A World of Writing Inspiration

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Writers are always on the lookout for inspirational ideas to turn into new writing projects. Once while exploring HOW, the online version of the graphic design magazine, I came across an article by Sam Harrison, author of several books on creativity and editor of ZingZone.com. In 10 Ways to Get Inspired by the World Around You, he suggests close examination of our surroundings can reveal more ideas than we can handle.

Most writers already practice number five, ‘Observe and Take Note’. How else would we acquire and develop those ideas we come across? Two of the world’s more notable notetakers are mentioned, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, whose books were filled with diagrams, sketches and of course, notes. I agree with the author’s suggestion to “capture ideas while they last---(to) take verbal and visual notes.”

I have a worn notebook containing expansive family trees of characters I created back in high school. Over time, I’ve returned to its pages to flesh out characters for some of the stories and scripts I’ve written.

Check out number two, ‘Explore the Masters for Material’. Artist Willem de Kooning was inspired by Rubens and combined classical and modern into a new art form. Does Dali do something for you? Gazing into his life may inspire you to create a graphic novel. Harrison also encourages writers to list masters they admire, then explore their lives, methods and ideas to see what they might walk away with.

Watching Pixar/Disney’s Ratatouille, the Oscar-winning animated film about a rat (!) aspiring to become a chef in Paris, inspired me to not only create a gourmet meal, write a post for ‘The Muffin’, but also fine-tune the cooking talents of a couple of characters I’ve been working on.

Sometimes, as number ten states, you ‘ Stay Where You Are’, Inventor Charles Pajeau did just that observing his children building structures with pencils and thread spools they found. And the outcome? Tinkertoys!

Read the rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, right here.

The world provides such rich inspiration for the writer. Get out there and get them!

By Jill Earl

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art


hkhagan said...

Sometimes I wish I had a recorder with me so I could capture all of my ideas before I lose them. Then I think that’s conceded so I don’t get one. But maybe I will. It would come in handy in the car. I spend almost 2 hours there every day. It may as well become productive time. Now, if only I could upload those notes to an instant transcription program so I don’t have to listen to myself on a recorder.

Jill said...


Why not get the recorder? In capturing those ideas, you'll be making your commuting time productive. And consider the transcription program too. You're continuing to invest in your writing career.

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