Where do you keep your observations?

This week, I have taken the executive decision to start keeping a little observations book.

In the past, my observations have been all over the place, either just left unrecorded in my head or jotted down onto scraps of paper. As a writer, things often strike a chord with me – whether it’s a particular character trait or some sort of societal issue – so it’s important to capture all of this for future reference, as anything that I observe could be used as material for my stories!

Since creating an exclusive place to record things, I have been making more observations than ever. I now try to take my notebook wherever I go because you just never know who or what you might encounter on your travels! A wry observation about mothers with prams, the way that people tend to ignore beggars on the street, an overheard snippet of conversation – anything could catch your attention!

So why not keep it all in one place? Human memory is terrible at the best of times, so it’s well worth writing stuff down. Hopefully, in years to come, I should have a wealth of notes to spark my imagination and bolster the reality of my worlds. Already, I have made some very interesting entries and I’ve only been doing this for a week!

Advertisements

Writing Warm-Ups

If you find it difficult to get your cogs turning, then this post may help.

Just like with our bodies, we need to warm up our “creative muscle” before we begin to exercise. Unless you’re very inspired, then it can sometimes be difficult to get lift off. But worry not, for there are ways and means to get your imagination flowing!

Do you have six minutes to spare? Good. Do you have pen and paper? Of course you do.

The first part of the warm-up is called “clustering”. It involves picking a word at random (or getting someone else to pick a word for you) and then spending three minutes writing down as may words as you can. The words that you write down can either be linked to the original word, words that follow off from other words, or completely random words that pop into your head – just keep going non-stop until the three minutes are up!

For example, if I started with the word “egg”, then I would come up with words like “chicken”, “farmyard” and “yolk”, as well as more abstract words like “beginning” and “philosophy”. By now, your mind should be warming up, so now it’s time for the second part of the exercise!

From your cluster of words, choose the one that jumps out to you the most, without hesitating. Once you have picked the word, then don’t change your mind about it. And from there, spend the next three minutes doing “free writing”, which involves just putting pen to paper and writing whatever is triggered by the word you have chosen. What you write doesn’t even have to be related to the word and you certainly shouldn’t worry about the quality of the writing. Just write for three minutes straight without stopping or hesitating.

Hopefully, when you have finished this exercise, then you should feel slightly more alert. Now that your cogs are turning, you should be able to apply yourself to any task that requires focus. Or at the very least, this warm-up should make it easier to start something!