Quest 1: 10 ways to find inspiration

Creative Questers
Quest 1: 10 ways to find inspiration
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In this episode we talk about inspiration – and how to get inspired! A lot of writers and creatives in general struggle with finding inspiration for their next project. But there is a lot of inspiration to be found in the world around us: From Pinterest boards to a wonderful conversation with a close friend. Christina and Stefka discuss a few of the things that they do to get inspired.

Our 10 tips on how to find inspiration

  1. Join a community: This will give you a space to share, discuss and talk about ideas – which is wonderful to have new ideas or maybe just reframe some old ones.
  2. Browse social media mindfully: Especially visual social media like Instagram, Pinterest, or Youtube can be amazing sources for that little spark that gets you going with your creative projects.
  3. Allow for play and mistakes: Sometimes, the act of writing can be just some random playing around. And that’s fine! There is no need to produce a result. Allow yourself to scribble and make mistakes.
  4. Do something you’ve never done before: Find completely new “triggers” for thoughts or some new plotlines to your story. Even if you just end up having a fun day – that’s a great result too.
  5. Fake it till you make it: Don’t worry about anything you’re creating being perfectly polished yet – just keep at it and collect all the pieces of your story until it becomes something more. That process itself can be inspiring!
  6. Pay attention to the world around you: Look and think about what words you would use to describe the scenery, people, or conversations around you.
  7. Refill your cup: Remember to take a break from writing – read, go to a museum, go for a walk. Use your time with intent but do not pressure yourself to solve a plot hole right this moment.
  8. Avoid perfectionism: Done is better than perfect. And ideas rarely start out as a perfect storyline.
  9. Nurture your ideas: Show up and nurture your ideas. Let them develop. Trust that ideas beget more ideas. Or, to put it another way: just get started.
  10. Practice without fear of judgment: For as long as you want, your writing can be just yours. Do not worry yet about showing it to someone else. Or if you want to share it, be aware of this: most people are kinder than you think and fear your judgment just as much as you feel theirs.

Books and other things we mentioned

 

Transcript:

Stefka Spiegel:
Welcome and hello to all the writers out there who have found us on their creative quest. This is the Creative Questers podcast. I’m Shefka.

Christina Howell:
And I’m Christina. Hello. So we’re here to talk about ideas and where they come from. Yes. We might be the wrong people to talk about this topic because you and I have a lot of ideas. We do. We definitely do. Too many ideas.

Christina Howell:
That’s right. But a lot of people have problems thinking of ideas.

Stefka Spiegel:
It’s always this inspiration discussion, which is such a big word too. Like, what gets you inspired? What do you do to get started with the story? I feel like that is the central question here. So, Christina, what do you do to get inspired?

Christina Howell:
You know, since I write memoir, I just live my life. And stories, like, happen to me all the time. And any time that I stop writing for a while, The universe delivers new stories to me. I just have to be watching for them, and I have to be ready with a notebook to write it down because I can forget them too easily.

Stefka Spiegel:
They, like, just meet you and creep up on you and the ideas that you

Christina Howell:
I think it’s interesting that we both come from different writing backgrounds because Mhmm. For me, It’s intimidating to think about writing something in fiction. And for me, I have no lack of ideas because I’m always having something happening in my life that I Mhmm. Feel like would be a good topic, and I’m always watching for something new. And I think that’s one of my main things since I started Writing or since I acknowledged that I am a writer, I just started looking at the world and just really observing, thinking about as I’m walking around, how would I describe This glorious sunset that is before me right now, or the birds are chirping, you know, thinking about ways that I would describe The different things around me, not only does it inspire me on things I can write about, it just makes life richer. You know?

Stefka Spiegel:
True. Oh, so true. It’s like it’s more like living the moment a lot more because you’re also trying to find the words to, like, the experience you’re currently having and that somehow roots you more in that specific moment. And I think It’s similar for me, actually, even though I write fiction and that’s my thing. Most of my ideas come from something that I see or that happened to me. I remember specifically that a friend of mine sent me a photo of the entrance of a clinic. And I was looking at that photo and I was like, that is totally like a haunted place. That must be haunted. There must be ghosts in there. And I’m sure there is this ghost named Charlotte, which is a story that you know that I talked about, which is the one yeah.

