Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Writings

Wednesdays are writing advice! I share tips I've learned on creating realistic characters, building worlds, and that tricky, sticky grammar.

Inspiration and Imagination

Today I urge you to imagine. Imagination is your most useful tool as a writer; it uncovers the magic and mystery in the world around you. It allows you to express something more real than anything science, math, or society could teach you. 

Of course, we all know imagination. We may even take it for granted. But this post is not about just that: it's about the problems you face when you're out of ideas, and you think your imagination lake has run dry. Yes, the Dreaded Writer's Block.

To combat your lack of creativity and imagination, you need inspiration. And inspiration is like air: you can find it anywhere. (Except in a vacuum, like space, but you know what I mean.)

Here are my suggestions when you hit a roadblock:

1. Listen to new music. If you normally listen to pop music, try country or rock music. If you're normally more of a classic rock fan, then listen to classical.

2. Look really, really closely at a flower. Or a tree, or a bush, or something of that nature. This is how Georgia O'Keefe got her inspiration, and she painted some beautiful stuff.

3. You know those scented candles? Burn one of those. Watch the flame and breathe in the [smell-sort of adverb/adjective] goodness. You can relax away the stress and get your creativity flowing. If you don't have a scented candle, just staring at a regular one works, too.

4. Research some random topic on google. I've done this a lot - my last research topic was on the Bubonic Plague. This helps clear up any questions you had about a particular topic, and makes it easier to write about it in your story.

5. Read a new book. If you're an avid reader like I am, then pick a book out of your comfort zone. Like, if you normally read romance, pick up an adventure or epic fantasy novel. If you're normally an epic fantasy type person, pick up a general fiction or even a nonfiction book.

6. If you have any pets, now would be the time to pay attention to them. Stroke their fur (or feathers, scales, or whatever else) and let them sit in your lap. Look deeply in their eyes and try to find the right color to describe them. Or, simply observe the way they move; I watch my cats move around, and they're so graceful and elegant that I'm inspired to incorporate the beauty into my story.

7. Ask yourself how well you really know your characters. Do you know what they dream about at night? Do you understand the reasons behind their actions?

8. Go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars. Perhaps you'll spark an epiphany.

Imagination is an important aspect to writing, and if your creative lake has gone dry, then follow at least one of those simple rules above. It's not like I'm asking you to run a marathon; I just want you to observe your surroundings and draw inspiration from them.

Oh, what the cupcakes - I'll include a Georgia O'keefe picture, as well as my normal quote and goodbye. (I even found a quote that's relevant to my post! Yay!)

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
-Albert Einstein

Red Canna, Georgia O'Keefe

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