On the Hunt: A Safari for Writers

10 Ways to Gain a Continued Sense of Inspiration


It's all a hunt, a search for the words to say. Writing is a journey, a safari of the imagination. You have to go somewhere. And if you don’t start going somewhere, you never will.
If you’re a writer somewhat like me, you know how hard it is to know what to write. Sometimes you just need to take a break from your current project to write something different for a change! But looking for inspiration in the everyday ordinary can be hard. It’s like taking a safari in the wild of your imagination and not knowing where to turn. Are you struggling with this? Are you trying to be consistent, squeezing out a new blog post on the spur of the moment, not knowing what to write week by week? You can fix that by gaining open eyes to see the world as a whole potential of inspiration. If ya need help, this here blog post is here to show you how to gather ideas for your writer-notebook.

Start the journey today. And when you don’t know where to turn, look at this list of ideas and then go make your own. Boot up the truck, start up the gas, and get your favorite Official Writing Survival Kit ready because it’s going to be a wild ride!

The Official Writing Survival Kit

1.)  Binoculars. So to speak. Binoculars for traveling those rutty roads of your imagination, bumping up and down and seeing afar into the distance. You need open eyes, basically.  Look around you for ideas. Trust me, there’s a lot. What is in your room? What's in your kitchen? Could you write a story with the perspective of that banana? Could you write about how happy your room makes you? I find inspiration from a lot of things. Candles, soaps, perfumes...Bath and body works scents are great for book titles, by the way.


2.) Time Travel. I know, regular African adventure safaris don’t have time travel, but this is the imagination! Think back in time, what historical period would you return to if you could? Write a story about it. Or, look back at your past works - old stories, journals, notebooks, or embarrassing blog posts. Who knows how embarrassing they are but they can always spark a new story or a new idea! You could rewrite it with a new twist, a new perspective. Or you might think, “Seriously I can do way better than this now!” and be inspired to write the best piece you can. Perhaps all that will happen is you will feel proud of yourself for how far you have come. And that’s inspiration all in itself.


3.) Open Ears. You don't even have to be actively brainstorming for this one. As you go about your daily life, start gleaning from sermons, chapel notes, what your teachers say in class, something your mom said, anything. Whenever I hear a prominent phrase pop out of someone else’s mouth, I automatically think “I can use this for a blog post!’ then I grab my iPad or notebook or hand or whatever I can write on to store my idea. You never know when you might forget! You also can get ideas from movies, podcasts, or Adventures in Odyssey! (I have before.) Just always listen. Always have open ears. And don’t plagiarize.


4.) Camera.  These are the best thing ever.  On any safari these things are needed. Go out and take some pictures. Look at pictures for inspiration - the ones you took or some online from Pinterest, Pixabay, Unsplash, etc. Stare at it for just a moment, and go sit down and write about it. If you’re writing historical fiction, you’ve probably never been exactly to the setting you’re writing about. If you’re writing fantasy, you might find a picture that inspires what your world looks like. If you’re writing nonfiction, maybe you’ll happen upon a picture of a wispy mist that reminds you of the verse James 4:14 and you write a blog post about it. Search up a picture and jump yourself into the moment.


5.) Eavesdropping. You can get ideas from real people. What they look like, what they say, etc. Once my old Creative Writing teacher made us walk around and eavesdrop some random people’s conversation. (We looked weird carrying around our notebooks and pencils, but hey. We’re writers. Get over it.) We would secretly scratch it down and then make up the backstory behind it! (For example: “I just got a haircut.” “I noticed!” could turn into a really cool story about a stalker or something.)


You can even sit outside and people watch. This works really great if you don’t actually know them but I have heard a lot of great authors base their characters off of real people they know. So go out and try it… just maybe not on me. *looks around suspiciously*


6.) Map. All safari people have these. Like you! You need this to go places. And you should. Go somewhere and move your feet. Sometimes a change of environment helps open your eyes in a way your boring computer didn’t before. Hop in the car and go to Panera Bread, swing in a hammock, climb to the top of a tree, or explore the crevices of the basement. Make sure it’s quiet so you can focus. Then feel free to pull out your notebook and start jotting down whatever you see.


