I wish stories and characters were always readily available, but as most writers know, (unless you are blessed with a catalog of backlogged inspiration) that is not always the case. Therefore, we often have to turn outward to find something to trigger stimulus. This is my third installment and today I am going to write about finding out how to be the best through seeing how it was done in the past.

I struggled with what to write. Not because I was short on stories about far off places and made up people, but because with the creation of my new blog, which focuses on lifestyle issues and finishing up my book, I find that I am a stretching myself thin. I am worried that my creative side is going to pack up and make its escape from this crowded mind of mine. So how do I rein it in and focus? One way is by reading books in my genre, and another (which I use for blogging) is perusing the newspapers for interesting or hot topics.

The greatest advice I have received from other authors is to know your genre inside and out and the only way to achieve that kind of knowledge is by reading. I am not telling you to read as much as I do, but I am saying to explore. Read the good and the bad to see what sticks and what doesn’t. Know your genre inside and out. Read the trades and find out what storylines are trending, what publishers are entertaining and what readers are expecting. Obviously I am NOT encouraging stealing another persons work or ideas, but do look at the story as a whole and ask yourself while reading it: What works and why? or What went wrong and how can I avoid a repeat? Although I don’t really trust Amazon’s reviews, if there is a book that has over a hundred reviews, look through them and see what the communal complaint is.

Whatever it is you use to un-block your inner writer, do it, otherwise your imagination becomes wasted talent…oh and share with us. We would love to hear your recommendations.

Sara O'Connor
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