In Due Time – Writer’s Block

It’s amazing to me that I’ve spent a year blocked in many of my writing mediums. Blogging became a chore that caused more stress than pleasure, writing a short article came with as much pain as a tooth extraction and everything else, down to advertising copy, seemed “blah.” I was fighting an enormous block, mostly surrounded by medical conditions, treatments and therapy. But blocked, I was.

I finally went out and purchased a brand new journal and wrote only when something incredible happened. Not all those incredible moments were good, but incredible still. As I found comfort in working with words again, I ventured outside of my self-imposed barricade and began taking note of extraordinary happenings in the world around. With that, I had a little more fuel for that only-sometimes-used journal.

I decided that I was going to no longer work as a paid writer.

Yep. I said it.

I evaluated why I once loved writing and why that changed. I received my first-ever blue ribbon that came from writing almost twenty years ago. I loved words then. I explored new avenues of writing, didn’t harbor any self-doubt. Everything I did was perfect, because it was done. I cherished that time in my life as a writer.

But today, I can say that I don’t like deadlines. I do not like stress. Simplicity is what I need; in writing, living and life. So simplicity it is. And a very long hiatus from writing, at least writing anything for anyone.

And now, I have a great relationship with my Muse again. I only write inspired words and write them when inspired. I keep my notebook and pen handy for the moments when I cannot devote hours to writing as to retain that which my Muse delivered. And I play. I am nurturing all aspects of my creative self – including painting, again. The process of keeping myself readily available for my muse in all creative aspects has made me able to write again, for an audience.

Every writer experiences writer’s block. Good writers know when to put down the pen. For me, that pen was down for nearly a year. And now, it feels good to write.

Do you spend time nurturing other creative avenues in your life?

What Color Is Your Creativity? AW’s August Blog Chain

My muse wears a kaleidoscope of blueMy muse is a closet chameleon. She shifts and changes color at whim to suit the inspirational environment she brings in any moment. Like an actress or model who changes wardrobe every time she steps out on the stage my muse loves to embrace dramatic inspiration with her dress sense.

Today she’s wearing a taffeta summer dress of light coral and corn. Vibrant colors that often make me want to get out and enjoy life. There is a chill in this Australian winter morning but I see the cerulean sky and bright, early morning shades of daffodil, sunshine outside my window. I want to be out there, playing. I wore pink today too. A shade of orchid rather than coral but it suits the cheery mood of my muse. It’s a nod to her effervescent enthusiasm. When she wears pink I think of painting and ice sculpting. I think of synchronized swimming and dance. Dramatic, full-body expressions of creativity rather than the physical stillness facing the page.

When I’m focused and resolute in my work she shifts into ocean waves of blue, a mixture of blue colors that flow and swell. The ultramarine glisten with iridescence cornflower. There is never a single blue but every shade of blue from cyan to midnight. A kaleidoscope of turquoise and sapphire. Holograms of denim and periwinkle that never appear the same way once your lose sight of the first glimpse.

When my muse wears blue she draws me to the page. Blue communicates. It is open and giving. Calm blue waters darken in the depth of emotional intensity. Bright blue skies transcend us, lifting us into the heavens where blue darkens again into the inky black beyond.

Red Velvet Fairy Medieval Renaissance Theme Wedding Gown with Cape and Jewelry on EtsyI surround myself with the color blue when I want to write. Blue, and purple. Purple is for reaching into the imagination and spirituality. It is flights of fantasy. It is the open communication of blue mixed with the vibrant passion and fire of red and orange. Sometimes when I’m writing fiction my muse wears an indigo gown made of velvet. But when I’m working on my current novel she wears a medieval gown in scarlet, and black, with cords of gold.

When I knew I’d be trying to choose one single color for August’s Blog Chain at Absolute Write I knew I’d have trouble. So many colors speak to me creatively and like my muse, the connection to color changes from moment to moment with my emotions and with the specific project I’m working on. So, I thought I’d ask others what color they associate with their writing.

