Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fun - Confessions of a Sophomore Author - Part XI - Time for a Little Inspiration

It's time for Jennifer Hayward's monthly Pink Heart Society column:  Confessions of a Sophomore Author!  Today she's talking all about inspiration, and how it can be found in the most unlikely of places...

Hello! TGIF. This week in Confessions of a Sophomore Author it seemed appropriate to talk about downtime and how necessary it is to the writing process. At least mine anyway. It’s so easy to get caught up in our deadlines and getting those words down on the page, but if you don’t have inspiration to fuel your work, you’ve got nothing. You won’t have that magic that comes from firing your imagination elsewhere, from giving it something to feed on it didn’t previously have.

There’s something about that witching hour for me – it usually comes around 5 or 6 pm when I’ve put in a full day of writing. I’ve thrown my whole self down on the page in a leap of faith, but when my brain starts to get tired, I start to second guess myself. If I’ve finished a scene I’m wondering if it works, if I’m part way through a scene I can’t figure out how to end it. My mind has reached its creative limits and I’m emotionally spent. That’s when I know I have to stop. That’s when I know I have to refill the creative well and put other things in my head that may seemingly have nothing to do with my book, but those influences shape my brain, stimulate my imagination and when I go back to the book, the path is usually clear.

It’s so hard for me to stop when I’m stuck. I feel like I’ve failed, when in reality balance is what makes my writing successful. It could be dinner with the girls where undoubtedly one of our conversations about life and men and work puts an idea in my head. Or just a simple walk to get the endorphins moving—there’s nothing like fresh air and exercise to free my mind up to go to other places. Even mundane things like laundry or showering relax my brain enough to subconsciously work through a roadblock that hammering away at it with conscious thought has failed to do. Reading the paper or surfing the net often turn up wickedly creative ideas I can either fit into my WIP or which help me brainstorm other ideas.

Then there’s the inspiration of television. It’s a big one for me. I love cleverly written shows that inspire. Scandal is one of my current favourites. Who doesn’t love tough-as-nails Olivia Pope as a fixer of Washington’s biggest scandals? The show moves at an incredibly fast pace, throwing information at you like it would come in a real crisis and you can’t help but be drawn into it, particularly with its brilliant, fascinating characters. That’s how to tell a story. It makes me want to tell great stories just like it. 

Then there’s the stuff that inspires us as writers. A fellow author and I were recently talking about The Voice as well, how the struggles of the singers going through that intense process are mirrors for what we do as writers. Taylor Swift who appeared on the show as a guest coach said: “Singers sing for themselves, performers do it for the audience.” I loved that and thought it so true. It helps to understand how other creative types approach their craft.

I’ll leave you with a funny story that happened to me one night when I ventured out with the girls to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We were at this male-dominated, testosterone-soaked bar, a table of ten or so of us girls. A Russian businessman came over to me and started chatting me up. He was pretty fascinating, but after about ten minutes or so I could tell he was headed in a direction I wasn’t so I said, holding up my left hand, “I have to tell you, I’m married.” He looks me dead in the eye, shrugs and says, “I don't care about that.” If that conversation wasn’t the makings of a book I don’t know what is. Research opportunities are everywhere.

So the next time you’re banging your head against a wall when a story isn’t working and trying to write the same scene over and over again, get out! Go have a drink with friends, take a walk, watch some great TV. I can almost guarantee when you sit down to write again, your brain will have figured it out!

So now what about you? I’m interested to know. What do you do for inspiration?

Jennifer's upcoming release, The Magnate's Manifesto, which hits shelves Nov 18 in North America and is already out in the UK on the Mills & Boon website,  received a Top Pick Gold rating from Romantic Times Magazine and has been nominated for RT Magazine's Reviewer's Choice Best Book of 2014 for Harlequin Presents:


Jared Stone: Visionary, rebel, the tech world's golden boy…and now the most hated man on the planet!
Bailey St. James: Survivor, powerful female executive, the only woman who refuses to bow down to Jared Stone…and the only woman who can save him?

When Jared's manifesto makes him public enemy #1 the only way out is to make Bailey an offer she can't refuse—a very public promotion to VP! Now, with a major deal on the line and tensions rising, can it be long before Jared and Bailey move from spreadsheets to bed sheets? 

To find out more about Jennifer and her books, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Great post Jen and so true. Refilling that creative well is really important. Anything from a walk with the dog, to time out with friends works for me. I also love to lose myself in TV and Scandal if just perfect!!

    1. Thanks Rachael! It's so easy to forget we just need to walk away sometimes. And yay for another Scandal fan #addicted

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  3. Great advice Jennifer! Thank you! By the way I loved this story. Bailey, the courageous executive, and her uber male boss Jared, both ambitious, shaped by very different pasts, struggle to find their way with each other as a romantic attraction develops. A true triumph of the human spirit.

    1. thank you Shirley! So glad you enjoyed the book! I really think Bailey is the most courageous heroine I've ever written! Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Looking forward to seeing this Russian business man in a future novel Jen. ;) Andie

    1. Ha ha.. for sure Andie. So nice to have you here! xx