inputsSometimes you need to take a break from creating. If you’ve been outputting your imagination intensively, you’ll need to rest and refuel. Treat your mind to some inputs from these sources.


I am often inspired by the visual so firstly:

Search on Tumblr – people create amazing art and take inspiring photos. There are writing communities and fan communities and people who just post random stuff. Search for something and follow the tags that come up.

Check out pixabay – free to use images and illustrations.

Play on canva – create some designs with their simple ceative tools.

Pinterest, obviously. Create a mood board or just pin quotes to get you motivated.

Look at readymade book cover designs. They always make me want to write the book that goes with them…


Don’t neglect audio inputs for inspiration. Many writers listen to music while or before they write, but music is not the only option.


Ambient noise, such as this ready-made cafe background noise. This really works for writing at your otherwise boring desk.

I also like nature recordings of water or surf. These are good for relaxation but also for when you are trying to describe a specific sound. The British Library has a host of recordings you can listen to, from all around the world.

Spotify playlists. There are lots of categories and styles,  and if you are a regular listener, it suggests music you might like with Spotify Discover.

Movie scores. These are my go-to writing background music. Lately, it’s been the fantastically romantic and uplifting score from Fantastic Beasts, but what you choose would depend on what you’re writing.

I’ve mentioned Spotify for music, but I also listen a lot to classical music on Classic This isn’t stuffy old recordings of hour-long obscure pieces – this is [popular classical, mostly short pieces and includes contemporary classical, movie score and music composed for games. I’m no Final Fantasy gamer but the music is awesome.

Titillate your ears with foreign language radio. I don’t mean a language you can understand, I mean sounds that your brain will stumble over. get those synapses firing!  BBC Radio Cymru is good for this – where else, outside of Wales, will you hear Welsh spoken?

Touch and Taste

New inputs from other senses are inspirational too. I’ve picked two pleasant ones!

Eat new food. If you live in a city this is an easy option. You can pick somewhere new to eat out – Lebanese or Polish or Korean. If you’re at home then you can cook that thing you never cook from the recipe book. Travel is the best way to taste new foods – iguana, say, or reindeer – but there are restaurants around which serve you zebra burgers and crocodile nuggets, if you look.

If all else fails, check out The Gallery of Regrettable Food. I found this site in about 1997 and it’s still great! Pictures from the recipe books of your mother. Or grandmother. Get inspiration on quirks for your stories with articles like Cooking with 7-up or Jello Art of the 20s and 30s.

Touch something new. I know that sounds weird, but truly, how often do we feel new stuff? (OK – every I time go clothes shopping. I touch every item in the shop to see if it passes my can-bear-to-have-it-near-my-skin test. But still). I touched sealskin in a market in Norway and wolfskin. I’ll never forget that. I understood immediately how hunters used sealskin for waterproof clothing. And the wolf fur was deeper than my fingers could reach. Just seeing a picture of the thing would ever convey the understanding that touch collected.

What inputs do you seek out for fresh inspiration?