Like me, Kari Wolfe feels her writing through “all different colors”. She said, “Currently, I write with multicolored gel-ink pens. Each paragraph is a different color…”

Laura Campbell said, “Purple as I mainly write about fantasy and purple is the magic colour!” and Cari Lynn Vaughn also thinks purple represents her writing, “The Purple Rose is a symbol for perseverance and transcendence.”

Lorraine Powell‘s chick-lit is pink. While Susan McCabe‘s pink is for, “calmness and serenity.”

Misti Bailey Sandefur writes in yellow. She said, “I like to write stories that will inspire my readers and warm their souls, and to me, yellow is a happy color.” Another reader, Cheryl Grey, describes her writing as, “Emerald green” because “it’s one of the most peaceful parts of my life.” While Evea Morrow has connects her writing to “blue- because most horror movies are shot with a blue filter” and Anthony Jennings to black who’s “stories have dark endings or plots.”

The range of colors we each gravitate to is broad and I found reading the other entries in the blog chain just as fascinating as the comments from The Craft of Writing Fiction readers. Check out these other entries and leave a comment below or write a blog post of your own describing the color of your creativity. “If you had to pick one color for any aspect of your writing, which one would it be and why?”

Photo Credit: 阿乃
Photo Credit: Red Velvet Fairy Medieval Renaissance Theme Wedding Gown with Cape and Jewelry on Etsy

Fiction Characters: Do You Need A Mental “No Vacancy” Sign?

Do your fictional characters keep you awake at night?It is 3:57 in the morning. Do you know where your characters are? If you are like most writers, you know exactly where they are because they refuse to let you get a proper nights sleep, or bath, or read, or time alone to enjoy the minutiae of life.

Once you have given life to someone, sometimes they do not shut up. I find this to be true of children, and characters. I rarely get to spend my hour commute listening to the radio, or relaxing with the windows rolled down and my mind on mute. As soon as the fiction characters in my latest story realize I’m alone the chatter starts.

The first time this happened to me, I was sure I was schizophrenic. When I stopped at each red light while driving, I tried to jot down an idea but, by then the characters had told their friends that I was free, and I forgot what I was noting in the first place.

Forget taking a bath. I used to think the kids, and the dog were most deft at keeping me from taking a bath alone. No, it is the antagonist calling to say he is ready to kill my main character, and by the way, …I need to shave my legs.

Sleeping can be like running a relay race. When I sleep someone shouts something into my psyche, and I have to jump up to write. My best stuff comes at 3:00 A M decidedly, because like an infant, that is when my fiction characters are awake. After I have pecked the brainstorm into my computer, I head back to bed. Usually, I can fall back asleep. At least until, the protagonist finds out what his adversary said about him.

When I first started writing, it drove me mad to share my brain with all the people who were crashing my psychological party. Now, when I’m done with a story, and things get quiet, I have let down.

I want to throw up the No Vacancy Sign!I sit in the tub and wait for someone to say something. Then I lay in bed, and listen to the quiet wishing my fiction characters would “throw me a bone.” When I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of jabber going on in my brain, and I want to throw up the NO VACANCY sign, I remember how lonely I am without them.

I just flipped my sign over, reads Vacancy – welcome all night owls. I’ll probably catch you all at about 2:30…in the morning.

Do your fiction characters keep you awake at night? When was the last time you were able to have a relaxing bath or drive from one side of town to the other without their company? How do you deal with the lack of mental vacancies?

Photo Credit: Nathan Barry
Photo Credit: DG Jones

Support And Sounding Boards – Share Your Unfinished Work

The value of support, and a sounding board, during the writing process can be immeasurable.  While there are writers who keep their work locked in a vault of secrecy until the first (sometimes second and third) draft is finished, I am not one of them. I have never been able to complete a chapter without support, feedback, constructive criticism, and encouragement from advance readers.

Call it artistic insecurity, or call it vanity, but I get a little boost when I hear, “Wow that rocked!”. The enthusiasm of advance readers can be just the kick in the rear you need to keep going. I often (no less than three times a day) and like many other writers think, “Why am I writing this?  Have I completely lost my mind?” The backing and encouragement of a trusted friend reminds my of my motives for writing. I write to be read.

