12 Most Reflective Activities for Writing Inspiration
A good writing prompt might get you thinking for your next story, but there is so much activity in the world around us to inspire. What always strikes me about a blog, story, or essay are the little details that get magnified. As writers, we tend to exaggerate — yet the small details spoken about with accuracy are quite breathtaking to read.
Here are 12 activities that use observation for inspiration.
Besides the health benefits, meditation can put us in a place of clarity. Take 5 or 10 minutes to banish your thoughts and return to the page. Chances are likely you will just start typing and enter a period of flow.
Doodling is like a form of free association. I use an app called Bomomo to jump-start my brain when I need some inspiration. As I look at the lines and multiplying colors, thoughts enter into my mind.
I have yet to put myself in front of the camera. I did have a flip cam that I used to document my life until it broke. When I look back at those videos, I realize that I have a ton of potential characters and situations that I can use in my next story.
4. Play with children
As kids, our imagination is boundless. That sense of wonder seems to go away once we become educated. Playing with your children is one way to time travel. Pay attention to what they tell you — it is the key to unlocking a universe.
5. Spend time with the elderly
An unfortunate consequence of our longer life spans is the loneliness that accompanies old age. This is just one reason to talk to your grandparents. The other is to listen to their stories.
6. Volunteer at the hospital
Briefly in college, I worked at a hospital doing psychology research. My job was to talk to people about their experiences of pain and get them to sign a release form for our study. You have no idea how many interesting ways there are to end up in care. Lots of strange tales to use someday.
7. Take the train
There is nothing as inspiring to me as watching the world pass by in a blur of motion. I often sit in the lounge on train trips and just start talking to strangers; or observe people as they talk to their loved ones — how they move and speak in a public space.
8. Watch the sun go down
The magic and mystery of nature. How does the sun know when to set? Sure it has everything to do with physics, but in your story it does not have to follow the same rules.
9. Stay up past your bedtime
There is a funny thing when you stay up way to late. As you get sleepy your boundaries drop. Some of my most memorable conversations have happened at 4 am before work.
10. Look at the stars
Backyard astronomy was my first hobby. My father would set up the telescope in the back yard. That is how my love for sci-fi started, by wondering about life on other planets.
11. People watch
Writers need to become good observers. Make time to go to the park, beach, or other public area and just watch the world around you. Sure you can make this stuff up, but watching it first hand will make your characters feel more real.
12. Ask why
Of course, why? Why? Because you can always ask another one. It is the bottomless questions that always lead to some new discovery. Just like the further we break down atoms the more bonds we find holding the universe together.
What activities or hobbies have helped you in your writing? How do you incorporate details of your lives or others into your stories or blogs?
Featured image courtesy of lrargerich licensed via Creative Commons.