Monday, July 2, 2012

Daily Writing - Pictures

In a poetry workshop I took in college, our professor put a painting at the front of the room. She told us to study it for a few moments, and then write about it. This isn't a new trick, but it's an effective one.

I often find the writing that comes from exercises like these surprises me. Ever look back at something you wrote and thought, "Wow, I wrote that?" It's a cool feeling. Random prompts like this allow me to write outside of my comfort zone.

I've always loved photography and wanted to try my hand at it, though I never have. I recently began subscribing to Flickr streams for a regular dose of photographic inspiration. When I'm stuck for an idea, I check my Google Reader and see if any interesting images come up.

Try this. Find an image - a painting in a museum, or a coffee shop, a photograph on a stranger's wall - what's happening in there? What does it look like from the inside, what does it feel like? If there are people in the photo/painting, how did they get there? Where are they going?

Looking for inspiration without leaving the house? Pull out an old photo album, find a photograph. Describe what's happening in the picture. What happened right before that shot was snapped? Right after?

Here is a painting used as a writing prompt in that same workshop:

The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer

Write. Surprise yourself.