What is the connection between an ice lolly and a fidget spinner?
Creativity comes alive when we experience the world with all our senses and make new connections between things. There are seven senses to drawn upon. Sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, the sense of motion (proprioception) and the sense of humour. Music, moving your body, photography and exploring characters from different angles are some of the ways you can create a creative space to exercise your imagination and writing skills.
Inspiration is everywhere
Exploring the world in new ways enables ideas to flow in surprising and interesting ways.
Inspiration can come from every corner of life, the objects we interact with and our relationships with the world. For example, as my life headed out of summer and into autumn this year, I noticed my house was suddenly too quiet.
This led my mind on a creative journey.
I looked around and wondered who else might have felt this change in the atmosphere. As a child with a wild imagination, I had the tendency to anthropomorphize objects. I still see faces in every car front bumper. I talk to the frowns in the knots on a withered tree trunk.
My eyes fell on the trampoline in the garden. It had seen so much action over the previous months, I sometimes worried it would break. But there it was in the morning sun, alone and still. That day, I wrote an elegy to the end of summer from the perspective of the trampoline.
I imagined how it felt when it came out of the box in February, being put together by two arguing adults after dark when our breath came up in clouds. I thought about the relationship between the trampoline and my young daughter, who likes to sing and dance and choreograph elaborate routines. I imagined what it might have felt with my 11-year old son, who seems to best enjoy the feeling of pounding out his power alone, uninterrupted and heavy. I wrote about the trampoline’s confusion that morning, experiencing an autumn school day for the first time.
The relationship between the trampoline and the children was a fun thing to write. But it also got me thinking about how changing perspectives can help our writing.
A fun exercise for your imagination
One of my favourite creative exercises begins with choosing two objects. These can be everyday objects, or weird and wonderful ones. For example, a bicycle and the bike lock. A fidget spinner and a kite. A shoe sitting on a shelf of a charity shop.
Imagine these two objects in a relationship. Is it new, or are they old friends? Do they like or hate each other? Is one jealous? Is it unrequited love?
I recently wrote a tragic/comic love story between a frozen ice lolly and the popsicle stick it had fallen off. It was really fun to write and had me laughing as I typed. Creating a piece of flash fiction was also a nice break from my usual work on my novels.
Allow your imagination to play often
When we explore different exercises, we stretch our writing muscles, and return to one of the reasons why we start writing: because it’s fun!
It is also important to build up our experience of seeing the world from someone else’s perspective. When we consider the different points of view from various characters or objects, it can help us explore different voices.
This is important for establishing characters with authenticity.
Only with authentic voices can the dialogue and relationships in our writing be believable and capture people’s imagination.
Have fun with your writing today and let your imagination come alive.