Tag Archives: creativity

Making Use of Bonus Days Off

2 Sep

Happy Labor Day (to everyone in the US)! The last “official” day of summer, I guess. Back where I come from (there was a song in there, somewhere) today is the last that beaches and pools are open and all of the lifeguards get to go back to their normal lives. Me, I get a long weekend and an extra day off to do whatever I want.

What do you do when you get the magical bonus of a long weekend? Lounge around? Entertain family? What are you doing with your extra days off? The holidays are coming (Halloween is coming! I can’t wait!)

Why not make part of your bonus days off a little more productive. I’m not saying bury yourself in writing. That may or may not be the most productive use of your time. Many holidays have festivals and events that go along with them. This weekend, for example, was the Disneyland Half Marathon. Now, I didn’t get in on THOSE festivities, but I’m sure there are many other places to get into trouble if I look hard enough.

If you are going to be out and around on extra day off, why not try to catch some interesting conversation bits that you might not catch any other time? Grab details on settings that might be fleeting and elusive. Don’t forget, you may have your phone with you and you can send yourself a text message or you can use apps on a smart phone. Capture details that you might be able to use later.  Snap a few pictures that might not be what you would ordinarily take wherever you are, something that might bring  back the setting or might just be interesting.  At the mall?  Grab a shot of the food court or an interesting store.  See a few interesting people (I live in a place where three town are renown for being Weird, Unusual and “between a rock and a weird place”, there are always interesting people).  Homeless guy?  Panhandler that  has a unique angle (juggling maybe or break dancing).  Capture it.  File it away (organize your digital files so you can easily retrieve things).

You may not need the information now, but you never know when it might come in handy. You may, one day, need to put one of your characters in a family picnic or a beach party, you may want to set a backdrop to something.

Make use of whatever time you have and whatever place you may find yourself. If you can’t use it now, squirrel it away somewhere. You may, one day, be glad for the little details you ferreted out when you were enjoying your down time!

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The Music of Our Words

14 Jul

 

What do you listen to when you write? Do you listen to music? Or to white noise? The sea or windchimes or birdsong? Or to nothing at all?

This morning mine is Tartanic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2HMKpOYel4&feature=share&list=PL16EFDDBDFDFC7E2B) and Cast in Bronze (http://www.youtube.com/user/CarillonBellsMan)

Have you ever thought of changing up what you listen to? How would it change your writing? The tempo? The message?

This morning I’ve been playing around with music and creating my own mix to listen to over the next few weeks, and I’ve found that I can create in myself differnt moods even within my writing that kind of go along with what I’m listening to. I know it plays a role in how the words flow and how I lose myself in the writing, but I hadn’t realized that I can influence myself with what I’m listening to.

I’ve started taking one minute videos every (okay, almost every) day of something that strikes me. Some mornings it is the birds at sunrise, sometimes the cicadas at sunset. Others a moment caught when I’m out doing something with my family. I have my phone with me always and I capture moments in time that I think maybe I would like to be able to call back to mind easily later. I use these videos much like music on my iPod or on YouTube, to call a certain mood or frame of mind back to now.

How do you use the tools that you have at hand? How could you? I know in my life, I’m busy enough that I may not take the time at any given moment to capture the words that I maybe could capture but I capture a few words (sometimes on audio on my phone, sometimes as a note, sometimes just as a picture stolen in a second) and call back the memory later, when I have just a little more time.

There are shortcuts and tools all around us, what music can you capture today?  How can you make your words dance?

 

Inspiration!

20 Jun

So, I’m always up for different ideas that I can use to tickle my inspiration.  Sometimes they end up taking me places I didn’t plan on going, sometimes they make me realize that there are some topics I just can’t chase very far.

I buy books, I hound websites, and I just start writing about random things.

One of my favorite trilogies is Your First 1,000 Days in Writerspark/ Your First 2,000 Days in Writerspark/ Your First 3,000 Days in Writerspark.  Three years’ worth of prompts in each book!  These books were based on a Yahoo Group “Writerspark”.

The fabulous news is, the moderator of the group is back and they are, once again, accepting new members!  This morning, I got a deluge of new prompts!  I’m avidly looking forward to prompts showing up in my email box every day!  I’m just as avidly looking forward to being able to stretch my edges and explore ideas I might not have been able to come up with on my own.

I’m wading through the new prompts, pulling them into my own PDF so I can take them with me on my tablet device and write when I have a few minutes to stretch.

How about you?  Where to you get ideas when you need to find new ways to exercise your writing muscles?  To come up with angles on things that are a little different than what you are used to?

This Yahoo group is supportive and will provide constructive critiques for writing samples if anyone wants to take a chance on it.

As for me, I’m going to venture forth and write about my desk!

Exercise #3740

The Desk

Compose a piece of no more than 750 words that shows the contents of a desktop in such a way that the images provide a sense of the person who uses the desk.