Stefka Spiegel:
I wrote that or I Started that for nano last year and kind of saw that photo. And I was like, Charlotte lives there, and she’s a ghost. She’s been around for a while, and she has all these ghost buddies. And that’s kind of the same thing even though I kind of twist it. So this is reality, and now let me change it. And that’s what I love about it. And I was, like, thinking about this too when because I did a little research before we recorded this just to see what actually inspires me.

I did like a little list of things that I thought were inspiring, and I realized a lot of my inspiration is actually coming from a visual place. I really love to look at photos and browse Instagram far too much, which is horrible, and Pinterest too. But they’re like, I have, like, this whole Pinterest board, which is one of them is called literally writing inspiration. And it can be people in, like, medieval dress up, which I also really love, or it can be just, like, portraits of people, which look super interesting to me.

Christina Howell:
And that’s something that, one of our friends, Marianna, shout out to Marianna. She has,

Stefka Spiegel:
shout out to Marianna.

Christina Howell:
Yes. She has a board Where she’s taken a bunch of notes, and she is plotting out her novel. And she has also printed out her inspiration, these little photos to go along with this. And I think that’s such a lovely idea. I haven’t done that myself. Although when I’m writing, I do pull up images of a place I want to write about. And that really helps ground me in that moment and helps make that description a lot more real.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. Also, regarding mind mapping, there are so many cool tools online that are free that you can use to just create your own digital mind maps you don’t wanna do it on a wall, I like to have this digitally just so I can rearrange it.

Christina Howell:
Do you have any favorite go-to’s?

Stefka Spiegel:
There’s one that’s called whimsical, I think, and I actually like that quite a bit. It’s not intended as the brightest tool, not for, like, world building. So it has a few different features, but I think it works really well. And, of course, our favorite, which is Scrivener, they have all these folders down there, and I’m just starting to get into it because this is one of these tools where you have to use them for a while to actually use all the features in Scrivener.

Stefka Spiegel:
All of these things are tools that you can use to be more inspired or to manage your inspiration, maybe. Maybe that’s a thought there that you just have, like, to manage it and to Rope it into something that helps you create that story and to sit down and start writing and keep with it. And that specifically is a thing that I struggle with. Like, not coming up with ideas, but sticking with the ideas.

Christina Howell:
Yes. That’s a whole another Podcast we’re going to have to talk about.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

Christina Howell:
Side quest alert.

Stefka Spiegel:
Side quest alert. I’m a magpie. I like shiny new things, like stories that are new and wonderful. Oh, I have this here, and then I abandon stories that already have, like, 20,000 words, which I shouldn’t do.

Christina Howell:
For those people who think that they don’t have ideas. I bet they actually do have plenty of ideas, but maybe they’re just afraid To commit to 1 or maybe they’re maybe they’re afraid that they should be coming up with a whole bunch of them like we do. There’s no right or wrong. That’s one thing about Writing about anything creative. What works for me may or may not work for you. Everybody has a different process, a different perception.

Stefka Spiegel:
Very true. And you know what? I even asked a few people these last few days what inspires them and how they get inspired and just wanted to hear what they were saying. And somehow I got into this discussion about ideas being precious, that there’s this thought that Ideas are unique and that you kind of need to protect them in a way. And I was researching and found an article, And that specific article actually said that ideas aren’t precious if you don’t do anything with them. Oh. And I thought that was very clever.

Christina Howell:
Yeah. It’s so true. And that makes me sad. There are so many ideas that I’ve had that have just sat. I have this whole list. I’m a big list list-taker myself. And we all have our different tools, Trello or Notion or whatever. That way can always be something you can come back to. Perfectionism is also something we’ll have to have another complete section about another podcast just about that. It can be a killer of creativity.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh, yes.