Sharing what you write when you are at the top of your game can come in handy when your self esteem takes a dive, too. Your advance readers can reignite your enthusiasm and excitement. When you face that nasty bout of writer’s block they’re there to push you to keep writing. When the work knocks you on your rear they’re there to pull you to your feet and dust you off.

My favorite thing about the champions of my writing is their never tiring of willingness to brainstorm with me. They don’t mind reading the same paragraph twelve times. Sometimes it’s just a thought or word they share that spurs my imagination. A five minute conversation can turn into three thousand words and a captivating new plot twist.

A true advocate will also spread the word when your work is done. He’ll back it as if it were their own.  Friends will feel a sense of shared ownership and pride in the finished product and be eager to help you market the work.

Without the supporters who spend countless hours reading, critiquing, and loving my work, I’m not sure I could have finished my first novel, let alone plunged into the ones that followed.

What are some of the other ways you stay inspired? Who do you trust with your work before it’s finished? What do your advance readers do for you?

If you haven’t shared your work yet, I highly recommend it, and I guarantee a smile.

Talent Casting: Audition Your Fiction Character

Selecting the talent. Casting the fiction characters of your story.Writing fiction is sometimes about finding the right talent, casting the right fiction character for the role, or creating a cast of rich and multi-dimensional personalities. There are a number of character creation methods and each writer learns their most effective character development tools through research and experience. My own process continues to grow and develop as my writing grows up.

Click here to get your copy of James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom's How to Create Believable CharactersA few months ago I bought myself a clever e-book called “How to Create Believable Characters” by James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom. It’s packed with practical information on how to build your very own fiction character, or role-playing alter-ego, from scratch. I read it eagerly, already fascinated with character development and creation.

As I read, I drank in every piece of advice it offered. I gained a better understanding of why I write the way I write and I improved my character creation skills. I learned how to choose and create talent; casting the “right” protagonist for each fiction story.

There are two “schools” when writing fiction. One is a “plot-driven” story where you develop an intense plot, a situation into which you place characters. I am in the other “school”, a writer who discovers a protagonist first and then writes a plot that gives that star her life and purpose. This is a ‘character-driven’ story. Can you think of any “character-driven stories” you’ve read recently?

Who is she?

When I first decide to write a new story, I visualize my heroine. Most of the time it’s a ‘she’, simply because I’m used to thinking like a girl. I do know female writers who prefer to write male characters (and do a fantastic job of it too) but for some reason I prefer writing women.

My heroine may be young or old, clever, stupid, pretty, dull… I spend some time trying to get to know her. I don’t decide ‘how she is’ instead, I get a feel for ‘who she is’.

Who is your protagonist?There are some elements I decide up front. Is she stubborn, or reckless, or depressed? I follow my instincts and she becomes whatever most sparks my interest at that time.

Other aspects come naturally as I continue to think about her. It might fit her to be afraid of dogs; maybe she is a school teacher. Does she have any particular talent casting her into the spotlight? Is she likely to go for the bad boy type, or does she prefer the office underdog. (Oh, perhaps she would usually go for the bad boy type but falls for the office underdog!)

Becoming Herself

After developing my protagonist’s traits and personality, I give my fiction character a life. Some of her past was determined earlier in the character creation process. Now it is time to explore her history and to decide what has happened to shape her into the person she is. Plot elements begin to emerge as her life takes form.

Here’s where it gets tricky. After the fun of writing, planning, and mapping out my heroine’s intriguing story, I notice aspects of her that no longer “fit”. As I focus on plot development I sometimes find that, this protagonist isn’t right for this plot.

Why not add that lacking ‘something’ to my original character? That would be the obvious and easy way to fix my dilemma, wouldn’t it? Couldn’t we force her to be what we want, gift her with that particular skill or talent? Casting her into a role that doesn’t suit her, however, is not a simple solution.

My characters become “real” the minute I start developing them, which means they have their own faults, traits, and personality. They are imperfect in a carefully balanced way – each and every one is unique.

Giving my heroine a new flaw or quality, just because the plot calls for it and not because it feels a part of her, causes her to lose that sense of being “real”. It makes her thin, stiff, two-dimensional; the organic creation process has been broken.

(There is of course another side to this. The needed flaw or quality could be a part of her in-story development or personal development goals… But that is for another post.)

