Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Inspiration from the world around you

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent a beautiful weekend in lovely Coshocton, OH attending the Write-on Writers Conference. Beginning today, I'll share a few things I learned at the conference along with tips and excerpts from my own workshop.

I attended a workshop about finding inspiration in the world around you. People always ask me what inspires me or how I find inspiration. For me, that is the easiest, and most enjoyable, part of writing. Most writers are inspired by things the rest of the world doesn't even notice. I believe that's one of the things that make writers such unique individuals.

The workshop touched on several exercises writers can do to find inspiration around them. These exercises aren't just for writers who dream of publication, but can be used by bloggers or in your daily journaling. (I have noticed that all too often my journals turn into a place to gripe and complain about whoever wronged me that week. Since this is not the outcome I desire in personal journaling, it helps to have an exercise to prompt positive meditation--for lack of a better word--and not focus on the rotten things that happened to me.)

The first exercise was to find inspiration in who you are. I always say, write what you know because you know more than you think. This exercise proves that you are an individual and your writing will be too. What are your personality traits? Name as many as you can without sanitizing them for the world.

Exercise=Write a recipe for your personality.

What are your strengths? Write what you can accomplish by utilizing your greatest strength.

What are your weaknesses? Write what you could accomplish if you were not hindered by this weakness.

I received a newsletter from Debbie Macomber this week about her new book, Twenty Wishes. In the book, four women decide to make a list of twenty things they always wanted to do but never have. What a fun premise for a book, and what a fun exercise to try yourself.

What does your list reveal about you? How can you use what you learn in your writing? Try it and see if you discover something you didn't realize before.

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