Christina Howell:
I know that when I’m writing, I have a tendency rather than just charging through and and writing that shitty first draft. But as people like to say, I think, oh, I need to write about this. Oh, I need to write and I get So distracted. And so what I’ve started doing is put these ideas in another place in Scrivener or another place in Trello And just try to keep with the moment with that Yes. Inspiration at hand and not get overwhelmed or worry about Making this piece that I’m working on perfect. Oh, got it. There’s a sentence that needs to be tweaked that can be tweaked later. If I don’t just keep on going, then I might lose track of where I was headed in the 1st place.

Stefka Spiegel:
It’s so hard to pick up that thread again. It’s just if it’s lost, it’s lost somehow. Like, I’m remembering all these things. I read it about perfectionism and writing in the past because there’s so many people who have talked about this and wrote about this. Is it Stephen King who said something along the lines of perfectionism in writing actually is like, It’s the biggest enemy, of course.

Christina Howell:
Well, I love Stephen King, and I love quotes about perfectionism.

Stefka Spiegel:
Did Stephen King write the Book On Writing, was that him? Am I remembering that correctly?

Christina Howell:
You are correct. Yes.

Stefka Spiegel:
I love this book. And there’s so many good thoughts in there. The idea that you have to be in a Pacific mood to start writing. And your desk has to be cleaned up, and everything has to be perfect. And you can only write if this list of 10 conditions is met And that that is connected to the perfectionism thing, and that is complete and utter bullshit. You can just Start writing whenever, wherever.

You don’t need to be in the mood. And you also don’t need to have a perfectly cleaned up apartment, which I know I don’t.

Christina Howell:
Yes. And I think I just found his the quote you’re looking for. He said, don’t wait for the muse. He’s a hard headed guy Who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. Yes. That was it.

Christina Howell:
And I think that’s such a good point. It can be an excuse. Mhmm. To say, oh, I I there’s no point in writing unless the muse is visiting because there are moments where the The flow is there. The muse is visiting and and and that’s wonderful when that happens, but It doesn’t always happen. It doesn’t always happen. And you have to be there. You have to be ready in a practice, in a place where you are regularly writing, Or else the muse is just gonna come and you’re not gonna have time for it, and it’ll just go to someone else.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. Absolutely true. 100% true.

Christina Howell:
And there have been plenty of things that I’ve written that I haven’t been really inspired about at the time when I’m writing it. But still, I’m getting the words down, and I can come back later and be like, oh, yeah. Now I remember why I wanted to write about this. And in a later phase, I can really make it shine.

Stefka Spiegel:
Mhmm. True.

Christina Howell:
And so I think putting in the practice and getting the words down. Yes. One idea begets another idea and you get better, you get into that flow more often

Stefka Spiegel:
Mhmm.

Christina Howell:
But you have to show up. You have to be there. And that’s just something I also did a little research. I read this article about it was actually from Scientific American. So not about writing, But just about where ideas come from, and this author compared ideas to pregnancy. So you have to have, like, this fertile environment for the ideas to grow. And then once you have that idea, you have to feed it. Just like a baby, you have to feed it and nurture it Or it’s gonna die.

Christina Howell:
Yes. I really loved that that image. Agreed. Not the image of the baby dying. I don’t,

Stefka Spiegel:
You know? No. No. No. No. No. Let’s not go there. No.

Christina Howell:
No. No. No. No. No. That’s what I meant. This is not that kind of a Stephen King story.

Stefka Spiegel:
Nah. Nah. Not good there. I totally agree with all of that. It’s so nice that we have this wonderful writing community here in Munich. So shout out to them. Shout out to all of those people because I know I wouldn’t get half as much writing done if it wasn’t for them. And, Yeah.

Stefka Spiegel:
The regular meetups, which always great.

