Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Changing It Up

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I did - I went away for the weekend to spend time with my family and watched movies and read. I was sleeping somewhere different for 3 nights, and I noticed something interesting happen. Every morning when I woke up I reached for my notebook because the last dream of the night was intriguing. I now have several new story ideas, thanks to my dreams. When I told my aunt about this, she suggested that it might have happened because I was in a different place.

Biologically it makes sense to me. The room I slept in was slightly cooler than my room normally, and I sleep better when I'm cold. My sleep would have been deeper and my dreams more colorful. But I wonder about the mere act of changing it up and how it affects writing. Maybe there was something in being separated from my everyday life that inspired creativity. I know I write my best poetry when I'm away from home. So today I want to talk about getting away from it all and using escape to beat writer's block.

Travel is great, probably my favorite way to inspire new ideas for stories. However, it's not terribly practical to leave on a road trip every time the idea well runs dry. But while it helps to physically leave, I think it's more the traveler's mindset that boosts creativity. It's about getting out of your comfort zone and doing something different, and thus seeing the world a different way. I was out driving with a friend (not a road trip) and the sky was lit up by the sunset. I wasn't away from home, per se, but the sunset looked so unusual it drew out my imagination. The clouds started to look like a golden reflection of the mountains, which got me thinking What Ifs. What if the sky always reflected the mountains? What would it have to be made of? What if there was someone up there thinking the mountains were the reflection? What if there was another land up there, reversed, so that people walked on the underside of the clouds?

Okay, that was a bit of a rant. But the point is, I think writers (especially fantasy writers) should allow the alien in. I once heard a published writer say that she loved her work because she could go skydiving and call it research. While I am NEVER going skydiving, I understand her point. Everything is fuel for a writer's mind, even leaving for the weekend and sleeping in a different place. The combination of a cooler room and different experiences during the day made my dreams unusually inspiring. To finish off, I'd like to list a few things you can do to change it up without having to leave home:

Sleep on the couch.
Look through the grass at ant height.
Join a club/take lessons for something unusual, like fencing or candy making.
If you're an adult, visit a toy store. For you.
Explore someplace remote.
Pretend to be someone else for a little while.
Write a short story outside your usual genre.

Pretty general list, but you know what takes you out of your routine. See you next week!

1 comment:

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