When it comes to story ideas, writers are told to write about what we know. We put ourselves into our stories with a voice that can sing on key and carry a tune and a body that weighs 20 pounds less. But sometimes what we know just does not fill the blank page staring back at us. So this month in Nourishing Dreams I plan to go beyond writing what you know to writing about your weird.
Not too long ago I had a writing dry spell and was turning over rocks and peeking into caves looking for ideas. Nothing in my life seemed worth writing about and I couldn’t find inspiration. My writing juices got flowing again when I read a simple line in a newsletter that said write about your weird. The writer discussed finding your inspiration from the world around but also from our “weird”. What did she mean? She wanted you to take a closer look at your life and those around you. Think of your own stories and the weirdness you’ve experienced. How many interesting characters do you come across on a daily basis? I ride public transit to work every day and keep a notebook handy to write down interesting things people say or do. The other day a woman wearing wearing shorts (it was 40-degrees outside) , mid-calf boots, a jacket, and large headphones connected to a portable CD player boarded the train and sat down in front of me. In my notebook I wrote, “A woman from the 1990’s walked through a portal and boarded a train in 2011.” Another day on the street car, I got the idea of a story title just by the name a woman gave her dog. His name was Pony. Last week in my writing group, I wrote down , “A place for your brain to rest” after someone had mentioned it in a story critique. See where I’m going?
While doing research for this article, I Googled “write your weird” and found an article about an artist who is following his weird. I never really thought about it like that but I like the idea.
Joseph Campbell told us to follow our bliss but never said to follow our weird. Maybe it’s about time we did. I’d like to know what your weird is and how you plan on following it. Leave a comment and tell me how just noticing your weird has changed your creativity.