Sometimes, not very often, I want to just sit down and write. There’s no deadline, no story to polish, no workshop script to write. I just want to doodle along and see what comes.

Being Creative in Writing

Other creative writing comes from my Snippets pad that has quick notes, often quite cryptic, of ideas. I have found some excellent ideas come while I’m in the car. I don’t text and only use handsfree in times of absolute need (thank you, mic app on my phone). So I’ve got lists of ideas from previous brainstorms. I canmove into the inertia of being “stuck.”

Being a Writing Detective

What works every time for me and is thoroughly enjoyable is being a writing detective.  I allow myself to be curious, inquisitive, maybe downright nosy. I watch people in everyday activities—at CVS, in the doctor’s office, at the mall, restaurants, at a party. Listening to the tone, pace and inflection in conversation, I can envision a mood of a writing scene. Strident, soft, menacing? What facial expressions go with the tone? Scowls- eyebrows drawn together, lips pressed tight, Laughter- head back, eyes wide open or scrunched shut? Hands covering a mouth or slapping knees each show the mood of a character.


Visual Clues for Creative Characters

Watching mannerisms helps create clues about characters. Men with beards tend to stroke or tug at them. Why is that? Self- comfort? Realizing they forgot to trim?

Young women with longer than shoulder length hair tend to do this little swing thing so their tresses lift and slide around to their back. But then they dip their head so it falls forward again. Why is that? Can it become a character’s signature habit when nervous? A variation on this is the finger lift of the side-parted hair and fling back.

Young children jiggle and bounce on toes and can sit in a gentle collapse to the floor AND ( more fascinating to me ) spring up without any assistance.

Jumpstart Your Brain

I think this writing detective activity provides a creative jumpstart for brain action too. When I’m not really looking for anything that’s when the aha’s come. I carry my Snippets notepad and write down words, phrases, or conversations that attract my attention. It’s like putting money in a bank account ( or whatever is the best investment these days). It will be there to draw on when allowing inspiration to come.

Try it. Don’t worry, strangers won’t know you’re watching them and your friends will get used to it. They may even start to tell you quirky or funny things they heard.

What might these scenes inspire you to write?