Finding Inspiration For Creative Writing
From the Movies Came Inspiration
My wife and I recently saw “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” at the theater. For those of you not familiar with the story, let me give you a very brief synopsis…..man spends a great amount of time “zoning out” and living in a fantasy world.
Of course there was more to the movie, and I found it to be very enjoyable, but I only mention the movie because of the “zoning out” and “fantasy world” aspects. While I was watching it I realized that I do a great amount of “zoning out” myself, but instead of “zoning out” I call it “getting in touch with my creative process.” Sounds much better now doesn’t it?
I have mentioned before in other articles that I have never suffered from writer’s block. Instead, I suffer from the opposite….writer’s inundation….I have too many ideas and absolutely not enough time.
So I write this article for those of you who might need a little inspiration. I write this article for those of you suffering from severe writer’s block. What follows are seven suggestions that might give you inspiration…one for each day of the week…a sort of mini-calendar to get your creative juices flowing.
Shall we begin?
Head downtown to your favorite shopping area. Find a place to grab a mocha, sit yourself down, enjoy your drink and start watching people as they pass by. Look at their facial expressions as they interact with their friends or family. Try to imagine what they are thinking as you watch them. Try to imagine what is going on in their life at that moment.
I find great inspiration from watching others. People really are, at times, open books. All you have to do is open their cover and start reading.
Today is research day. Learn something new today, something you have always wondered about but never took the time to learn about. I recently wrote an article about the high cost of organic foods. I had been curious for quite some time why organic foods cost more than traditionally-grown foods, so I took the time to do some research on the matter…and an article was born from it.
Surely there are things you do not know that you wish you did; this is the day to find out. Check out the library or let your fingers do the research online, and then write about it.
Try a new activity you always wanted to try but never took the time to do. Go bowling….fly a kite….visit a park you have never visited….start a container garden….try hydroponics….stretch yourself and find a new experience and then write about it. Even if you don’t write about it immediately after doing it, you will have that experience to draw upon later when you sit down to write the next Great American Novel.
Remember that the more we experience the greater the well of information we can use later.
Do a casual interview with someone in another walk of life. Go talk to a fireman. Go talk to a police officer. Go talk to a child care worker or a chef. Tell them you are a writer, that you are doing research, and then get to know what it is like for them each day when they go to work. Trust me, they will be more than willing to share with you. People love to know that others are interested in what they do. All you have to do is show that interest and then let them talk.
Sign up for a writer’s workshop. There is no shortage of them; I have no doubt you can find one in your area to attend. What a wealth of knowledge you can find at a workshop. You will be rubbing shoulders with your peers, learning from them, and using each other as sources of information.
Writing is a lonely gig, so why not join other lonely writers and toss aside your loneliness? Share your experiences. Share your triumphs and your setbacks. Share what works for you and what doesn’t work. Make contacts that just might be valuable in the future. You simply cannot lose by attending a workshop.
Go to a local museum. If you can’t find inspiration at a museum then you aren’t breathing. A couple months ago my wife and I went to the Washington State Historical Museum, and we had a great conversation with a hobby train collector. I knew nothing about hobby trains until that chat; now I have a general background that I can use in a future story.
How many of you have visited an Art Museum? Talk about inspiration! Paintings, sculptures….my goodness, the Arts are food for my soul, just as your words in a story or novel are food for the souls of those who don’t write.
Attend a reading or book signing at the library or a local bookstore. Make sure that you take the time to introduce yourself to the author. While you are there, meet others who attended. Feel the success around you. The author is successful solely because they have written a book and they are willing to read it in public. By rubbing shoulders with that kind of success, you gain confidence in yourself. In other words, hang with the winners and you will become a winner. In addition, you will be practicing networking at that event. Swap business cards and stay in touch with the author. Who knows what might come of that meeting?
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And There You Have It
Is that enough to get you started? I have other suggestions if you don’t like those seven. Work with another writer on a collaborative effort. In other words, write a story together, or choose a theme and write separate stories about that theme.
Ask to do a guest writing on someone else’s blog.
Pull out an old story that has been sitting on the shelf and start writing it again. Change the point of view, from first person to third.
Go for a walk with a journal in hand. Write down what your senses are experiencing. Detail all five senses as you walk. What are you smelling; what are you seeing; what are you tasting; what are you feeling; and what are you hearing.
Go online and find a picture of a natural setting. Now imagine yourself standing in that setting. How does it make you feel?
I’ve got a million of these so if none of these work for you I’ll be back with more eventually. The point is this: writer’s block can be cast aside and stomped on by experiencing life. Of course we experience writer’s block sitting in our writer’s studio; the world is outside our door but we can’t see it with the computer in front of us. Get up from your writing desk, open the door, and allow life to seep into your pores. I promise you it will work wonders.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”