Christina Howell:
Yeah. That that’s how you and I met was through Shut Up and Write. Yeah. And That I find there is something magical about being in the company of other writers And writing while other writers are writing that maybe the muse is there. Maybe it’s somebody else’s muse that comes and taps on my shoulder and says, Oh, since you’re here, I’ll give you a little a little something

Stefka Spiegel:
Maybe it’s like it’s like a fairy circle where they all Hold hands and just dance around us invisibly and do, like, their thing. And there’s magic in the air and, you know, like all the fairies.

Christina Howell:
Now we’re gonna scare away the rest of our shut up and write group.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh god. Oh, and the people are never gonna show up again because they’re gonna I don’t want fairies in my ears.

Christina Howell:
But, yeah, I I find that just being there, even though No one is actually gonna be looking over my shoulder and, you know, calling me out if I’m actually playing around on social media and I’m not actually writing, but still, I feel a stronger sense of commitment to myself.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. True.

Christina Howell:
And to kind of to those around me when I’m in one of these meetups to to actually get the words on the paper.

Stefka Spiegel:
Agreed. And there are also Amazing friendships, which develops just from that. So hooray. Writers are amazing people. True. Absolutely true. Best people in my life most of the best people in my life are writers. Do you have more thoughts? Pick 1 more thought that you want in here.

Christina Howell:
There was something else that I wanted to talk about, and I’ve I’ve been kind of circling around this in in our conversation is that people may think that they’re not creative or may think that they’re not a writer or whatever. Mhmm. Like, I used to think that I wasn’t creative at all. I think partially through these meetups and being around other people, seeing that other people felt the same way, I started believing in myself more. I started seeing that I wasn’t so different from these people who I obviously felt these are real writers. Yeah. But they’re not so different for me.

And part of it was due to the medium. Part of it was due to practice. I started out my creative aspirations actually in the visual arts. And like I was an art student in high school and college. I had some skills with paint, but 0 skills with anything more We’re, like, required the commitment of, like, pen and ink or watercolors or something like that. And similarly on the writing side, when I started trying to write fiction, I found that Really difficult to create ideas out of thin air. But once I started writing memoir and personal essays, these are things that Actually happened to me. And so it just started feeling a lot more natural.

So maybe this brings us to something that you’ve mentioned before, the importance of trying something different. If you feel like you’re not creative, that maybe you just haven’t found your calling. Maybe you haven’t found your what you really want to be writing yet.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yeah. And this can this can be sometimes just giving yourself permission to try something completely new and just allow yourself to be bad at that too. Just doing something for the fun of it. And there’s, like the word amateur is used so terribly. Like, it’s a bad thing, but it comes from the Latin word for love. So you’re doing something for love, and I adore that idea. Yeah. It’s like to be an amateur is to do something just because you love it.

And isn’t that the best reason to do anything, really?

Christina Howell:
I love that. So we wanted to kind of wrap this up with a list. I know that Shefka felt conflicted about having a numbered list, but I told her, Look. I get where you’re coming from, but people like lists. So we’re going to have 10 Tips for how you can come up with more ideas. And Stefka’s gonna kick us off.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yeah. And I think this first one is one that we actually touched a lot already in this conversation, which is join a community. And I think it’s really good and amazing even to Share and discuss and to talk about ideas, like, which we do in Shut Up and Write 2. And we started this project with the 100 word project where we do 100 word sorry. What were you gonna say?

Christina Howell:
Oh, I was just gonna say, I just love that you’ve started that. It’s such a cool, fun project, and I feel is gonna lead into one of the things that we’re gonna talk about later. So sorry.

Stefka Spiegel:
No worries. So we write a 100 word story every month for a specific prompt that we choose together and then meet up and share it to read it out loud to everyone else and to get into the kind of in a habit to share your writings, to read them out loud, to receive feedback, and to not be afraid to have your voice heard. And that’s kind of what I loved most about this, kind of hear people’s writing voices. Like, for some of the people that are part of the whole writers universe and have should have been right, in Munich, I’ve Known them for, like, 2 to 3 years now, and I’ve never heard anything of theirs. Like or never read anything that they have written.

And this is awesome, especially because you hear it in their voice too. So that is definitely a thing. If you can, do join a community. Be part of it and participate in readings or in, like, story swaps and stuff like that. See what other people do and shape your voice within that cosmos of other writers, and get inspired by that.

