FIU@Home: Create writing inspiration

Home is the first learning laboratory. This series brings opportunities to discover, explore and create to life-long learners everywhere. Through books, experiments, adventures and digital journeys, FIU@Home engages the whole family with fun, curated educational experiences. Don’t forget to share on social media and tag @FIUCASE.

crumbled paper on chalkboard

Finding inspiration is different for everyone. Although it can be challenging to spark creativity, new ideas can happen anywhere and at any time. We just need to be open to the process. Need help getting started? Writers across history have turned to different strategies to get ideas flowing.

“For me, the best time to write is first thing in the morning before the busyness of the day. But sometimes, my mind is restless even first thing in the morning, so on those days, I will take a few minutes to meditate or to do three pages of freewriting in Morning Pages style,” said FIU English Department Associate Chair Michael Creeden.

Henry David Thoreau spent two years on land owned by friend and famed author Ralph Waldo Emerson to write his environmentally-focused reflection “Walden.” While that extreme dedication had successful results, efforts can be much simpler.

Go on a walk, visit a community park or tour a new-to-you attraction in your own city – just get out of the house to clear your head. Whether or not you can visit in person, virtually explore South Florida locations through the Department of Earth and Environment’s curated Google map for nature based inspiration.

Novelists C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were part of a book club called “The Inklings” with other literary enthusiasts, which created opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas that grew into much discussed tales of their own. 

Clubs are only one way to encourage interactions. FaceTime with a childhood friend. Ask for feedback in an online community forum. Tweet your favorite author. Although we might be busy or reluctant to send that message these days, everyone is just a text or call away. For the FIU community, the Writing Center is available on both campuses or through online chat to help you work through an idea.

Agatha Christy was once investigated by British Intelligence for writing with presumed secondhand information from friends that were thought to be spies. When interrogated about the character Major Bletchley in her wartime novel “N or M,” she explained a late train caused hours of delays in Bletchley Park, England. She named an undesirable character after her ordeal.

Sometimes you don’t have to look for exciting events. The answer may be right in front of you. It’s how you capture and express experiences through your unique perspective that makes it your story. Watch one of FIU’s own authors, John Dufresne, share his writing tips from the TEDxFIU stage for that boost you need to get your next big break.

Sometimes, as much as we try, inspiration just may not strike. But that’s always OK because “…after all, tomorrow is another day,” as Margaret Mitchell reminds us in the last line of “Gone with the Wind.”

Thoughts occur quite quickly, so capture them in real-time. Whatever this means to you: keeping a journal, filling up the Notes app on your phone or taking video/voice recordings of your ideas. Log them, even if you’re not too crazy about it. Review later and decide if there’s anything worth keeping. 

Still want help to incubate ideas? Writers of all ages looking for a guided experiences can do so through the College of Arts, Sciences & Education’s Education Outreach programs like Journal Earth and Code Breakers.

Within every person there is a story waiting to be told. From non-fiction narrative to fictional escape, get inspired to pen a tale no one else can. Follow FIU@Home for more story ideas.

Sofia Colignon contributed to this article.