Random Inspiration (finding the smallest details that you need in creative places)

3 Jun

So, I’ve been thinking again (I hate when that happens) about writer’s block and where ideas come from.  I know how to feed my dragon when I have an idea and I just can’t get to the details.  And that usually works for me very well.  But there are so many times when there are hundreds or thousands of butterfly words chasing each other around in my head and I don’t know what order they want to take, or what subject they want to settle on. I just can’t find one subject that will make them happy.

Other times, I have kind of an idea for a setting where I want something to happen, but I really want to have a more concrete idea, a more real picture of what I’m struggling with.  I can’t quite get it right in my mind’s eye.  And when that happens, I can’t get passed it until I can figure out what might be the tiniest detail.

There are incredible places on line where you can find random pictures that can feed your imagination.  You can search for pictures of things, like red door or ugly car.  Or you can find random pictures that speak to you.  Flickr will let you find pictures that were randomly recently uploaded.  They can fuel your thought process, or you can decide that your character is the one uploading them and figure out what he might be thinking as he turns then lose into the wild.

The internet can be an incredible place to waste time.  But it can be a font of information to tap into.  Use whatever tools that might fall to your hands (photography books in the library, google images, or the two places I enjoy hunting:

http://www.flickr.com/explore

http://photobucket.com

IMAGINATION

29 May
By Nesher Ehrman 
 
Oh hearken now and listen well
To the dismal tale I will now tell
Of a thing behooved of fickle feature
IMAGINATION – wily creature
 
From her emerge ideas and plots
Woven stories, domestic knots
All not-real and all made-up
When supping IMAGINATION’s cup
 
An author who bends and and sweats at his work
Creating the plight of a hero named Dirk
He calls to his muse, that she may inspire
To her he prays to start the fire
 
IMAGINE one, IMAGINE all,
Like gems dredged up from crystal ball
Ideas come forth, they may not stop
The lifeblood of stories, each ruby drop
 
No matter the language, or of what nation
The bones are the same – it is creation
But no matter the name, or what it is called
IMAGINATION is fickle, a crone all enshawled
 
Sometimes you sit, and write for a spell
Nothing more trivial than story to tell
But hold dear these rare times, they come not often
IMAGINATION is harsh, and seldom to soften
 
To me this rhyme, these words, the whole
Where I beg for ideas, I whine and cajole
To me in my head, I play slave to her master
She is but an idea, but I write all the faster
 
This poem does not make too much sense. It makes sense to me in my head and that’s what important. It requires some IMAGINATION of your own to understand what it means to you. To see other (more comprehensible) poems and stories, feel free to visit nesherehrman.wordpress.com/

Making Friends With Your Writer’s Block

11 May

We have all struggled with Writer’s Block. The times when you know you need to be writing or you should be writing but you sit and you stare at the nothing on the page. It’s frustrating and scary.
I know that you had to have heard all kinds of advice on getting past, or through, writer’s block. And to some degree, I’ve tried almost all of them. To some degree, most have gotten me through some tough spots. But, in reality, I’ve found one that seems to work very well for me.
I’ve made my Writer’s Block into its own character. He doesn’t have a place in any book that I am working on, although that has even crossed my mind. Rather than looking on him as an adversary, I’ve embraced him; given him a voice.
Draco Imaginaria (thanks goes to Google Translate, it is Latin for Imaginary Dragon) is a lavender dragon with random multicolored scales scattered around his diminutive frame who is ageless, wears thick glasses, and is sometimes friendly and sometimes confrontational. He has been bullied (he IS a lavender dragon who wears glasses) much of his life. He’s pretty good at typing, despite being a dragon.
Whenever I find myself unable to get going with writing when I know I need to be getting words on the page, I open a text editor and pretend that it is a chat window. I talk to Draco and I think about the things that he might (or might not) say to me. When he is silent, sometimes I just type obscenities at him. He doesn’t judge. I don’t have to worry about sentences or even real words. And he doesn’t hold it against me later. He just eats the obscenities and adds them to his lexicon. He lives on words. That’s where my words go when I can’t find them to make up the work that I need to be doing. He has eaten them: all of them. If I feed him enough (because maybe I hadn’t been feeling him sufficiently lately so he is stealing them from my mind) or I feed him the words that he is hungry for, the words I’m looking for begin to flow naturally again. When he is argumentative, I argue back. Sometimes I win, sometimes he wins, but in the end, because he is mine, we both win.
Sometimes I talk to him when I’m angry or when I’m trying to puzzle through a plot line or a poem. Not really because I’ve actually hit writer’s block, but because I’ve come to respect his opinion on things. He is, after all, my own voice (I’m creative, not necessarily crazy). Sometimes all it really takes is not thinking about what I’m “supposed to be” thinking about to trigger what I need to have triggered. And I’ve managed to actually put in some writing time.
I always save these conversations, which is why I carry them out in a text editor, so I CAN save them. Later, I can go back over them and maybe use pieces and parts of the conversation as ideas for other work or dialog in something I’m working on.
It isn’t always about using the tools that other people have found work for them. Sometimes it is about embracing your own tools and making them work for you.
So tell me, what is your Writer’s Block’s name? Is he a cat or is she a unicorn? Describe him, make her come to life. Embrace the silly and the unusual and see if maybe you can’t make your writer’s block work for you!

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