Welp, two weeks ago, I was busy moving house - so busy, apparently, that I completely spaced on posting. Sorry about that. And now I don't even have an original post for you, because even though I'm finally (more or less) unpacked, I'm about to go camping. Tomorrow. Sooo here instead is a post from a few years back about inspiration. Enjoy!
I’m well-practiced at driving long distances. I’ve gone back and forth across country (alone) several times, and I’ve made the drive between Northern and Southern California a dozen times or more, driving and as a passenger. I cope through methods like coffee drinking, good music, podcasts, and creative corn nut consumption, to name a few.
But on the most recent drive, I found that I was missing the most important coping skill of all. You see, my imagination was malfunctioning.
It was very perplexing. When I tried to consider the stories I had in progress, my mind seemed only able to move within the bounds of existing scenes and plotlines. I couldn't even garner interest in my silly sci-fi/fantasy stories that I never intend to write down. It was hours and hours of pure torture. How do non-writers survive such long periods of boredom?
Near the end of the drive, steel-gray clouds drifting over butter-yellow hills caught my fancy and re-fired my imagination. But that wasn't until hour seven of eight. My imagination seems to be back to normal now, but I do not want to tolerate this condition again on the eight hours back to San Diego.
And so, in this time of stuffing our bodies full of food, I decided to look up and share ways that we might feed our imagination. Not literally - that imagining food diet sounds kind of silly to me.
What works for inspiration for me? Beautiful images, unusual places, and nature walks. I listed some of my favorite triggers for stories in this post. Susan just blogged about the power of the what-if.
To further fuel your imagination, here are some lovely images from Wikimedia Commons' Picture of the Year for 2011.
This is my favorite, because it makes me think of a world frozen over:
And here are some quotes about enhancing your imagination:
One simple way of increasing your creativity is to use the law of opposites . When you come up with an idea of what to write, of how to play a character, or of what to paint on that canvas… STOP……ask yourself what is the opposite of that idea; now create something about that.From W. I. B. Beveridge, quoted at Brainpickings.org
Many people will not tolerate a state of doubt, either because they will not endure the mental discomfort of it or because they regard it as evidence of inferiority.And from Suzanna Stinnet:
To be genuinely thoughtful, we must be willing to sustain and protract that state of doubt which is the stimulus to thorough enquiry, so as not to accept an idea or make a positive assertion of a belief, until justifying reasons have been found.
Notice in Categories: Start by deciding what it is you want to notice today. Once I did this exercise by actively looking at noses. People's noses, dog's noses, noses on billboards and beaks on birds. Crowdwatching while only noticing noses is absolutely hysterical. You bring your focus to one thing and it compounds. You begin to notice many aspects, and suddenly you can't see anything but noses, noses, noses!! The laughter this induced is another great component to brain health, inducing circulation and releasing many natural chemicals related to brain stimulation. Now, while you are noticing and observing these noses, tell yourself about them. Engage the storytelling part of your brain by actively using descriptors. See the details. Make up new words to tell yourself about the noses everywhere in your environment.
And here are some of my favorite pictures from Wikimedia Commons' 2014 Picture of the Year contest!