Christina Howell:
Mhmm. Joining the community, I obviously am a really huge proponent of this. It’s really enriched my life in so many ways.

Stefka Spiegel:
Same here. Absolutely.

Christina Howell:
Yes. So we go to number 2. Yes, please. My number 2 is paying attention to the world around you. We’ve talked about this already, but, I really think that you can come up with so many ideas if you just Pay attention and look at the scenery, the people, listen to the conversations around you, and just think about What words you would use to capture those things? And when you think about the world, when you observe the world in this way, it really opens up So many possibilities of little characters that you can use in your stories or ways that people speak or don’t speak with each other Mhmm. Can really Blossom into some new ideas.

Stefka Spiegel:
True. Like, the color of a bird that is sitting on that branch. I’m so into color in the natural world because I always thought that there’s no way that nature is more colorful than what we have in, like, illustrations or, like, with all these artificial colors. Like, there’s no way. And then you actually look, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Like, it’s so colorful. Like, every bird, every tree, and every flower.

Christina Howell:
Especially if you go to Costa Rica. Oh, oh.

Stefka Spiegel:
I believe that immediately. Let’s go there right now.

Christina Howell:
Okay. Oh, wait. We have a podcast to finish.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh, damn

Christina Howell:
So number 3, Stefka.

Stefka Spiegel:
Number 3. Alright. So This one is one where I really have to stress the idea of doing this mindfully. The 3rd tip we have Is browse social medias mindfully. Because especially with visual social media, like I said before, like Instagram and Pinterest and also YouTube, You get so much that can be the spark for a new story and so many thoughts and ideas that have wrapped into that. And for me, especially, because I’m a very visual person, that works really well. And I have all these Pinterest boards, which keep my ideas together, and I I kind of Create these characters. I wanna ride with, like, specific clothing.

I see, like, a dress that I adore, and I’m wondering which kind of person would wear this dress? So I kind of save the pictures, and then I write those stories later on. But, of course, with social media, there’s always the danger of getting lost in the scrolling process.

Christina Howell:
Don’t go down the rabbit hole.

Stefka Spiegel:
No. No. Don’t. Do this mindfully and keep track of your time spent online.

Christina Howell:
I think timers can be really helpful. Yes. And I’ve done this on my phone. I found it’s called digital well-being was the setting on my phone. Mhmm. And I found that that can be a big game changer for Giving yourself a certain amount of time for playing and for browsing the social media and such, and then getting back into The thing that’s really important to you in focusing on your creativity.

Stefka Spiegel:
True. True. And you already had that wonderful buzzword of playing in there, which I think leads us directly into the next tip. Right?

Christina Howell:
Yes. So it’s so important to take inspiration from the world around you, so much of what we’re talking about is related to that. But, number 4 is refilling your cup. So we don’t have to be thinking that we always need to be productive. Part of being productive is Being inspired and reading books by other people that you admire, getting inspiration from them, Going to a museum, going for a walk, doing this with the intent of being inspired, but not with the pressure that you immediately have to go and, you know, write 1,000 words about whatever the event this is. But giving yourself this permission to Go and play to be inspired by others and to refill your cup and get that Yes. That well of inspiration back within you.

Stefka Spiegel:
Mhmm. So true. Sometimes being uninspired can be the product of being overworked and of pressuring yourself too much and making yourself do too much. And as soon as you start giving yourself space to think, That creative spark is there. It’s within you. You just have to give it space to expand. There’s this idea that People might have actually been more inspired in the past just because boredom was more common. And when you’re bored, You’re in this state of allowing yourself to think and to play around with stuff, and then you get inspired and create new stuff.

Christina Howell:
And Oh, yeah. When was the last time you were bored? I don’t remember.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yeah. That’s the thing. No no one gets bored in this modern world because there’s always something. And as soon as you get bored, you reach for your phone.

Christina Howell:
Mhmm.

