In the writing class I teach called Finding the Writer Within, I urge writers to pay attention to the world around them. Paying attention is the most direct route to connecting to the writer within.
Focusing on visual images is one way we can spark our creativity and direct our focus. Begin by choosing ten images. Ten images of visual items that you love or that spark your curiosity. Take each image one at a time and describe what you see in detail. Focus on the mood, your impressions and the visual shapes and colors. Or maybe the image sparks a story in you. What story does the image have to tell? Get it down on paper. Keep your pen moving freely across the page. You can choose photos from your camera roll, images from around your home, or from a visit to an art gallery/museum and even images from a favorite magazine.
Here are three of my own photos to get you started and some hints on how I might use them to get words on paper and focus my attention on the page.
This photo was taken on the Shining Sea Bikeway at the overlook of Great Sippewissett marsh only steps from my home where I take daily walks. The swans spend most of their time further down on the pond and I was surprised to see him or her there the afternoon I took this photo. I loved how bright the blue of the sky and water was that day and the way the swans shadow reflected off the water. Open a new tab on your computer or pick up a pen and open to a blank page. What stands out to you the most about this image? For me, it’s the way the white cascades over the deep blue. Or the way the swan is greeting me or how welcome the sun feels.
This photo was taken on the way to Black Beach in West Falmouth just beyond the marsh in June. The entire area recently turned lush green and flowers were in bloom everywhere you looked. This one beach rose stood out to me because it was so close to blooming but also still not quite ready to open. I loved the way it reminded me how things arrive in their own way and time. Open a new tab on your computer or pick up a pen and open to a blank page. What do you find most interesting about this image?
This photo was taken in the dead of winter last year at Black Beach in West Falmouth. What struck me the most about it is how stunningly beautiful the contrast of ice on rock was. And how the rest of the beach was free of snow. The ice capped rocks were from the splash of water from high tide and the temperatures were still so cold the next morning when the tide went out that the ice remained. What struck me the most was how beautiful it looked. Open a new tab on your computer or pick up a pen and open to a blank page. Think about how you might describe this image and write it down. Stay curious to ideas and thoughts that come to mind and get them down on the page.