It’s Talent Casting Time!

Now, I have this great story, all lined up for exploring and turning into a masterpiece, but my protagonist just isn’t right for the part. Do I scratch it and start over? No way!

I do a talent casting call.

I have tons of talent on hold that got dumped from other stories because they didn’t fit. Are any of them perfect for this role? If none of those characters are suitable, I think about which traits this protagonist needs and make that aspect a starting point for a new rising star.

By now I’ve changed the story several times and every time I do another call. I change the story a little for every character. After auditioning many people for the job they have all influenced the final story and add to it’s richness and depth.

Once I’ve my found leading lady, I can begin talent casting the supporting roles.

While this method can be time consuming in the early planning stages of fiction writing, the outcome is a full cast of strong characters I know and understand like old friends. They are the “right” characters for their specific role and are a good fit for the story. The writing process becomes easier because I’m no longer struggling with uncooperative, pigeon-holed characters. Now, when I’m writing fiction, I don´t “decide” my character likes or does things, I “know” she does.

The Final Curtain Call

In the end, my story becomes both plot-driven and character-driven. It is packed with a powerful selection of multi-dimensional, realistic personalities. The cast of characters live their own lives and I record it rather than control it.

Have you tried talent casting your characters? What other methods have you used to develop the star of your story?

Click here to get your copy of James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom's How to Create Believable Characters

Photo Credit: 01-12-10 © John-Francis Bourke
Photo Credit: 04-10-07 © Sean Locke

25 Ways To Work Creative Play Into Your Life

Work Creative Play Into Your Life!Writers in general, and novelists in particular, are creative people, but it can be difficult to find time for creative play when you’re faced with deadlines (even if you’re the one setting them), and everything else you have going on in your life. Here are twenty-five ways you can find time for creative play that will help you keep the ideas coming for your fiction writing.

  1. Schedule time for creativity.
  2. If your projects allow, create in the car while you’re waiting on your kids at ball practice.
  3. Plan your projects for creative play in short bursts of time so you will have time to make progress.
  4. Get up 30 minutes or so early.
  5. Go to bed 30 minutes or so later.
  6. Work on your favorite project on your lunch hour.
  7. If you have a day job and if your project allows, go in to work 30 minutes or so early to work on it.
  8. Stay at work 30 minutes or so late to work on it. (This has the added benefit of helping you miss the worst of rush hour.)
  9. Take advantage of built-in holidays and devote those days to your creative project(s).
  10. Take a look at how much TV you watch in the evenings. Cut out a program or two to free up time for creative play.
  11. Practice delayed creative play. If you’re in the car or at work and can’t stop to work on your project, make notes to yourself so you don’t lose the inspiration/idea when you have time later.
  12. If you can’t make notes (such as if you’re driving), use a digital voice recorder or the voice record option on your mobile phone to leave verbal notes for yourself.
  13. Or, call your house and leave a message on your answering machine.
  14. Keep a notebook & pen by your bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night and remember to work on them the next day.
  15. Keep a notebook and pen in the bathroom to write down ideas that come to you in the shower and remember to work on them later in the day (or the next day, if you shower in the evening).
  16. On weekends or when school is out, put a movie in for your kids and use that time to work on your creative projects.
  17. Write while your kids play at the park!

  18. When the weather is nice and you have a transportable project, take your kids to the park and spend that time working on your project (while also, of course, keeping an eye on the kids).
  19. If your kids are small and take naps, use their nap time to work on your creative projects.
  20. Invest in your creative projects. When you spend money on something, you generally hate to feel like it’s wasted, so you make time to use the supplies you’ve bought.
  21. Instead of turning the TV on, put a music CD in or turn on your iPod with motivational music (whatever you find motivational, whether rock or classical or country) and work on your creative project while it plays.
  22. Start a blog to talk about your progress on your creative projects. You probably won’t like going too long without posting an update with actual progress, so you’ll be more motivated to work on it.
  23. Take pictures of your progress to post to your blog as additional motivation.
  24. Find a group of like-minded people that meets regularly. Meetings require updates, which will also get you working on your creative projects.
  25. Join an online community (like The Craft or Writing Fiction!) devoted to your area of creativity and answer questions about technique. Talking about what you do and how you did it motivates you to keep doing it.
  26. Give yourself deadlines that you have to meet. You schedule time to work on projects with deadlines. Give your creative play the same level of importance.

