Inspiration for Writing and How to Use It
Good day everyone! I apologize for being away for a bit of time, but it is what it is. Today I wanted to talk about finding inspirations for writing and how you can benefit from an exercise.
I've found that inspiration for my writing can be found anywhere....everyday life, walking down the street, or even just looking out my window. Some people may find some of these silly, particularly the last one, prompting them to go so far as to say, "How can you find inspiration just by looking out your window? All I have is a backyard, or woods, or whatever." I've found that the majority of people that fit into this category don't have the drive or desire to create anything anyway. I don't mean that negatively, it just happens to be my experience, but I will say that IF YOU'RE FIRST REACTION/THOUGHT PROCESS is to dismiss suggestions, that's not a good way to start. Try it out. Sit by your window and don't just look, but listen, smell the air, and TAKE YOUR TIME. Do you hear any birds, other animals, traffic? Nothing can be done right if you rush through it or have a negative outlook in the first place. Does what you see invoke anything in you? What you smell? What you feel? Does it take you back to another time in your life? Does it remind you of anything? The same can be done with just sitting on a bench at a park or on a street. Who do you see? What are people doing? What are they wearing? How are they acting? I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Now take all of this and start to let your mind wander.......imagine the woman you see wearing a raincoat and hat as Carmen Sandiego (for those of you that don't know who that is, please look her up), that the boy skateboarding is actually a superhero who uses his skateboard to fly and fight crime, or that the old woman feeding pigeons is actually an assassin waiting for her target to come by.....come up with anything! It's this type of imagination that will help your creative thought process and allow you to come up with ideas in your head that aren't projected and pushed upon you via a TV. These types of exercises and anything similar to it is what can get those "creative juices flowing." Some may argue that this type of thing can't help them because they are interested in writing non-fiction, science or whatever. To that I say, "bullshit". Well, maybe I will take a little of that back because it certainly can't help everyone, but forcing yourself to create things on your own rather than having them handed to you, is an excellent way to exercise your brain, to come up with new ideas. I should also add that if you are writing about something specific and you can put yourself in an area or place that has that "something specific" there, then you should absolutely immerse yourself in that. Go to a planetarium, a science center, Williamsburg, whatever, man. **As a side note, I will say that my window is my favorite place....it allows me to step away for my desk and computer and it allows me to listen to absolutely nothing....no Tchaikovsky on low volume, just a blunt and my thoughts. Now I know that we live in an era of smartphones and computers, but try and have some type of notepad with you.....if you must, you can use your computer or phone, but I personally have found that writing things out gives me more of a connection to it, that I'm more involved. Start writing out what you see.....and be specific...."old woman in blue dress on park bench feeding pigeons" just won't do. Try something that truly describes what you see, something that you can even associate memories with. "An older, frail woman, who reminded me of my third grade math teacher, bent over as she reached into her brown, paper bag for another handful of popcorn to feed the pigeons. She sat back up, straighter than before, and for the first time I noticed her dark blue dress had a white collar with a gold chain underneath, and I chuckled a little, recalling a gold chain my third grade teacher used to wear, something I hadn't thought about in decades. More pigeons flew down to get a free meal, joining the eight or nine birds already surrounding her, and I wondered if this was something she did regularly or if she just woke up this morning and said, 'I'm going to go to the park today and feed some pigeons.' The last thought made me smile, the idea of her being spontaneous pleasing me for some reason." NOW DOESN'T THAT SOUND MUCH BETTER! Exercises like these will make you better.....I promise! When I first went back to edit my novel I could not believe the chicken scratch that was my first couple of pages....it was terrible....not even close to what I had written for the end of my novel. But through practice and doing it over and over I got much, much better, and you will find the same thing. So if you are having a tough time finding inspiration or you find yourself in a rut, go out and practice this exercise. Even if you are writing a biography, the practice of writing and describing things will be a major benefit. Now grab a notebook and go outside! Or do what I do and smoke a blunt at your window, take it all in, and then write a page or two about it! By the bye, if you would like to try and win a free signed copy of my novel or a tshirt this week, simply drop me a note through "reach out to Neal" and let me know what you thought of this article. Have a very cool week!