Stefka Spiegel:
Which yeah. Yeah. Tricky. Tricky business.

Christina Howell:
It is. But yeah. And this leads directly into number 5.

Stefka Spiegel:
It does. It does. Number 5 is to do something you’ve never done before. And that’s A cool thought because sometimes it can help to find completely new triggers and through this, new ideas and new fields of ideas. And this doesn’t have to be writing related. Like, you could even go to, like, a trampoline park and just jump around, allow yourself to do some sports. Like, Sports, especially for me personally, they help with kind of freeing my mind up. You kind of do physical activity, and your mind gets in gears well.

Also related to what we already said with arts and stuff like that, if you’ve never done, I don’t know, Watercolor paintings. You might wanna try it out just to see if it’s actually fun and if you like it and if you’re into it. And, also, it might be the perfect inspiration for a new story. Like, different arts can kind of connect to each other and inspire each other. At least that’s what I find. And I’m not good with music. Like, I don’t play instruments. I’m not a good singer.

But sometimes it can be nice to just get lost in music and use that as an inspiration for a new story.

Christina Howell:
Mhmm. And what I thought of when you said doing something you’ve never done before, I thought of, like, how your 100 word story project Yes. And how that has really inspired me to Try out new things and to explore other types of writing.

Stefka Spiegel:
Mhmm. I like playing around with poems Even though you know I’m not a poetry kinda girl, I I like playing around with that and with rhymes and rhythms. I’m not particularly good at it yet, but I’m an amateur. I do it full off. So that is perfect.

Christina Howell:
Well, that takes us to number 6, avoiding perfectionism. As we’ve discussed already, perfectionism can kill your creativity. And if you just Allow yourself to try something new or to try something that you’ve been trying that you’ve been working on forever without expecting it to be Amazing. Perfect. Wonderful. Right out of the gate. If you give yourself the permission to write something that Might be really crappy to start with, but if you just work through that Mhmm. And and not let that perfectionism paralyze you.

Then you can often Like a lot of times, I will actually just start writing. I don’t know what I want to write. So I guess I’m just gonna write these stupid words, You know, there’s something ridiculous, whatever words are in my head. And then eventually, it’ll lead to something. I’ll free up something By writing just anything till I’m I’m writing something that’s actually oh, yeah. This is something I’d like to explore further. So just the process of getting the pen on the paper, if you’re old school or just starting to type something without having to have this Idea that whatever you write is going to be beautiful from the moment you start writing.

Stefka Spiegel:
True. Don’t be afraid to put your pen to paper, literally speaking, and just get into it. Right? It’s and also when I write, a lot of times, especially with fiction stories, I start something, and I’m like, something goes here. I don’t know yet what, and I will literally write it down. I have no idea what’s happening here. And then I’ll just Jump to a scene further down the road and do a go go along with that. And even, like, I I just write and just move on because I’m no idea what’s happening here.

Stefka Spiegel:
Let me just see what I already have figured out in my head, and then we’ll see. I’ll come back to that. And it’s fine if it’s Not matching up. I’m gonna make sure all the strings align later on, and that’s fine.

Christina Howell:
Definitely.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yeah. And with that, let’s move on to our tip number 7, which is carry around a notebook. And that is actually a thing. I tried in the past. I’ve been really bad at it because I am bad with sticking to 1 notebook. I have a 1000000 notebooks just flying around here randomly, But it can be amazing to actually have that notebook handy and just scribble down a quick note if you see something or if you hear something or if you just Think of something, like, really randomly and just write it down. I even used for some time in the past. I used to rip up tiny pieces of paper and scribble something down and just collect them in my bag, which was horrible because it was a great big mess.

But for for some time in the past, that was how I wrote, especially when I had those Ideas, like, at the office because I was like, I cannot just start writing in a notebook and write, like, a whole paragraph or or something. I’m supposed to work, but I I had that Thought. I was like, I’m just gonna really quickly. So I would take, like, a Post it note, write it down, and just put it into my back just like later. And at night, I would Take all of that, scoop it out of my back, and try to make sense of that mess. But it was a start.

