My goal is to start writing again and to keep me on track I’ve developed a list of daily writing tasks that I’ve been following pretty religiously. Although hard to call it a task because it’s more fun than work, one of those steps is to write short pieces of creative writing fiction for a writer’s blog called Extreme Writing.
Creative writing describes all of the writing that doesn’t fit in the category of articles, non-fiction, and textbooks. You get to break the rules in creative writing and come up with poems, short stories, or long novels. Break the rules. One has so many rules to follow in every day life that creative writing is like the wild west where I get to be in charge. If I want to say “off with their heads”, I can do so, and if I want to do it without writing a complete sentence because that’s what makes sense for the piece, then – ta da – I can.
Those pieces can take form in a number of ways but, for me, they usually start with just a snippet of an image in my head. Maybe it’s a picture of a person I’ve made up, or a glimpse of a park I saw earlier in the day, or even the result of something on a magazine cover sitting nearby. As I’ve mentioned, I work outside on my patio and so when I need to come up with a new idea, I just sit back, glance around, and listen. A tree may capture my attention and I wonder what life is roaming along it’s scraggly branches. Maybe I could write about that pigeon sitting on top of the neighbor’s house. My mind will just start to wander (that’s easy enough) and little dots of an idea start to form.
Eventually, one of those little snippets sticks and starts to bloom into more than just a thought or two. That’s when I start jotting down what’s running through my head. I try to let the words just flow, even if the only thing coming to mind is the word “um” or a question about how the idea might work.
It was time to do another Extreme Writing piece last night, and here are the thoughts I produced around a creative writing idea:
Two angels sitting on a cloud, talking about their assignments. Their charges. Are they griping about their work? Would angels do that or must they be selfless? What if they weren’t. Or, are they two angels on earth, sitting on a park bench and they recognize that each is an angel. “I take breaks in this park to remember what I was”, says one. “I take breaks in this park to wish for what I could be”, says the other. They don’t hit it off and the one who appears so angelic realize that the other who seems too normal is her own assigned angel. The one that is to help her be the best angel she could be. But why? Why does an angel who seems angelic need an angel? Because not all of their charges will be perfect and she needs to learn to see the good in those who aren’t? How does he teach her the lesson? “Pride goeth before a fall, you know. And it’s a doozy.” “Just remember, Sarah, pride goeth before a fall, you know. And from where we lie it’s a doozy.”
With those debates going on in my head, I started crafting the piece. You can see the end result at Extreme Writing – Spread Angel Wings.
Coming up with ideas is probably one of the harder challenges a writer faces, especially if they feel pressured to meet a deadline. My deadlines are self imposed, at the moment, so I don’t have to deal with that particular stress, but it’s still difficult to just randomly come up with a writing topic. I’d be interested to see how others develop their thoughts. Let me know how you come up with your own ideas in the comment box below.