It’s amazing to think that we’re surrounded by words constantly. You can’t move a centimetre without being able to put your hand on something that has words on it. The soap you use, the coffee you drink, even the jacket you wear on your way to work is covered in words.
With this in mind, and to honour my home town literary festival Leicester Writes, i spent this week thinking about and searching for interesting words.
Now, most of the words we see everyday are instructions or names but very occasionally you can find a cool piece of vocabulary written on an everyday object. These are the beauties you should look out for because these words, if captured and stored in the right way, can provide inspiration for generating story ideas.
I’m not usually one to be stuck for an idea or five but I must admit that these days my exhausted brain is having to work just a little harder than usual to come up with something good. It being almost the end of the summer term I’m feeling just the teensiest bit frazzled, so I need all the help I can get.
I wanted to try to drum up the same kind of creative thought that the mind mapping activities I did at college encouraged me to do, but I needed to fit this into my daily stuff. I’ve had the chance to chat to other writers through the Leicester Writes Festival this week and the main thing I found we had most in common was lack of quality writing time, that includes planning time to write too, ironically enough.
This week then, I decided it would be cool a idea to put my camera phone to a more creative use and take pictures of interesting words that I come across while doing my usual stuff, you know like working and ..er…working. I don’t mind admitting that this turned out to be more difficult than I thought, but that might just be because creatively, I’m a bit fussy.
Starting at the beginning of the week most of the words I came across were either name brands or the actual names of things. While the idea that some one actually sat down and thought up names like Tefal and Tresemme was a fascinating one, from a writing perspective they were not really very useful. I mean I’m hardly likely to ever write a short story or a novel about characters with these names, although…
Just kidding. I can imagine that I would probably get into trouble for stealing registered trademarks to sprinkle over my fiction.
Once I did find some cool words that I liked, I stuck them through a collage app to see how they would look and to see if they would generate some inspiration.
And this is how it turned out.
These words came from, a dress making pattern, a maths work sheet, a box of biscuits and a teaching resource. It seemed a bit unfair to take the ones from the teaching aids because they’re supposed to be creative but these are things I use and see everyday so technically it’s not cheating.
If nothing else the words combination makes me chuckle and has encouraged me to stretch my vocab a bit when writing. I do, like most writers, have an awful tendency to repeat the same adjectives throughout a story. I then proceed to curse myself during editing for my lack of creativity, I have that in common with my writer friends too.
While my little project hasn’t helped me to drag an inspired story idea from the dark recesses of my brain, searching for ways to improve my creative journey has helped. Well, that and the Writing Festival.
Speaking of which, a few words of advice for anyone who visits a writer’s, publisher’s and editor’s meet and greet. Always avoid the independent publisher who is dressed in a suit. They will not be able to meet you face to face without looking intensely bored, no matter how good or interesting your novel or how well drafted your synopsis – seriously, I honestly thought the one I spoke to was going to yawn in my face, she couldn’t’ve looked more bored if she’d tried – and never rise to the bait when the events organiser harangues you about which way you lean politically. I promise you, it is much easier if you do what my friend Katie did, get a coffee, make a beeline for the person you really want to speak to and then leave. I’ll be following in her footsteps next year, that’s for sure, but for now I’ll keep on writing, playing with words and patiently waiting until I’m rich and famous.
Don’t worry, when that happens the drinks are on me.