Christina Howell:
So yeah. Well, and you bring up something really important is you take down the note initially, and you come back to it at the end of the night. Yes. This is something David Sedaris does. He carries a notebook with him everywhere. And he says at the end of every evening, he comes and he’ll just, like, do a little Download or, you know, just quickly journal about what it was because his note might say something, You know, something completely nonsensical. The things that are coming to my mind are not appropriate to say right now, so I’m not going to Because I have I’ve had some notes from my memoir, and I’ve come back to them later. And I’ve been like, surprised.

What happened here? What? Oh, no. Amazing story, but what was it?

Stefka Spiegel:
You’ve been you’ve been really good about not cursing, and I’ve already done it. So I feel like Boat has sailed like that. It’s over.

Christina Howell:
So if you don’t write about it that evening, that idea, Even though you’ve done the work of scribbling it down, the memory is a fickle fickle thing. And You might not actually remember the details of it unless you ground it a little more.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. And that circles back or something we’ve said A lot before, like, the writing meetups we have in Munich and the Shut Up and Write group, which meets, I think, like, 3 to 4 times every week. So those are fixed time slots in at least my calendar to sit down and work. And if I have those notes, I can just scoop them out of my back and try to make sense of them. And regarding the meetings, I think we’re already diving straight into our tip number 8.

Christina Howell:
It is. Tip number 8 is to show up, nurture your ideas, and 1 idea begets another idea. A lot of people say that showing up at a specific time is really valuable for their productivity and for your muse, if you show up. And at a certain time every week, every day, whatever it might be, then you’re gonna be a lot more apt To come up with ideas during that time, you’re gonna be open to those ideas, and then you’ll have those notes that you’ve made in your notebook that you can come back to, and hopefully, you haven’t had time to forget about them. And if you just get started and just start working and Give them some food.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. Get them some people.

Christina Howell:
Yeah. Do it. And then you can just get in that rhythm, and those ideas will be coming before you know it. And then you’ll be like Stefka and I. Like, okay. Enough. No more ideas.

Stefka Spiegel:
Let’s let’s just run with those ideas now. Let’s let’s Stop having new ideas. It’s too much. Too many plot bunnies in this head. No. It’s not a good thing.

And if you show up to those writing meetups and you sit there and you think you’re not a real writer, which We’ve also talked about it before. Just remember, you have to fake it till you make it. You are a real writer just by sitting down and putting words onto paper. That alone, I think, makes you a writer, and that is enough. And if you want to call yourself an author just for that, You can. You’re an author of your own stories and of your own life, so to say even. Like, that is so important. Don’t get caught up in that idea that you have to have published at least 5 books, or this and that many essays or whichever mode of genre of writing is yours.

Don’t get caught up in that.

Christina Howell:
Yeah. I was so intimidated. The 1st time I was going to go to a shop and write, I was in Berlin and my cousin convinced me we should go to this. Should I have been right? And I was thinking, well, I’m not a real writer. You know, I had thousands of words I’d written already, but, no, I wasn’t. I was expecting for some reason, I’m thinking all of the people when they’re gonna be these Esteemed writers with, you know, maybe they had, like, tweed jackets with patches on the elbows and things. I don’t know. I was and I thought they were gonna laugh at me and think, oh, that silly little girl from Kansas. She’s not a writer. But you see, if you just go and show up, you see that everybody else around you is feeling the same way. There’s no special pact you have to make, you know, whatever to show up.

Stefka Spiegel:
To sign a deal with the devil. There’s no pact. We promise.

Christina Howell:
If you just show up and tell yourself to everyone else that you’re a writer Yeah. Guess what? You are.

Stefka Spiegel:
Congratulations. Yeah. And I feel like this whole idea of the imposter syndrome that a lot of writers deal with is a whole new episode we have to tackle.

Christina Howell:
Yes. Definitely. We can talk about that for a full session, I think.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh, yes. So, yeah, I think we have 1 more tip left on our list.

