"My own business bores me to death; I prefer other people's" – Oscar Wilde
The creation of a story should come naturally to a creative person, should it not?
As we all know, this is not always the case. Many writers will experience a period of ‘writer’s block’ throughout their career, in which the words they choose and the stories they try to tell will be slow and boring, or non-existant. Luckily I have never hit this wall (with the exception of writing an academic essay at 2 o’clock in the morning and my caffeine hasn’t kicked in!) and I attribute this to my being a young writer, and I haven’t yet exhausted my best stories, nor even created my best characters.
I am still having new and exciting experiences every day, many of which could be inspiration for a story. I work on reception at a busy city centre hotel; and the sights I have seen, the people I have spoken to and the things I have heard are beyond your wildest imagination. While the average guest is absolutely lovely…a hotel is a place of constant scandalous activity. But I am sure there will be more on that to follow…
As a writer, I do have my ‘writer’s hat’ on a lot of the time when I’m alone. When I walk through town, for example, I look around at people, at buildings, at the scenes in front of me. A person I’m standing behind in Tesco might be the embodiment of a character I have been sketching in my mind for some time, the square I’m walking through might be the perfect setting for a scene I have been contemplating. I am a very perceptive and visual person, and I like to bring that into my writing.
As part of my degree I studied creative writing. This is something which I would highly recommend to anybody wanting to start out in creative writing, as it will give you focus and confidence. Before this module, I knew I loved writing, but I didn’t have the skills to channel my thoughts properly. I would find it impossible to begin a story, as I had so many ideas and didn’t want to confine myself to just one of them. It is great to have loads of ideas, but it can actually be a hindrance if they don’t all fit together. This can be just as frustrating as ‘writer’s block’.
To start off with, you should look in simple places for story inspiration. Use triggers, like an advertisement, a piece of art, a photo. Go somewhere and close your eyes, then write down everything. The sounds you can hear, which are the loudest? The atmosphere, is it warm, is it still, or is there a breeze? What smells are there, are they natural or manufactured, pleasant or intolerable, strong or weak? Can you touch anything, if so what does it feel like, is it harsh or is it soft, what textures is it, smooth? bumpy? rough? hairy? prickly? Once you have written down all you can sense, open you eyes and allow the visuals to pour in, try to write them down in the order that you see them; colours, shapes and patterns. From your list, write a short piece of descriptive writing.
There are many places to find inspiration for a piece of creative writing, you just have to look.