This must seem like an odd title to those following a writing blog. So, let me explain.
In a recent conversation with a friend, I asked the following. If I was to offer a course, what would be something you’d like to see or might like help with on your writing journey? And the answer surprised me. This what she wrote.
1) Learning to find imagination
2) Learning to write poetry without rhyming
Wait, but you’re a writer and a poet. What do you mean by ‘learning to find imagination’? Number two is a whole other blog post. We’ll get to that another time.
Her answer. It is being imaginative enough to create fresh stories from nothing. If I read something, I can pull from that info and elaborate, but creating an entire story from scratch… very difficult.
Sharpening Your Focus
Ah, I see! We’ve all been there. The blank page. It can be as fearful as pushing the ‘publish’ button from your blog to your book. Am I ready? Will they like it? Others have already written about it. Do I have something new to add? Am I an impostor? Pick your favorites or make up a new one, but we’ve all said something like this in our writing life.
If you’ve been nodding your head and clicked excitedly on the title to see how to find imagination and inspiration, there’s good news and bad news. Imagination is all around. Inspiration strikes. But it takes focus to spark the fire. Believe me, it was a hard pill to swallow for me. Imagination, creativity, desire. It was all there waiting for me to put it to use, to color the blank page with a story. Correction. It is all there, waiting for you, for me, for anyone who has something to say or a story to tell.
Pantser to Plotter here with a host of new resources I’m currently using to get the fires going, so to speak. Don’t worry, I’ll have a short list at the bottom. But for now, let’s get back to my friend. What she needed was something to focus on. Something that existed she could write a story around. A prompt. While there are entire books of prompts from such places as Writer’s Digest, sometimes, you need the ability to come up with your own prompt.
With Childlike Abandon
So, here’s what we did. It was just a few days past Halloween and she had made a jello brain that was too real for her kids. So much so they wouldn’t eat it. But there’s no sense in wasting a perfectly good cherry-flavored jello brain. Boom! Story idea.
Her exercise and yours if you’d like to try it is this:
Imagine you or an as yet unknown character doesn’t know the brain is made of jello and edible. What if they believe it’s real or don’t know what a brain is? What would a scene from this story look like? Not a complete story, just a scene. Ways to start might include describing what gave you the idea to make a jello brain.
Did any of your kitchen utensils feel different in your hands?
Was there a strange charge of electricity in the air?
If you or character was transported into your kitchen or dining room, what would they say?
What would you or your family be talking about?
Ask yourself or your character questions – what would you look like? Say? Do? Etc. Build word by word, sentence by sentence, and scene by scene toward your story. Let your mind free to wander as you write and see where it goes – it’s okay if the first draft is gibberish. That’s its purpose. 🙂
Another prompt idea I’ve used before is this. Sit in a favorite chair in your living room, on the porch, in the kitchen, wherever, and describe the room. Go into as much detail as possible, and if your mind wanders? Let it, but don’t stop writing. Do this for 15 minutes. Keep it short.
You get the idea. Imagination and inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you write, just that you write. Something. Every day.
Five resources, I’ve found useful over the years.
There are a variety of other resources like the above. But these are the ones I return to repeatedly for writing jobs, writing tips, ideas, prompts, and more.
I hope this article has given you some inspiration and ways to spark your imagination. If you’re looking for more focused help, I’m adding a new service: Writing Tutor/Writing Coach. As this year comes to a close, I’ll be updating my services and portfolio. But in the meantime, if you find the information useful and want to let me know, please like, share, comment, or buy me a coffee. For a coffee, please click the coffee image in the lower right-hand corner.
Bio: Lisa is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, poet, and author. She has written about freelance writing, data and analytics, recruitment, business, and finds her happy place in research and biographies with fictional elements. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, Matt, and their dogs, Della and Gigi.