When I’m struggling to focus or find my muse, there are two things I do which I find very helpful in grounding myself in my characters worlds and refocusing.
In both cases the words may not immediately come to me but ideas start to bubble away. Using my senses – sight, sound mostly – I start to reconnect.
I think sometimes we stress so much about getting the actual words written down that we don’t give ourselves time to really think. The kind of thinking that just comes to you- the happy, plotty thoughts that you can get lost in.
Number 1: Music
I find a “novel playlist” to be infinitely helpful. Collect a list of songs that help you identify with a characters personality, or how they are feeling at a particular time. Put your earphones in, close your eyes and just listen. Tap into them. Imagine you are them, listening to the song and what it means to them at that moment. What emotions stir in their heart? Where are they when they are listening to it? Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a scene, the right song can push more emotion onto the scene, almost like you are watching a movie with the perfect song playing except you are writing the movie, watching it unfold beneath your fingertips.
Number 2: Images
Collecting images from the immense resources we have on the web – weheartit.com, pinterest, google images, flickr, tumblr… do I need to go on? Type in a key word and let your eyes wander over images that mean something to you. Places. Colours. People. Sometimes collecting images of what you think the characters look like (and not just the main character – the secondary characters too) can help to connect to them, and see them more clearly. I find it easier to write about something or someone if I can see them, almost like I know them. Save the images in a file for when you are stuck in a particular scene, with a particular character, and you may find that the images are exactly what you need to refocus.
Here are some sources inspirations for my work in progress:
1) I am ready for love – Counting Crows
2) Move you – Anya Marina
3) Tonight – Lykke Li
4) Wish you were here – Pink Floyd
* Note: I own NONE of these images. They have all been sourced from all around the web, mostly google and we heart it.