Monday, November 7, 2011

Playing pretend

I remember when I was a little kid, I loved playing house.

I loved to dress up in aprons - because, of course, all moms always wore aprons. I loved to set up pretend beds and tuck my baby dolls to sleep. I used to plan activities for them and then scold them when they did something wrong. I'd make their meals, help them with their homework and teach them how to play leapfrog.

I had a very vivid imagination.

And today, I took the first step in introducing the gift of an imagination to my little Nater Tot. We went and bought some plastic fruits and vegetables, an eighty-eight cent set of spoons and spatulas, a set of measuring cups and a bunch of plastic bowls. And he pretended to make soup for the next HOUR.

Considering my boy has about a sixteen-second attention span, this was amazing!

I was thinking about it today though - it's not just fifteen-month-olds who need to learn how to use their imaginations. Writers do too. Maybe not in the same way - I'm not sure I'd get a lot of inspiration from stirring a giant purple plastic eggplant and what looks like a yellow orange around in a bowl. :) Instead, writers have to learn how to "force" their imagination and inspiration - deadlines don't get made by just writing when you feel like it, sad to say.

So, if your well is running a little dry, try out a few of my ideas to get your imagination and inspiration back up and running!

* Read a book you've never read before.

* Read a book you've read before and love and try to figure out why it means so much to you.

* Create a winter wreath (sometimes doing something creative in a different way can get the writing juices flowing!).

* Learn a new card game.

* Check Facebook. (Ok, I can hear all of you now: "WHAT??!!" Just do it. Those status updates will definitely provoke some sort of story idea! Another new favorite - Pinterest. Need setting ideas? Check out the houses/rooms on there. Just be sure to give yourself a time limit or you may never get to your writing.)

* Go for a walk or do a workout. Brains need blood flow and oxygen. Plus, you might make a little progress on counteracting that "writer's booty" that is a matched set to your couch cushion.

* See how you can dress up an ordinary chocolate chip cookie recipe.

* Try changing your location from where you usually write. Do you write at a desk? Move to the kitchen table. Inside? Head outside for a little bit. At night? Try writing in the mornings (assuming you aren't operating off a nap schedule.)

Now, stop reading this and get to cultivating that inspiration!! And come back and let us know how it went!


  1. Great ideas! And Little Miss loves her toy kitchen. She actually has a huge kitchen center my dad built and my aunt painted that I grew up playing with :) So its fun and sentimental! Love it.

  2. Great ideas!! I have been hearing about Pinterest lately and knew nothing about it so I just checked it out and can see where you can totally get a visual for your story!! I have a hard time while writing describing a setting so I usually look through old magazines for pictures but this may be my new source :)