Looking Out the Window: Try an observation poem, based on what you see out your window. Adapt this as needed, writing down things you see out the window on a car trip or just on a drive around town. If you’d like, substitute plane or bus or the window of your house or apartment or office. For those of you who like more rules: try to be detailed. Not just “corn” but “stalks of corn, stretching toward the Virginia sky.” Make your first words some variation on: “Looking out my car window, I see:”
Music: So in my first post I mentioned that when I want to access feelings, I can conjure them up when I play songs from certain times of my life. Write down three of your summer jams. Option: Write a short music review of your summer jams. Why do you like them? What do they remind you of?
And while we’re talking music: Write your own summer jam! It can be a story-telling song. It can be short. It can be long. You can just come up with a catchy chorus. If you don’t like open-ended ideas and want more direction: how about a mid-summer blues, to the tune of Muddy Waters’ Mannish Boy.
Object game: Here’s one I used with my creative writing students at Boston University. Gather a few objects from around your house. You can include things like plants, a hairbrush, a hat, a bar of soap, etc. Then write down two lists for each object. List one is objective words that describe the object: things everyone can agree on. It’s green. It’s plastic. It has an odor. List two is subjective words that come from inside you. It’s the color of spring. It smells like possibility. Each type of description has its place in writing. Which type do you like best?
Person, place AND thing: Sometimes it’s hard to describe what things look like. So now let’s try a variation on the object game, above. Pick a person, place, AND thing and try to describe them, one at a time. You don’t need to use complete sentences if you don’t want to. Just get down thoughts and images and tangible details. If you’d like, you can draw a picture as well.
Characters: And for those of you who are following up with some story writing: Let’s look at some of the other characters in your story. Every character wants something. Write down what each character wants. Also, not that you need my permission for this: keep writing that story. Take it as far as you want to go!