Yes, some of these tips are silly. The idea is that you should make time (and you can find time if you really look for it) for creative play and you’ll be surprised at how helpful it can be for you.

How do you find time to play or write creatively? What other ideas would you add to this list?

Photo Credit: 03-13-08 © YinYang
Photo Credit: 06-14-10 © Morten Heiselberg

Writing Inspiration From Simple Living On An Amish Farm

The windmill on Michele's Amish farm.

Where do you find your writing inspiration?

“The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple.” ~ Doris Janzen Longacre

Writing from an Amish farm? Sounds serene, right?. That’s what you think!

“Really,” you ask?

“Yes, really. And I’ll tell you why.”

The Truth About Farm Life

Many of you may envision me sitting on the porch with my favorite (green juice or smoothy!) and happily tapping away at the keyboard. And that does happen, some of the time. But there’s always behind-the-scenes stuff too.

You know, there’s a thing called chores: tending the animals, planting, watering, weeding, making homemade laundry detergent, hanging clothes on the line (aka solar dryer!), carrying water (this is improving as we now have upgraded the system and have water hoses but there’s still places on the farm the hoses won’t reach and that equals carrying buckets of water) and a ton of other odds and ends things

There are, however, many advantages I am thankful for:

  • fertile land to grow colorful flowers and harvest organic foods
  • the whippoorwill’s song – sound-chi – every evening
  • the entertaining antics of our working farm animals — plus rabbits, squirrels, and birds
  • horse-drawn buggies passing to and fro, driven by the local Amish
  • the careful, hand-crafted structure and sturdiness of an Amish-built home
  • an opportunity to learn new things (like the Amish water system!) that many people may never know
  • and so much more…

Finding Ideas and Writing Inspiration through living

And what do these things have to do with writing? Well, first of all, I’ve sold stories (including ghostwritten ones) on some of the above topics. Second, without the experiences I’ve had here on the farm, I’d probably have never sold–or even written–those stories. Sure, I could have researched those things but they’d never have the character and spin I was able to put on them had I not lived these amazing experiences.

I meet new Amish folk and I continuously learn new things about them and the life they lead. Every person I meet is uniquely individual; many defy the “stereotype”; A lot of them are more modern these days (like eating at McDonald’s, buying processed food, etc.) but there are also quite a few of the old-school Amish around. They grow a huge garden and adhere to the old Amish path; their deep roots in tradition and simple living.

All of the adventures on this Amish farm give me writing inspiration. While I’m gardening, my mind-wheel begins turning; new articles or blog posts are born. The fresh air, sunshine, and rich connection with Mother Earth that comes from working so closely with the land rejuvenates me. It provides me with that breath of fresh air, that new-found inspiration, I need to crank out quality writing.

Maybe someday I’ll write a book about it all–possibly even fiction! For now, making time to write articles in-between all the chores and busy Amish style livin’ is just fine with me.

Do you find writing inspiration in the simple act of living? How do you squeeze in your writing amid the chores of your chosen lifestyle? And what about the Amish? Are you as fascinated with them as I am? Do you know any Amish people? Let’s hear it!

Photo Credit: Michele L. Tune
Quote Credit: Quote Garden

Use Feng Shui to Build Your Creativity

Creativity is the lifeblood of writers, whether we write fiction, non-fiction or blog posts to promote our business. People in every profession come to me during a Feng Shui consultation and want to find easy ways to enhance their creativity. Feng Shui is about the observation, collection and distribution of chi, or energy, throughout a space. When the chi flows, the residents of the home are healthier, more vibrant and perform better which will contribute to their wealth and ability to take advantage of opportunities to achieve their goals.