7.) Magnifying glass. You use these to zoom in on stuff. Magnifying glasses are awesome, and no not just because they remind me of Sherlock Holmes! Because they are actually helpful. They have one in my library sitting beside a huge dictionary for tiny words. It’s impossible to read anything without that magnifying glass. Whoever put that there, may your soul truly be blessed.

Once I watched a Hardy Boys episode where they zoom in a picture to find out who is poaching the animals on their African adventure.
Do that.
Zoom in to find inspiration. Zoom into your life! Think about just one past experience and write about that. You could make it fictional and embellish it. You could add in a life lesson you learned. It could be funny, it could be sad. It could be dramatic and slowed-down. It could be about your backyard in summer dusk, or about that time you went on the family vacation and forgot your passport. Whatever it is, use details, use all five senses.. And use your imagination of course.

8.) Headphones. Listen to dramatic music and go for an inspiration walk. Or run if you want to get in shape. Perhaps you will soar into the music, dancing happily along the path, breathing in the flowers and thinking “I just have to write about this.” Who knows, maybe you will. Maybe the one soundtrack from that movie will get you in the mood for writing. It happens a lot for me.


9.) A Book. Books are my favorite. And on this journey you can take as many books as you want. You don’t have to pack light on this trip! Look at your bookshelf and choose your favorite ones to bring along on your  brainstorming safari. The covers intrigue you as you run your tender fingers along the creases of the soft leather fabric. But don’t just look at the covers, look inside the books. Sink yourself into the luscious pages. Read the words plastered across the creamy background. Pick out your favorite quotes and start dreaming about what you can come up with!  What do you like about your favorite books? Scribble down your top ten, then take an idea and make it your own.


10.) Your Own Self. Write about how you feel at this very moment. Right now I am hungry. Sometimes I write about how I want to be feeling. Sometimes I write about what I want to be doing. If you want to zipline down the Grand Canyon - you can! Through the eyes of a character of course. If you want to discover a magical island that only functions on music being played, then make it up. If you want to ride on the back of a zebra and soar off into the wilderness, be my guest. The imagination can do amazing things.


All of these things are essential in starting your safari: planning out your next piece, whether it be a short story, poem, article, or book. They might not all work for you on your Hunt for the Words, but you can always make your own survival list. One that prepares you for writing. I like to have a brainstorming session after my devotions on Saturday mornings, sipping coffee, scribbling in my notebook, and planning the day. It gets me prepared to write, at least somewhat. It really helps me. You should try it.


Yes, having a good idea always helps things along. But don’t feel you have to have a whole outline or a whole planned-out story right now. All you have to have is an idea, a photo, a feeling, a body, a computer, a notebook, a room, a bookshelf, a phrase, an image in mind, or anything else that might spark a story idea.

The Real Actual Beverly Lewis (whom I have personally met .. in person.. Did I tell you I met her?) got the idea for her novel “The Photograph” more than a decade before she actually wrote it. All she had in her head all those years was a simple image: an Amish girl’s photograph tucked into a Little Women book on a train. That’s all she had and all she needed. And when she finally started writing it years later, that little spark of a story idea turned into an amazing novel. (She signed it for me. Did I tell you I met her? Oh, yeah. Sorry.)
What she did was awesome. You can do this too.


Except don’t wait. All you have to have is one finger to poke out the words. Just do it. Start the safari today.
Just start writing.


If you made it to the end of this blog post, you are ready to proceed upon the path of writing! I hope these tips helped you. Thanks for reading. Now let’s go out and start that safari! (I’ve always wanted to go on a real African adventure safari, but I guess the imagination will have to suffice.)


See you there!

2 comments:

  1. This is amazing Karissa!! I can't wait to try these tips and look forward to your next article:D
    -C.g.K

    ReplyDelete