Let go on the page, fly free, get it all down, follow the flow. What fun!
However, ultimately, even if it is a personal experience that you are writing about, you’re going to have to do your research. There are so many resources out there on virtually everything. Often, you don’t have to leave your computer desk to gather what you need to flesh out your writing. But then, how boring that can be–spending more time with Mr. Google.
One summer day, when my daughters were young, I thought we should find out whatever we could about, of all things, Sasquatch. We lived in San Francisco, the beautiful big city by the bay. Our chances of encountering a Sasquatch (who prefers deep forested areas far away from humans), were slim. Unless BIG FOOT suddenly craved salty air and the ocean, we weren’t likely to have a personal encounter.
Regardless, for some unrecalled reason, (maybe we had just seen the film Harry and the Hendersons) we began our expedition. We took the BART train to the old San Francisco Public Library on Larkin Street in the Civic Center to research Sasquatch. Arriving at the library, we were faced with volumes and volumes of books, floors, stairs, elevators, the smell of old books…indescribable. In those days, we looked through card catalogues and jotted down Dewey Decimal Numbers, book titles, authors and anything with the words Bigfoot or Yeti or Sasquatch. We gathered and stacked books on a table and leafed through them, finding photos, the stories of personal encounters, descriptions, etc. Afterwards, we knew a little more about Sasquatch and our city library .
The point being, when you are researching, certainly, you can stay home at your computer desk and discover tons of things. However, why not find a way to make whatever you are researching into some sort of expedition. Why not? You don’t have time? We think that, but is it true?
Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist Way, talks about the Artist Date. The purpose is virtually not to have a plan other than enjoyment and an openness to discovery. The outcome is that it gives you a break and refreshes your creativity. It’s best to let Julia explain the Artist Date below.
While my suggestion for an expedition is more intentional, as you do your research, you can engage an Artist Date openness to delight and the spirit of adventure. Remember, you don’t have to do it all in a day–unless you are on a deadline, I encourage bringing fun and leisure into your expedition.
So no writing prompt today. Find time to go on a research expedition for something that you are writing (or an Artist Date, or both).
See what there is to discover!