Activating the Creativity Area of Your Home or Office

Download The Bagua Chart PDF for a great place to start.It all begins with the bagua. Once you understand this simple Feng Shui tool, you can activate the energy (the chi) in the creativity segment of your home or office. When you lay out the Bagua in your home or apartment, you’ll see nine different sectors in your home, corresponding to various areas of your life. If you are looking into the room from the door, the children and creativity area is the section against the right wall, up to the center of the space. To enhance your creative mind, you want to focus on the energy in this space.

You can also lay the bagua over your office floor plan or your desk, enhancing your creativity by focusing on that area of the bagua in any space.

Assess the Chi

When you enter the area of the room where you write, how do you feel? Look around: What colors are dominant? What objects do you see? If you feel you have uplifting chi in that space, chances are your creative energy isn’t suffering at all.

But if the area makes you feel down, depressed or simply “stuck,” this could explain why you are not having as much success as you should in your writing career. Your creativity may be suffering.

Enhance the Creativity Segment of the Room

The children and creativity segment of the bagua corresponds with the element metal and the color white. Placing anything metal in that area, including creative sculptures made of metal or colorful artwork in metal frames, will enhance the chi in that corner.

Here are some other objects you can use the children/creativity area of the room to encourage the flow of uplifting chi:

  • Metal windchimes or a bell. These objects not only represent the element of metal, but they increase “sound chi“ with bright, lively chimes. Wind chimes also add movement to an area, helping the chi flow.
  • Metal Toys. What can be more playful and creative than toys? Add fun metal toys — such as race cars or a fun metal toy that swings with kinetic energy — to your creative area to add a sense of playfulness to your workday.
  • White flowers. You can enhance a space with “living chi,” by adding objects such as plants or flowers. White plants, which correspond to the color of the element metal, work best in the creative area of your home or office. Be sure to replace flowers as soon as they become wilted. Fresh flowers bring living chi to a space, but dead flowers should be removed immediately.

The Command Position

Feng Shui your office to advance your career and make more money.Whether you have a home office or work at your kitchen table, the place where you write should have you sitting in the command position of that room. The command position places you so you can see the door, but are not directly in line with it.

If you must sit with your back to the door, placing a mirror in front of you will help you avoid the feeling of “being stabbed in the back” by clients and people you work with.

Dress for Creativity

Along with organizing and decorating our workspace with objects designed to enhance our creative energy and enhance the flow of chi, we can also dress in colors that raise our creative chi. White, as the color that corresponds with metal, is a good color for writers, as is bright blue and green. Green represents new hope and new ideas. You can also incorporate rainbow colors into your wardrobe to enhance your creative thoughts.

Ken Lauher advises individuals, businesses and organizations on how to implement practical Feng Shui solutions to help achieve their goals and live a more fulfilling life.

His inspiring and transformational work with well-known actors, actresses, TV hosts, singers, songwriters, CEOs, businesses, and corporations has made him a sought-after speaker on feng shui and life enhancement. Ken recently appeared on NBC’s Weekend Today show and TLC’s Moving Up!

Based in New York City, Ken works with local, national and international clients. To learn more about Ken, to download your free Feng Shui Guide, or to schedule a Feng Shui consultation, please visit www.kenlauher.com.

A Day of Play to Recharge and Reinspire the Writer Within

Freelancing can be a rough business.  Receiving rejections, tedious rewrites, grumpy editors and more can plague everyone’s day and leave your family drained from the day’s ups and downs.  It might seem like a great idea to work later into the evening or throughout the weekend to catch up.  When deadlines are looming, a few extra hours is okay, but remembering to unwind and play is important, too.

Exercise is important for multiple reasons.  Exerting energy in bursts offers inspiration, boosts your metabolism, provides an outlet to physically exert frustrations, and helps keep your body healthy to handle the stressors of the day.  Spending the weekend away from the computer with your family offers plenty of activities that serve a dual purpose: exercise and bonding. 