Christina Howell:
And that takes us to number 10, practice without the fear of judgment. If you just show up, keep writing, and don’t judge yourself. Give yourself the freedom To explore whatever world you want to write about. Your strength as a writer is going to grow. Your Words are going to flow more naturally. Yeah. And your stories will get stronger and more interesting, and you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.

Stefka Spiegel:
True. True. And here’s the secret. Every 1st draft is shitty. That is Always gonna be the case. Like, I’ve never once at least for me, that is true. I’ve never once in my life written something and just left it the way it was initially.

Sometimes I have these phrases that I’m super in love with. But then again, there’s also the very popular saying about killing your darlings, and I have to remind myself of that quite often while writing. And yeah. What was this thing about writing sober and editing? No. Writing drunk and editing that’s the right way to do it. So yeah. In case people

Christina Howell:
It is another Stephen King quote, and he’s referring to those very favorite things that we write about. Sometimes, Unfortunately, those are the things that actually have to be killed. And so if you get too attached, you might be wasting your time if you’re trying to build your whole piece around this. His quote was, kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart. Kill your darlings.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. And it’s so true. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And I’m learning to be less attached to my precious little words that I and my precious little ideas that sometimes need to be scrapped. And sometimes that is true as well. You have an idea and it just doesn’t work out. That’s fine too.

Ideas can also be recycled later on into other stories, or maybe they were just there for a moment, and then that’s fine too. Yeah. That is kind of the essence of this whole list and all these ideas and tips that you have to Put the time in. Allow yourself to be ready to get into your ideas and also to just play with them and see what happens. And don’t Freeze up and worry about being perfect or about it turning out on the 1st try in like a perfect manner. That’s not gonna happen. And that does feel like a wonderful ending note right here.

Christina Howell:
Well, yeah. But you had introduced me to this. This was something that you put in our podcast notes about this Zee Frank video.

Stefka Spiegel:
Oh, yeah. Oh my god. Alright. Everyone who hasn’t seen this video, let me tell you about this YouTube video, which at this point must be a decade old. I don’t know. It must be 10 years,

Christina Howell:
I think. It is.

Stefka Spiegel:
And it’s this guy called yeah. It’s he’s called safe he’s fairly popular. Like, he’s called Ze Frank, and I feel like a lot of people know him or have heard of him. True story or true facts.

Christina Howell:
True facts about the sea pig.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. That’s what he sounds like. And before he did that, he did something called a show. And with that show, he started with that 1 video that I’m referring to, which is I think it’s called an invocation for beginnings.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. And he has visual poetry. It’s so good, and I love to come back to it every time I feel like I cannot start with something. Mhmm. And it reminds me of all these things, like, to not the perfectionist, to not worry about being he even has this quote in there about, let me not worry about being too old, to used up to whatever, and I think that is so true and all of the things you said. So if you take anything from all of us, please watch that video. I hope you take more than that, but watch that video.

Christina Howell:
It’s great. Yes. The thing he said about perfectionism was perfectionism may have shiny shoes, but he’s a bit of an asshole and no longer invited to our pool parties.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. I love that. And the whole video is like that, so it’s totally worth watching. And it’s only, like, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stefka Spiegel:
Well, Christina, thank you so much for having to talk with me. It was it’s always A great pleasure.

Christina Howell:
It was a pleasure.

Stefka Spiegel:
Yes. And so much fun. And I hope some of the people listening to this also get some new inspiration and had some fun. And, yes, I think that’s it from us.

Christina Howell:
We need to have a catchy, like see you later sort of thing to say.

Stefka Spiegel:
May your quest be always on point and lead you to your goal.

Stefka Spiegel:
Or maybe something like that. We’ll come up with Something Yes. With the next few episodes, I’m sure.

Thank you for joining us on today’s creative quest. If you have some thoughts you want to add to our musings Or just want to say hi, feel free to get in touch with us.

Christina Howell:
You can reach us via Instagram where we are called Creative Questers, or simply send us an email at creativequesters@gmail.com. Till we quest again.

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