Creative writing, like any exercise or craft, requires practice and inspiration. Travel, whether local or global, holds the ability to shift creative perspective when you search for seeds of imagination. It doesn’t require exotic miles to achieve. Simply stepping out into autumn’s sensual beauty, wherever you live, is a perfect springboard for building fluency, imagery, and reach in writing.
Have a goal, but accept what your unconscious mind offers
Writing practice can lead to a full and publishable piece, whether poem, article, narrative, song, or other form. Just as often, it is a scaffold that leads up to richer and more effective capacities. Give your creative mind specific permission to explore autumn’s riches on any routine outing this fall.
The creative mind is less willing to be “cubby-holed,” and it skips and leaps in a manner that the poet Robert Bly described as “leaping poetry,” where there are leaps between the known and the unknown. The sensual beauty of autumn is a perfect stimulus for creative leaping.
Expand your senses
Of the five senses, we are very dependent on our visual sense. It’s important, but a writer can surprise the reader and expand imagery simply by deliberately leaping to another sense or adapting a synesthesia (combination or integration) of the senses. For example, you can describe that the wind is blowing because you see leaves moving; that’s operating with the usual dependence on visual perceptions. Or, you can write about the bite and slice of the wind or its salty breath rising to an eerie howl. Your eyes see the movement, but your other senses work to expand your vision.
Begin where you are and explore outwards
It’s autumn, and that’s enough. Simply begin there. If you have activities planned for a beautiful autumn day, do that. Just let your creative mind know that it’s in the search and discover mode.
For example, go ahead and do your shopping. But, as you walk around the farmer’s market doing your routine marketing and enjoying the visual sight of autumn’s harvest of colorful pumpkins, gourds, apples, and dried cornstalks, pause and expand your senses. Breathe in the scents, reach down and touch the produce, listen to the sounds around you.
Look for the trigger elements
As you expand your senses, be cognizant that your unconscious mind, especially your memory, is easily prompted by trigger stimuli that open and drive toward outward leaping.
For example, if you let your unconscious mind take leadership, the smell of dried cornstalks might remind you of the time you found your grandmother’s picture in a dusty attic, wrapped in a piece of silk with dried flower petals. Or the smell of ripe apples might remind you of a childhood picnic or the time you burnt your tongue on hot apple pie.
Let those sensations rise and their connected leaps deepen. Images and phrases will swim through your mind and begin a creative journey that prompts you to reflect on the insights surrounding those memories, your present sensations, the environment around you, and the connection of your thoughts and insights to the larger world.
Jot down just a few phrases
As your thoughts flow, stop the chore or outing just long enough to jot down a few phrases. This isn’t a directed outline or an introductory paragraph. It’s just a free write of words, phrases, or images of the moment, whatever you’re discovering from the sensory leaps of your autumn outing.
The words and images might not make immediate sense as they are in the language and logic of your creative mind, not your logical mind. It’s akin to the language of dreams, so there can be wild leaps, seemingly disconnected, that are embedded in the phrases and images. Just write and keep.
Your personal writer’s prompt
That’s it. You’ve done it. While enjoying the sensual beauty of autumn, within the normal flow of your life, but with the added cognizance that you’re cultivating your imaginative mind, you have created a personal writer’s prompt.
Those phrases can do more for you than an entire book on creative writing. They are seeds. When you’re ready to write next time, pull them out. Let the seeds of those words fall onto the fertile memory you have of that autumn moment, let them soak up the imaginative juices of reflections that have occurred since you wrote them down, and then simply give them room to grow. Start writing.
Your own personal writing prompts are fertile seeds with incredible power and reach. Already, your autumn day is rippling across the page.
To keep current on similar articles, click the free, “subscribe to get instant updates” link at the top of this article.