So, yesterday was my birthday. I had a fantastic day, spent with my family. We slept in, went to breakfast at a little café down the street, and then went to the aquarium. I got my gift, a hand made card from my son, and a set of books from my wife, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and Steven King’s On Writing. I’m excited about these things.
While we were out at the Aquarium, though, I was reminded of another book on writing I love, the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you have never read it before, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. There is a lot of great advice in there, and the process she describes is great for getting through writers black. Anyway, one of the things she recommends in the book is what she calls an Artist’s Date.
Here’s the basic concept. Once a week, go somewhere, do something, whatever, that’s not related to writing. It’s not housework, or homework, or work work. It’s something fun. Take a walk in the park. Go to the Zoo. Hit the casino. Whatever. What happens is that you let your mind relax, and during this date, something will happen, inspiration will hit, and that thing that problem your having while writing will suddenly have an answer. All while you weren’t even thinking of it.
Sometimes, however, what happens is what happened to me. I discovered a creature at the aquarium that I had never heard of before, never mind see. The sea dragon. I fell in love with this beautiful fish. And the sea horse, too. I learned lots of interesting things about both creatures while there. And you know what? I’m inspired.
I didn’t go there looking for inspiration. I just went to have a good time with my family. And that goal was achieved. But, I also got inspiration as a bonus. Now, I just gotta figure out what the story is that this inspiration is trying to get me to write. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
Probably on some other excursion with my family, when I’m not even thinking of it.