Skip The Spoons

Newsflash: It’s summer. And even writers take vacations. I
recently returned from a jaunt across the country. Road trips are fantastic
ways to revamp the ol’ creative juices, but the creativity doesn’t have to end
when you pull into your driveway at home.

When you travel, be on the lookout for souvenirs that twang
your creativity. No, not magnets or thimbles with state names emblazoned on
them. I’m talking quirky memorabilia that will make you think outside the
box next time you’re stuck in the middle of your WIP.

Here’s an example of one writer’s mementos scored while on holiday…
An expando pirate.
Why did I bring this little gem home? Just imagine a character growing to three times his
size, changing and morphing into something larger than ever. What inspiration
for a character arc! All I need to do is pop this little foam buccaneer into
some water and whammo. I’ll have a foot-tall tangible reminder on my desk to
make my hero grow into the man he ought to be by the end of the story.
Bring something home
that keeps you on track.
A recycled dog treat
bin full of cherries.
Granted, I had to throw out the fruit since it was getting
kind of white and fuzzy, but the container is enough to bring back a memory. An
old lady in a camper pulled alongside my car at a gimmicky gift shop in Montana.
She shoved a half-empty plastic bin of cherries out her rolled-down window,
saying her tummy was full and she hated to throw them away. This gave me all
kinds of plot ideas. What might a swanky salesman in a BMW offer? How about a
pimply faced teenager in a beat-up Geo? Or what if a pony-tailed ex-hippie
pulled up in a Hummer? What might he say? What might he give? The possibilities
are endless.
Bring something home
that inspires you.
Green Mukhwas
I haven’t tried this exotic little treat yet, but I expect these
candy-coated fennel seeds from India will be like nothing I’ve ever before
popped into my mouth. Next time I need an extra zing, like when slogging
through the middle of edits, I intend to open up the pack.
Bring something home
that encourages you.
Well…chocolate…need I say more?
Bring something home
that is chocolate.
So while you’re out and about this summer, be on the lookout
for items to bring home that will inspire your creativity. After all, there’s
only so many spaces on those U.S.A. shaped spoon racks and when it’s full, game over.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. Her latest release, UNDERCURRENT, is available by Risen Books. You can find her at: Writer Off the or on TwitterFacebook, or