This weekend, it was the annual open writing workshops at the writers’ circle I go to, run as part of the local town’s literary festival, and our guest speaker was Jeff Phelps (http://jeffphelps.co.uk). He’s a novelist and a poet, and although poetry is not part of my natural writing inclination, I found that workshop an interesting exercise. (We should step out of our writing comfort zones from time to time.) Indeed, if you’d have told me I’d be writing a poem on Saturday afternoon from the viewpoint of a piece of waste ground on the verge of the A49 I would not have believed you.
However, for both workshops (prose and poetry) we looked at how to draw upon the simplest of subjects in life; not the dramatic life-changing stuff (that you might read in the real life readers’ stories magazines), but the more mundane (yet sometimes still life-changing moments), such as when you lost your favourite marble at school, or when next door’s dog licked your ice-cream off its cone. (That can be so devastating when you’ve spent all day pestering parents for that ice cream in the first place.)
It was a great reminder that there is so much to write about, all around us, and while the big writing world out there may seem to hold the key to our inspiration, what we find closer to home can be just as inspirational (such as that plot of land on the verge of the A49.)
So the next time you get stuck for an idea, look closer to home for inspiration. Mine your memories. Look around your local area. Explore your garden, or window box. The simplest things give the simplest pleasures, and sometimes the greatest inspiration.