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Inspired: Observation


There are lots of ways to be inspired.

As a writer, I'm often inspired by other writers and I want to know their methods for creativity and motivation.

Writing Inspiration Ideas #2

Continuing this series of inspired author sources, I’m taking notes from Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, by focusing on Observation.

Daniel Handler Inspirational Activity: Don’t overlook the ordinary

Daniel Handler gets most of his ideas, he says, by noticing everyday things and considering them in a different way. He says, “I’ll have some idea or see something or an event will strike me in a certain way. I’ll string it along immediately and think of where it could lead and where it could go. I think of a story.”

As a writer, I’m often in my head or in a story. Because observation is a double-edged sword for a mind like mine, (observe, daydream—pulled out of present to think of story idea..etc) I’d like to take this concept a smidge further and throw in mindfulness.

I’ve been working on being more mindful, and it requires (from me) more effort to stay in the moment, appreciate experiencing something, and observe.

Mindfulness begins with observing one’s present state, surroundings, emotions, company, etc. And taking the time to appreciate the ordinary things that I get to be a part of, before I retreat into my story worlds.

I sometimes have to describe events to myself in my head, while they’re happening, to both appreciate and observe them in a more lasting way. It solidifies the experience in my memory, if I identify how I’m feeling or reacting to even simple events, such as getting oil changed with kids in a full waiting room, or choosing to sit in a restaurant and eat a meal alone, when I could have gotten food to go (knowing I’d be eating alone).

I’m working on observation and mindfulness this week.

I’d love to hear your experiences with this inspirational challenge.

Aften Brook Szymanski is the author of the YA Science Fiction novel Cheat Code. Player GenE competes in a high-stakes virtual reality game where winning grants eternal life but losing means death. Click here to find out more about Cheat Code.

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©2017 by Aften Brook Szymanski.