8 Inspiring Tools Writers Should Own
Every writer needs inspiration. Aside from the obvious of pen and paper, dictionary and thesaurus, there are other tools that aren’t so obvious. These are tools that will help you find inspiration when you’re struggling.
Why Religious Texts?
Quite a few of these are religious texts, but I don’t recommend these tools because I’m expecting you to believe what’s written. I recommend them because they not only have great stories included in them that may spark your imagination, they also contain great studies in human behavior. Watch the way that people react to one another and to their situations in the texts. Those interactions alone can provide inspiration.
Even if you’re a died-in-the-wool confirmed atheist, you should get yourself a copy of the Bible. It is replete with stories and studies in human behavior that are highly useful when writing. Open up the Bible and find yourself a story that catches your eye. Start writing about it.
Look for obscure characters, ones that may have been overlooked or forgotten, in the story. Write it from a different angle than the original writer. Remember, the original story is a starting point only. It gives you a framework. It’s up to you as a writer to make it your own.
I do recommend that you get a Catholic Bible. It’s got additional stories and chapters that are missing from other versions.
The Hindu Vedas
Like the Bible, the Hindu Vedas are filled with stories that you can use to spark ideas for writing. These ancient texts provide a pantheon of gods and goddesses, of heroes and villains and people in between.
If you’re coming from a Western point-of-view, some of these stories and their ideas may be brand new to you. It will broaden your perspective and help you see the world through a different set of eyes. It’s always worth doing.
No matter which part of the world you come from, it is undeniable that this book has had an influence on history and culture. Becoming familiar with it and the stories that are included in it will not only help you better understand the world as it is, it will also give you additional stories and additional ideas that you can incorporate into your writing.
The Book of Mormon
Again, this book has a lot of stories that can be used to spark your imagination and get ideas flowing. It’s also interesting from the perspective of comparing their beliefs to the beliefs of others in your collection.
Mythology and Fable Collections
Each culture has its own sets of mythologies and fables that form the foundation of their thoughts and beliefs. Studying these can teach you a lot about their worldview and how they see things. The stories are vivid and compelling, so having these in your library means you will always have something to write.
Fairy Tale Collections
The fairy tale collections that we have today were once strictly oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. For that reason, there are more than a few variations of the same fairy tales that appear, so it’s worth it to have multiple different collections in order to see the same story from new angles. Russian versions may contain the same substance but differ in details. Also, each country had its own unique fairy tales that weren’t found elsewhere.
If you have a chance to pick one up at a yardsale or an estate sale, old yearbooks can be a great source of inspiration for writing. Thumb through them and notice what was written about them. Who was recognized, and for what? Who is missing from the pictures in the back of the book where the activities are usually found? What interesting inscriptions are found on the autograph pages or inside covers? A wealth of stories can be found here for those who know how to find them.
Lives of the Saints
If you want a collection of stories that are filled with fantastic incidents and almost magical abilities, look no further than the Lives of the Saints. It’s a collection of true stories about Catholic saints throughout the ages. Some of them were documented as having been in two places at one time, some of them were able to levitate, some of them were able to see into the hearts of the people around them. With over 2,000 years of history of saints and martyrs, you’ll have no shortage of stories to review.
Remember: You Are Not Required To Believe
I’m not recommending these because I expect you to believe that what is written in those pages is the truth. You do not have to believe what you’re reading in order to find them useful or helpful.
Next Week: 7 Surprising Sources for Writing Inspiration
This week, I talked about tools for inspiration. Next week, we’ll talk about where to find additional sources for inspiration all around you.
What Texts Do You Recommend?
Do you have go-to favorites for finding inspiration in your writing? I’d love to hear about them. Talk about the texts you use and what, specifically, you find most inspiring about them.
“I’m not recommending these because I expect you to believe that what is written in those pages is the truth. You do not have to believe what you’re reading in order to find them useful or helpful.”