My two favorite creative writing styles are poetry and playwriting. These two types of writing happen to require a lot of determination, a bit of an inspiration, and (for the most part) at least a foot in the reality of our human experiences. (At least that is how I look at them.) Poetry is the way I convey stories and messages best. I love the imagery and the challenges that come with balancing showing actions and using too much figurative language or vice versa. And my plays challenge me to thoroughly analyze how humans realistically behave and what they go through without drastic exaggerations.
When writing requires that much mental work ahead of you, where do you find the inspiration to keep writing? Today, I want to share with you just a few ways I find some inspiration to create my best work. Leave yours in the comment so we can talk about them. Maybe you will give me ideas!
Sometimes I have the motivation to write but lack anything to give me an idea about the direction I want to take that day. Sitting outside even for a little while is one of my most frequent methods of finding inspiration. Ever since I was a kid, I loved nature and animals. (I grew up in the Pocono Mountains so it would be difficult not to love nature somewhat.) Seventh grade was one of my favorite times at school solely because of our Envirothon team and the canoe trip I got to go on with my father…who managed to tip our canoe, of course.
That love of nature makes even the simplest occurrences seem magical in my mind. I can look at leaves rustling in the wind and the shapes of trees and find some use to attach them to a feeling or a moment in writing. Sometimes I’ll even sit on the ground with my shoes off and get grounded to focus on the textures of the soil beneath me. I also love listening to the sounds of rain, oceans, and wind. You would be surprised how well you can attach weather to anything you want to write about once you focus in on it.
My Depression and Anxiety
Now, I know that sounds really dark; trust me, it can be a dark world in my brain. But I would be wrong if I claimed these disorders and the experiences they stir up are not great for some hard-hitting, emotional, and visual content. The negative thoughts and feelings alone give you options, but the physical reactions those things make you experience are great for imagery.
For the most part, I keep this inspiration option open only when I am upset and in the moment and focus on more positive things. Before I started therapy three years ago, I used to tap into bad memories from years previously just so I could write a good poem. In return, I would cry to myself at night for up to a month if I was on a writing streak. (I take it that you are all smart enough to understand why I needed to stop doing that.) Though even with more positivity in my work, I tend to keep the negative mostly to depict the struggles I experience internally keeping myself hopeful when my mind tries to weigh me down daily.
When I go out, I sometimes speak to people. More often than not, I am sitting by myself somewhere (even in a restaurant) and observe individuals and families. I’m intrigued by how these people interact and behave so I can make my characters more realistic and not as dramatic as I used to make them. (I have so many people watching stories that I cannot even remember a good one to tell here.)
One of my favorite places to people watch would have to be New York City. That place is a melting pot of individuals and culture. Because of that, you’re bound to run into some interesting people and situations while you are there. Fun fact: Bryant Park is a good place to sit. Just don’t be creepy about it, okay?
I never had a great relationship with human beings growing up. I was shy and quiet, and the bullying I received up until the end of high school never helped that. There was a bit of chaos at home sometimes. So animals were always safe for me; they still are my safety blanket to this day. Animals, in general, make good imagery whether it’s their appearance, their movements, or their sounds. But dogs, in particular, bring me a feeling of safety and warmth.
My dog Nugget came into my life when I was seven years old and had to go when I was twenty. That dog inspired the few happy poems I wrote about friendship as a teenager. No matter how bad my day was, I knew I could bury my face in her fur and she would not mind. It seems sad that I felt she was all I had, but she was what I needed most then. She helped me grow, though it took quite a while for me to get over her death and learn how to move forward.