You know the feeling, right? You could be anywhere– enjoying the quiet solitude of the forest, sitting in the local inn listening to a young aspiring lutenist, or preparing your gear before you take on that quest from the farmer with the missing goat…
…and POW! Inspiration hits….but it’s fleeting. A bright, ephemeral spark that flashes before your mind’s eye, full of promise…but hurry! If you don’t write it down quickly, it may be lost in no time!
This has happened to me too many times to count and, far too often, the inspiration that had taunted me flickers away before I can grab my quill. It’s easy to get discouraged, but don’t despair! Here are some easy and fun ways to coax those sparks back into view– or to bring new sparks to life! Experienced Essayists and Spry Young Scribblers alike can benefit from these exercises!
Use Your Senses:
As I mentioned in my previous post, you don’t need to be the most attentive student of literature to write good descriptions. A great way to get your imagination prepped for creation is by simply starting with what you see around you! Use as many of the five senses as you can (sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste) and describe your environment. Try this in a variety of different settings: a wooded park, a street bench where you can watch people go by, a cafe full of fresh-baked pastries, etc.
Try this at varying times of day as well– the high street wears many different faces over the course of a few hours!
What’s The Story?:
As you’re sitting on that lovely high street bench, there may be some interesting characters passing by. It can be a fun game to imagine where they could be off to, and why. Do they seem to be in a hurry, or are taking their time? Perhaps they’re not who they seem to be, and they’re in the midst of some mysterious intrigue. Perhaps they’re about to embark upon something life-changing…or maybe they’re just talking their dog for a walk. What kind of story could you tell?
Create a Creature:
There are countless tales of fearsome, fantastical, and fanciful creatures out there! The best part is that there are always more to discover…so imagine yourself as a seasoned explorer– a courageous field researcher perhaps– who has just discovered a new creature. What does it look like? How and where does it live? Is it magical? What kind of abilities does it have? What does it eat? Does it have any predators or is it the biggest baddie in the food chain?
If you’re having trouble coming up with a “new” creature, use one of your favorites as inspiration! This exercise is especially fun if you leave some doodles in the margins of the page 🙂
Train of Thought:
This exercise may be a little more advanced, but it is one of my personal favorites! When you feel as though your mind is too cluttered for new, creative thoughts…you can write the clutter away! The way to do it is simple but tricky: you write down exactly what is on your mind, but you don’t use punctuation! You write thoughts as they enter your mind, no matter how silly or jumbled they seem to be. This can take some practice, but it’s a wonderful exercise because you never quite know what will end up on the page! This is also very helpful if you find yourself feeling stressed or sad about something…I find it is easier sometimes to write down how I’m feeling if I have trouble finding the words to talk about it!
When you first try this exercise you may feel self-conscious, but eventually, your inner monologue will become more fluid and free, and you may find it harder to stop than it was to begin!
I hope you enjoy these fun writing activities! It can be hard to spark the idea for a new story or adventure, and writer’s block can hit when you least expect it. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having trouble following a storyline or maintaining your inspiration every time you open your journal. It can be helpful to take breaks here and there so you can return to your writing with a fresh mind…and using these exercises in between can help recharge your creativity!
Follow the sparks and keep scribbling!