Tips and Suggestions:

  • A picnic lunch at the park.
    • When planning your picnic out, remember to include plenty of items for outdoor fun.  Outdoor balls, wiffle balls and bats, plastic golfing games, frisbees, horseshoes and a volleyball serve in a pinch depending on your location.  If you find a part that serves different outdoor sports, invite friends and extended family to come along for added conversation and fun.
  • Walking along the waterways.
    • There’s a great program sponsored by Geocaching.com called, “Cache in, trash out.”  You can apply the same principle to any outdoors walk you take.  Carry with you a couple of small trash bags and pick up any debris along the way that could harm the space you have to meander.  Not only are you doing your body good when walking, you’ve made a positive impact on the environment.  Who couldn’t feel good about that?
  • Biking and Hiking in the hills and mountains.
    • Planning a trip to the mountains takes a bit more planning.  You must remember all your basic necessities including water, survival tools (knife, flints, flares) as well as pack high energy foods capable of sustaining you in the event you are trapped for the night.  Investing in insulating blankets to carry is a wise idea, too.  Seldom do people find themselves stuck on the mountain with no way down, but if it happened to you, it would provide an amazing story to pitch to an editor once you return to civilization.
  • Visiting a zoo or other local museum.
    • When the weather is less than favorable for an outdoor adventure, spending time inside might just serve you well.  As long as you are away from your work space and doing something outside your normal routine.  Walking through a zoo or large museum will exercise your body and mind.  Animals and displays from the past will recharge your inspirational pool. 

For many writers, finding balance between home and family can be difficult.  No matter how you are pulled to put in an extra couple of hours, make sure you are choosing your hours wisely.  If you can spent time out recharging yourself and build memories with your family, it’s more than worth staying up an hour later or rising an hour early to finish out that assignment.  Afterall, why work hard to achieve success when you aren’t reaping the benefits of what you sow?

Writing Inspiration Through Art

Writing Inspiration Through Art Life imitates art, and art imitates life. Writers search high and low for inspiration, but inspiration is everywhere around us! We can “imitate” art by using it as a starting point and catalyst to more vibrant and creative writing. Not just limited to fiction, art can inspire us to write colorful blog posts, articles, and other nonfiction works.

I love colorful pictures, paintings, and crafts that were created by inspired minds of today and yesterday. I am not overly picky about what can inspire me, as long as it is aesthetically pleasing and accesses the visual thinking area of my mind. I can weave a story around captivating elements within a picture.

Artistic Imagery for the Writer

Here’s a fun little exercise that I like to use when my creative well is running dry. You don’t even have to take a trip to a museum to find breathtaking works of art, although you certainly could!

  1. Type in a random word into your favorite search engine or photo site, coupled with the word “art”. I love flowers, so I might try “flower art”, whereas if you are focusing on writing an interview, you might look for “female art”.
  2. Click on the image results of your search query. The internet is full of images in every style, medium, and expression. Choose three of the images that jump out at you immediately. Don’t worry too much if they don’t appear to be your favorites, or if they don’t match the mood of your writing project. As long as they elicit an emotional response from you, they are likely to be useful!
  3. Take the three images and try to create a mini-story in your mind. For example, you might have one picture of a young woman, another of a castle, and another of a field of flowers. The basic story behind these three images is: “There is a woman in a castle surrounded by flowers.”
  4. Now, ask yourself all sorts of questions. “Why is the woman there? Does she live there? Has the castle been abandoned, with the flowers growing everywhere? Is she alone? Where will she go? What will she find in the castle? Does she like the flowers?” These kinds of questions will get your creative juices flowing, and you may find a plot line for a short story or novel hidden within these pictures!
  5. Tie these images back into your non-fiction writing project. The young woman can stand for yourself, or the subject you’re writing about. You may need to write from a new point of view, or find the human angle to your otherwise dull topic. The castle may stand for a real life physical location. Where is your topic making the most impact? Where is the headquarters located? For more abstract art, such as flowers, you may be able to compare your subject to the flowers, and list all the reasons why it is so.

Inspiration Out in the Open

Art is everywhere! And not just limited to images, photos, or paintings. Sculpture and crafts are 3D visions of the mind’s eye brought to life. Nature is living, breathing art! Others find beauty and creativity in architecture, fashion, film, and interior decorating.

Keep your eyes and mind open, and you will begin to see the beauty and the stories all around you.

What inspires you the most? How do you bring those images out of real life and down into words? Are more literal descriptive passages your style, or do you use art as a jumping point into deeper discussion and meaning?

Photo Credit: Dalbera