I feel lucky as a content writer that I’m constantly surrounded by the written work of others to seek inspiration. As an avid reader, books are my best source for motivation both to learn what other writing styles appeal to me and to keep me working when I’m lacking enthusiasm to be productive. Reading something new and powerful is the best driving force to get back to my keyboard, creating content for both clients and for myself.
Find inspiration by writing about what you love
Another way I use books to keep me enthusiastic about writing is by creating a space where I can write about them. Books have the double benefit of encouraging me to write while giving me something to write about. Maintaining a blog where I review all the books I read has been the perfect outlet to regularly practice my craft and share what inspires me about literature with others, showcasing my abilities.
What books spark your creativity?
This isn’t about what your favorite books are. While there can be some overlap, finding inspiration in what you read should generate a different list than your all-time favorite titles. I see slight overlap, more often in genre than author, but here’s where I find literary stimulation to continue on as a confident content creator.
Alice Hoffman: While I haven’t read everything she’s written, yet, I’m getting close. Her style is so engaging. She tells great stories with beautiful settings and complex, emotional characters. Her writing is so intricate and the events are always so connected that you know a lot of thought goes into how she organizes her writing. I find that she reminds me of the importance of not only articulating your point when you write, but to do so clearly and carefully to elicit the right emotional response.
Jasper Fforde: At the complete opposite end of my author spectrum sits this intelligent and funny writer. His Thursday Next series provides a combination of silly, smart, and ridiculous, framed around a strong, female lead who goes toe-to-toe with some favorite, famous, literary characters. The unique and entertaining narrative clearly illustrates the significance of creativity when writing and its ability to grab the attention of an audience. I find that these books really get my brain working.
Little Women: It’s not so much the writing style here that leaves the greatest impact, but a single character so well-written by Louisa May Alcott. Josephine March, a writer herself, is one of my favorite characters ever. Her wit and strength and control over her life choices are always empowering. Even though her life differed vastly from mine, I find inspiration in simply who she is and try to reread the book every few years as a result.
The entire 19th century: This encompasses a lot of books, but really, I’m mainly talking about British Literature at that the time since that is what I’ve read the most of to date. Authors like Dickens, Austen, Trollope, and Hardy all fit into this category, and they all embody the characteristic of writers in this era that I find motivating as a writer myself. Many authors from this era took simple stories and straightforward characters and used them to place a lens over a weak point in society. The intelligence it takes to translate a complex subject into the simplicity of the novels from this century isn’t seen as often today, and it’s a skill that I much revere and find helpful to recall in my own work.
Join a book club
A surprising entry to this list, especially since I haven’t been participating in book clubs very long, but I’ve found motivation for my own work in the simple act of sitting around with a group, talking about the writing of others. I may not always like the book up for discussion, but I fully enjoy forming my opinions to share and spending a little extra time dissecting a book. This dedicated literary time cultivates my desire to get some original writing of my own out there.
Take the work out of what you do for a living
As a professional content creator, it would be easy to say that because I’m around writing and words all day I don’t want to deal with them after hours, but that would be selling myself short. By day, my words are a job. I don’t get to select my topics or themes most of the time. By night, words are for simple enjoyment and self-expression. I love the duality writing has for me and that it’s something I can do even as I’m inspired by the work of others.