Curiosity Makes Writers

Curiosity Makes Writers | Kate Johnston | Writing Coach | Editor

Curiosity is a live wire. Touch it, and sparks fly. Leave it alone, and you forget it’s there. Trust me, writers want the sparks to fly. Pay attention to what arouses your curiosity, explore the possibilities, wonder and ask questions.

This is how writers begin. This is how they find story ideas, which by the way are always around you and within you.

ACTION & OBSERVATION

We gather story ideas through taking action and making observations because inspiration is a natural part of our world.  All you have to do is step outside and make a connection to something. Ditch the earbuds and bring a notebook and pen. Anything that catches your attention tells you that there’s something meaningful there. You don’t have to know what that meaning is. Just jot down what you observed, what made you curious, and keep going.

The above is something you can do every single day and there is no suitable excuse to not do it. If the weather or illness prevents you from getting outside, then do your exploring inside. Just sit in a favorite room and pick an object. Without touching it, ask yourself what it smells like, where it came from, who does it belong to, was it a gift and do you like it or hate it? Why is the object important to you or to someone else? Allow your mind to drift into attaching a character or history or setting or conflict to it.

FILLING YOUR CREATIVE WELL

Have you ever tried an activity just to see what it was like? You didn’t know if you’d be any good at it, didn’t know if you’d have fun, didn’t know if it would be worth your while—you just tried it for the heck of it.

That was you being curious.

Did you do anything with it from there?

Story ideas grow when we nurture our curiosity. It’s all well and good to be curious about something, but how far are you willing to stretch it? And how do you apply it to your creative life?

CHALLENGE YOURSELF:

Step 1. Pick 30 different activities from the list provided (or use your own ideas).

Step 2. Engage in each activity you picked at least once over the course of 90 days.

Step 3. Journal your experience with the activity and consider the following questions:

  • How did you feel before you began activity?
  • What benefit do you hope to gain from performing activity?
  • Is this a brand-new activity to you, or have you performed this in the past?
  • If in the past, why didn’t you keep up with it?
  • In what ways do you think you could use this specific activity to improve your creative impulses?
  • Can you write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) based on your experience?

Step 4. Spend some time with your writing project every day over the 90-day period for a minimum of fifteen minutes.

Step 5. After each writing session, reflect in your journal how things are going for your creative self. What are you noticing?

IDEAS FOR FILLING YOUR CREATIVE WELL

Skydiving

Hot air balloon ride

Parasailing

Learn to fly a plane

Scuba diving

Fishing

Whale watching

Boating (sailing/kayaking/canoeing/speed boating)

Swimming

Cliff diving

Mountain climbing

Hiking

Rock climbing

Nature walks

Spelunking

Traveling

Backpacking

Walking

Running

Triathalon

Playing a sport

Learning a sport

Coaching a sport

Beachcombing

Construction projects

Yardwork/Landscaping

Gardening

Volunteering

Painting

Sculpting

Drawing

Cartooning

Writing

Poetry

Theater

Music

Singing/Chorus

Band

Playing an instrument

Dancing

Photography

Gymnastics

Reading

Learning a new language

Working with animals

Working with children

Working with the elderly

Community service

Design

Stock market/Financial

Politics

Religion

Museums/Historical sites

Picnicking

Apple picking

Decorating your house for the season or a special occasion

Cleaning your garage/basement/attic

Organizing photos/recipes/old papers

Planting a tree

Helping a neighbor

Neighborhood Watch

Picking up litter in your town

Fundraising

Sightseeing

Going to the movies

Other

Keep that creative spark alive and read on to help you get started with your writing!

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