The mother bird constantly scans her surroundings, on the hunt for sustenance for her hatchlings. Alert and ready, she keeps her eyes focused so as not to miss the tiniest movement.
A writer is constantly scanning her surroundings, on the hunt for fodder for her work-in-progress. Alert and ready, she keeps her eyes (and ears) focused so as not to miss the tiniest insight.
Okay, now that you have that mental picture fixed in your brain, think about it. As writers, we should consider our entire lives “grist for the mill.” Every summer vacation, every fast food run, we could return with a great idea for a book, poem, or blog entry. One of the characters in my work-in-progress is based on a highway worker I saw removing road kill along the side of the road. Weird, huh? Exactly!
When your brain doesn’t understand something, it tries to make up a reasonable explanation, thus, creativity. If we settle into a daily routine and don’t look around once in a while, we will miss the creative clues that life provides us. Even the most prolific authors occasionally hit a dry patch. That’s when we need to rattle the noggin a bit.
Try doing some “creative calisthenics.” This process was penned by Terri Main, a California college professor, for her students. Next time you’re waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, examine the items in the cart of the person in front of you. Now speculate what type of evening they’re going to have: boss coming to dinner, first date, horrible bout of the flu or nursing a broken heart? Write a paragraph or two about what might be going on in their lives.
Do you remember the last time you saw a really bad movie? My husband and I spent the drive home trying to “fix” the plot. Allowing your imagination to run wild is great exercise for a writer, even though your mom always thought it was a bad thing.
Every day, every interaction and situation we experience affords us an opportunity to create art. Inspiration for writing comes from every direction and we need to be vigilant as a mother bird to focus in on literary fodder. Keep this in mind and great ideas will be flocking to your door.–Carol J. Martin
“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”–Elbert Hubbard