Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quirks and Inspiration

I know, it is a very strange photo, but it has been my inspiration on several occasions.

A few weeks ago, Phyllis spoke about her writing quirk - listening to a specific play list while writing. I added a comment indicating one way that I get inspired, and decided to blog about another.

When I come across an interesting image, I save it in a folder on my computer. When I have been staring at the blank piece of paper for a long time, I sometimes choose an image and challenge myself to come up with a background story. It may explain the painting or describe the events that led the artist to produce the artwork.

One of my favorite images for this purpose is the one I have attached. This is a piece of batik art from Uganda and the reality is that the woman who is walking away has probably been banished from her village and is leaving with her "georgie bundle" (all of her belongings) on her head. Sometime I create dialogue imagining what the seated woman is saying to her. My favorite scenario begins with "Go put some clothes on!" (The standing woman is bare behind that little black banner I added).

Other times, I think about why she is being banished, what she may have done, whether she is guilty or innocent of the crime of which she is accused. After having a little fun with this, I find that my mind is back in gear for writing and creating my own stories.

I would love to hear other exercises that you use to jump start your creative thinking.


KeVin K. said...

What a terriffic idea.
I sometimes pin pictures of things I'm writing about where I can see them -- landscapes, city scenes, battlemechs, starships, whatever -- to keep images sharp.
But I've never thought of using an image unrelated to what I'm writing as a jump-starter to build up creative momentum.
Going to have to try that.

G said...

I live next door to a mountain (no really, the mountain is about fifty feet from my house) and quite often sitting outside in my backyard or deck the mountain has on many occasions jumpstarted my creative momentum.

Sometimes it helps with whatever story I'm working on and sometimes it inspires me to write a short piece of creative non-fiction for my blog.

Either way, it's always there for me to tap into or at the very least, for it to tap into me.

Charles Gramlich said...

That is a good idea. I've done it on occassion. I find that images can set a mood for me too, which helps put me in the mind of writing without necessarily providing anything like a plot idea.

Phyllis Bourne said...

I keep a notebook of images that appeal to me and thumb through it when I need an inspirational boost.

Carol Mitchell said...

Thanks, guys. Glad to know I am not the only one, Phyllis!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Gazing at photos taken by my daughter, or photos of St. Kitts tend to relax me enough to start writing. I have never tried to making them come alive though. Maybe I should try that when I'm stuck.

Liane Spicer said...

[I made about 10 attempts to comment here yesterday and Blogger wouldn't let me. Fingers crossed this time...]

That's a great idea, and a lovely piece of art.

I can't think of any quirks except one I've developed over the past few weeks. I've always 'tidied up and put away' everything before shutting down my computer, but I've started leaving the files related to the story I'm working on open before hibernating. Now, when I power up it's the first thing I see and this keeps the story in the forefront of my mind.