How did day 2 of our Travel the World in Books Readathon go? Were you inspired to take a stab at or update your book map? If you didn’t, it’s not too late to get started on it and enter for your chance to win Guiltless Reading’s giveaway! By the way, did you see the beautiful free bookmark printables she’s giving us too? You’ll want to print these beauties up with inspirational quotes from 4 of the world’s greatest books!
If you haven’t heard, our readathon goal is quite simple…to get you reading more about other countries and cultures than your own. It’s both a learning opportunity and a great excuse to cozy up with a good book and travel to places you might not otherwise be able to visit!
Today, it’s my honor to bring author and publisher Adria Cimino to you with a guest post on her 5 Ways to Get Inspired to Write. Adria is an American living in Paris and has a few things to share with us about finding inspiration to write in the City of Lights. Maybe it will help you find writing inspiration where you least expect it. She wrote Paris, Rue des Martyrs which was one of my favorite books in 2015 and she and her publishing house, Velvet Morning Press are giving away 3 books in our Readathon giveaway!
5 Ways I Get Inspired to Write
By Adria J. Cimino
From time to time, I’ll be writing like mad and then I screech to a halt. How do I write this scene? What is the best way to move the story forward? To me, this isn’t full-blown “I don’t know what story to tell” writer’s block. Still, it can be frustrating. By knowing what inspires me to write, however, I usually can work my way through these moments pretty quickly—and often I end up with future book ideas as well! Here are my five favorite ways to get inspired. But before you try any of them, make sure you have a notebook by your side!
1. People watching:
This tops my list. I can be anywhere—at a café, sitting on a park bench or strolling down the street—and I find the people around me and their interaction with each other interesting. You can imagine how a party filled with complete strangers or acquaintances must be delightful for me. Not because I’m outgoing (far from it), but because I have an even closer, longer-lasting view. The charm of people watching is that I don’t know these people at all (or hardly), making it very easy to let my imagination take over. My first novel, “Paris, Rue des Martyrs,” was the product of a lot of people watching. So if our paths cross at a party, beware: The protagonist of my next book might have your charming smile.
It’s impossible not to be inspired by visiting different places, whether near or far, because they offer us new perspectives and views, introduce us to new ideas and images. In some cases, a trip has spurred me to write. My trip to China put me in the mood to feature a Chinese protagonist in a short story. That coincided with a Chinese friend’s true story of her life in Paris. The result was the story “In the Red” (published in anthology “That’s Paris”). Other times, I’ve traveled to a particular place for research and inspiration. I soaked up the scents and flavors of the South of France as I wrote my upcoming novel, “Secrets of a Nose,” the story of a perfumer (release February 2016, Velvet Morning Press).
3. Exploring what’s behind closed doors:
At home in Paris, I love it when doors to private courtyards swing open. I’ll glance inside and often discover beautiful cobblestone and wild greenery. Sometimes a cat will leap out of a large potted plant or a child will blow soap bubbles to the sky. If I’m elsewhere in the country or the world, I’m always the one who will stop and look down a narrow passageway or over a fence into a garden. I’ve been known to store an image away for years and then pull it out when needed. These sorts of investigations have built settings in my books. And when they haven’t, they’ve been fun anyway!
4. Engaging my senses:
A scent can evoke a memory or an entire story, but we have to be open to the idea. It’s easy to say something smells good or bad, but what’s most interesting is to associate scents with memories and people—and from there an entire plot can develop. In “Secrets of a Nose,” the whiff of a perfume represents the beginning of a quest. And this perfume will offer the protagonist clues about her mother’s past. When writing the novel, I let the sense of smell take center stage—and that allowed me to write about my characters and their lives in a new way.
A bit of conversation at the next table at a café, a story overheard at a party or a full conversation with a friend. All of these can plant the seed for a new story in the writer’s brain. I find that when I take the time to listen to what is unfolding around me, I find bits and pieces that will eventually end up in one of my novels. I don’t always realize this immediately. I’ll store information and memories away, and then they pop up when the time is right. Add in some imagination, shake it up, and you’ve got yourself a story (or at least part of it).
And to make sure I never forget the inspiration from these magical moments, I messily scribble just enough words on paper to anchor the idea until I have time to develop it into a story. That’s where the notebook comes in… Happy writing and happy reading!
About Adria J. Cimino
Adria J. Cimino is the author of two novels, Close to Destiny and Amazon best-seller Paris, Rue des Martyrs. She is also co-founder of indie publishing house Velvet Morning Press and a member of Tall Poppy Writers, a community of writing professionals committed to connecting authors with each other and with readers. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, Adria spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News. You may learn more about Adria and her work by visiting her website.
Daily Discussion Posts
This year we want to get YOU talking about your favorite books, authors, genres, and characters. Every day we’ll have a different topic of discussion. You can write a new blog post, link up a couple of old posts that are pertinent to the topic and/or leave comments answering our questions. Linkups will be open through 11/7/15 ( a week after the readathon ends to give you plenty of time to write a new post if you want).
Today’s discussion topic: Why do you think it’s important to have diverse authors and books? What do you hope to learn/gain from books set in other countries? Tell us why #WeNeedDiverseBooks!
Instagram Photo Challenge
I LOVE Instagram. Join us for our Instagram challenge for our Travel the World in Books Readathon, using our new shorter #TTWIBRAT hashtag. Be sure to follow your hosts on Instagram too: Tanya, Becca, Lucy and Aloi . Tag each day’s photos with the #TTWIBRAT hashtag. Don’t worry if you miss a day, just share and tag the photo with #TTWIBRAT anytime! Today, head over and share your world lit and books shelfie. It doesn’t have to be literature, it can be any genre/type of book in your photo. Do you have all your books that take place in a different country on a separate shelf like I do? Have fun and I’ll see you on Instagram!
Want to know more about our Travel the World in Books Readathon? Sign up here, check out our schedule of events, linkup your goals if you like and travel the world in books with us! Want to continue the reading and traveling fun all year long? Sign up for our no-stress Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge and our Goodreads group too.