You are wrapped in the golden silence of a ceiling-to-floor booklined study, hunched over the oak desk on which 50-odd pages of your latest manuscript are spread out...
A cool pine-scented breeze wafts gently through the open window. From the third-floor level, you can soak in the green landscape and distant mountain peaks.
Pen poised in mid-air, you and your muse in perfect harmony, as your mind collects a myriad of images, all restless and impatient, waiting and hoping to be chosen as “the one”, the next popular idea for the epic story unfolding. You examine the next idea...
Your eyes pop open. The rancid smell from your neighbours overfried lunch assaults your senses, while the brat screaming at the top of his lungs eliminates every trace of the verdant pastures!
Creativity gone – in a puff of smoke (and that’s from the jalopy that has backfired in its tenth attempt to get going!)
Goodbye exotic writing location!
Hello blank Wordpress document...
The myriad of images scatter, scared away by the string of vocabulary which has been unleashed by Brat Mama, who appears determined to compete with the toddler, in the Who-Can-Scream-The-Loudest category. New images pop up. They flood the creative well. This includes the mouthful that may be delivered to Brat Mama, censored words that are far removed from the epic world of the booklined study moment. But wait. Some of these thoughts are good. Mmmm, can’t rule them out completely. There could be some gems hidden amongst that batch. Great ideas for that scene on conflict.
Okay, back to the Word document. Type a few sentences. And then... blank. Meanwhile, the screeching contest has subsided. Desperate for a few more writerly ideas, you entertain a fleeting moment of madness... maybe the screeching contest should continue... there’s a need to wrap up the conflict scenes. Ha! The muse refuses to budge!
So what next?
I think that the essence of creativity doesn’t really take place in front of the computer, or hovering over a blank sheet of paper at the oak desk. It’s all around you, every day. It takes place in the totality of your day-to-day life, everything that has happened before you actually sit down and face that blank page.
All life experiences contain numerous creative moments, story possibilities which are waiting to be shaped into workable ideas and then put down onto paper. You have to be aware of your surroundings – all the time! It’s in the snippet of dialogue at the supermarket checkout point, that billboard image you pass everyday, a classified newspaper advert, that obituary that brings your character to life. And you need to explore different ways of doing things - for example, make contact with somebody you’ve never met before, interview a journalist, street artist, video game designer...
There are hundreds of places where characters are lurking, waiting to be found. For example, you need never be stuck with character ideas again. Find inspiration by checking out 365 encounters with strangers HERE. And remember, that’s only one example.
So watch the world go by.
Look around you.
Connect with people.
The story ideas are there, all waiting to be snatched up.