're playing Maybe you're trying to write compelling drama, as play by post tends to attract. Maybe you just want to have fun. Maybe you're here to do both.

If you want to write compelling drama then take a moment to think about that character's purpose. What is the character's message, reason for growing, and such? If you're writing to have fun then your question is, "What is the fun answer to this situation?" If it's both then do both.

Just check in. No stress. Back to basics might even clear away some clutter that built up.

Letting Go of Clutter: Stephen King's "On Writing" has some grim words to this effect. Sometimes you need to let go of a really wonderful piece of clutter entirely because it's cluttering your purpose. This clutter is a lot of fun. You're excited about it. It leads to so many cool things. Every one of those things is getting in the way of the story you're trying to tell. You need to let go of it.

I'm not going to post his phrasing of the concept. I will suggest that a shiny distraction might be a great character concept for a future game.

Find the fun. These are games. There should be an element of fun. If you're weighing yourself down then try to let go. One post at a time. Write something that seems like an obvious, fun post. Don't worry about perfect either. Your perceived "imperfection" can someone else's inspiration. "Perfect" might rob you of fun and other players of new ideas. On that note.

I'm going to paraphrase Susan Messing's view of improv. "If you're not having any fun then you're the jerk." She didn't say jerk. Fun is contagious. When you have fun you're excited. That excitement will spread when you have a good group. Fun can be a lot more important than people think.

Communicate with your groups. If you're really worried, then communicate in the OOC thread. Something like, "I might be writing (shorter/different) posts for a bit, and I'm really thankful to be in this game." Keep it short and on point. They'll ask questions if they want/need to know more. You may be surprised to know that they aren't putting such dire expectations on you.

Go on an adventure. A real one. Drive out in a new direction, eat somewhere you've never been before. Today is Saturday, which means there might be some kind of nightlife near you. Just be responsible and safe. Or if you're introverted, try to see some new book stores or museums or something.

Personal: The biggest source of inspiration to me is a good adventure. Meeting people. Doing new things. The biggest way to keep that inspiration is to stay on message. What does this book / character / song / painting need to say?

Originally Posted by BestAtNames View Post
I wouldn't worry about "quality" or "length". Post what you feel or what you can get out, if you decide that keeping writing is what you should do. Sometimes a sentence is all you need and that rarely takes as much time and effort as a longer post
I agree with this very much. Not every post needs to be an eloquent literary achievement. Sometimes your character just needs to walk down a hallway or finish lunch.

Play by post lives on momentum. A brief but forward-moving post can be perfect no matter what your mood is.

I hope that you find what's fun for you. If all you can write is a ten word update then have the most fun you can writing those ten words.

Thank you everyone for the support and advice. I appreciate it.

I think that BestAtNames and MrAndrewJ gave some really solid advice. It jibes well with my experience writing, both play-by-post games and in my professional career.

For my own minor contribution, I always find coffee to be a fantastic source of inspiration. Friends of mine choose other kinds of inspirational beverages. Your mileage may vary.

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