Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Write Club - Inspiration

Hey y'all.  Let's write stuff.

I was talking with a girl who works with me in the church nursery, and she said that she found it amazing that people could create fictitious worlds out of seemingly thin air.  It never seemed this way to me, but because I'm a more creative person, I might just not know the difference.  I mean, writer people, of which I hope you are one, get their inspiration from anything and everything.  Is there anything we twist into originality?  Well, if it inspires us aside.  Without inspiration, we can't really do it either.

So where does inspiration come from?  None of us writer people know, that's for sure.  That's why somebody invented the metaphorical concept of a muse, a more or less fairy-like being that magically shines creativity on us from time to time.  Thing is, a muse can be rather inefficient when it comes to writing to make money.

In reality, creativity is a muscle, and it needs work too.  This brings me to the point that the only way to become a good writer is to write, and in the meantime you're going to make some rather undelightful choices as you progress.  Don't be ashamed.  There are no writer prodigies.   All of us have to learn a language, and expressing our creativity in that language is a learned thing too.

So, let's go more on inspiration.  Thing of some things that inspire you to write.  Not things that make you happy, necessarily, but things that make you want to open up your computer or journal and start putting words together.  Go ahead.  Think of some.  If you can recall a specific instance, so much the better.

But what if you don't feel inspired?  You've got to practice somehow.  Here's some creative ways to get your brain going.

Inspiration #1: Music.

Honestly, today nothing inspires me more than music.   Sometimes I'll be listening to several different songs, and they seem to cooperate together to make a story influence.  Let's practice.

I find that the best way to go about this is to choose a song with little to no lyrics.  Or lyrics you just don't understand.  It works with lyric songs too, but decide for yourself.

Okay, so clicking this link will bring you to the song "Silence" by Delerium.   It is a very passionate song with only a few lyrics, but since these lyrics are poetic this will still work.  Okay.  Play this song a couple of times to get used to it, or you can skip directly to step two: close your eyes and listen.


Think about this song, and think about how it makes you feel.  Don't look at the video (not that there's much of one, but still), just listen and think about what this song makes you feel.  After that, think of the things that make you feel the same way or similarly.  Does it make you feel like walking through a haunted wood?  Make you feel like you're fading away?  Try to think of places, activities and people.  Think of a character (yourself if you have to) wandering in this environment, doing this thing, or meeting these people.  What would that turn out to be like?  What happens next?  Write it down.

Writing these down will give you the basis of great stories.  In case Silence doesn't work, try one of these songs.  Remember, listen to the music, don't watch the vid.   Well, you can, if it inspires you, but for the sake of this exercise try not to.  Some are serious songs, some are not.  Click at your own risk.  Don't worry, they won't hurt you. :D

Notedly, if you don't like these songs you can just go get an album and check out your own music.  Also, as a way of progressing from this exercise, take a cd that you have, or at least a whole album off of iTunes or something (no skipping songs!) and do this exercise for all of the songs.  Then you should connect all of your inspiration notes into one massive story for that album.  The best albums have united themes, so your album should sound rather like a story when you do this.  Even if you don't like a song, try anyway.  You'd be surprised how inspirational songs you don't like can be.

Inspiration #2: Fabric.

That's right, I said fabric.  Okay, so first of all, go from your computer and pick a fabric out somewhere in your house: a shirt, couch, purse, scarf, whatever.  Anything fabric-y.  Things that have patterns are better, but that's not necessary.

Okay, so there's two ways to go about this.  The first way is to think of how this fabric makes you feel.  Is it a warm sweater that reminds you of your boyfriend?  Is it an antique design that makes you think of the past?  A glamorous design that that makes you feel like you're right in the middle of paparazzi?  Does it make you think of something that doesn't seem logical at all?  When you look at it are you happy?  Sad?  Dramatic?Write it down, then think about the people and places your mind comes up with.  What would you do in those situations?

The second way is to look at the pattern and think of an object that pattern reminds you of.  I once did this exercise with a lady using the pattern on a bag I own, and the pattern reminded her of a chair.  I asked her to describe this chair, and to her it was one of those older fabric chairs that are fancy.  I then asked her to imagine a place where this chair would exist.  After that, what sort of things would happen in this room?

It's really not hard at all.

Inspiration #3: Words

This inspiration is muse-heavy, I like to say, because there are certain words that appeal to certain people, but not others.  Basically this is where you take a word and imagine what that word really describes.  For example, I was staring at the music term "dark house", and after thinking about that for I while, I got the inspiration for a techno-thriller.

How do these words make you feel?  A simpler way to go about it would be to imagine that that word is the title of a movie.  What movie would go with that title?  Use whichever word or phrase on this list you like better.

Free Options
English Translation
Dwelling Place
Quartz Words

If you don't like any of these, you can use words in a book you like, or on the internet, or whatever.  As long as the word speaks to you, that's the one to go with.

After looking at all of these, you'll notice that the basic idea is to look and see how this thing makes you feel.  Bingo.  That's inspiration.  You can take absolutely anything in the world and be inspired by it, as long as you note how it makes you or other people feel.  Getting people to feel what you feel is the point of writing, so if you get these exercises, you're good to go.

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