I received a little treat in the post today.
It’s only a few days until my birthday, I assumed it was a birthday card so I nearly left it on the side. But I realised it was quite a large envelope, not made of paper but of card and it was bulging. At first I thought there must be a wad of money in it but then I thought don’t be silly so I flipped it over and it had a tiny sticker with Writing Maps printed on it – I proceeded to open it immediately. I was very excited (perhaps I should have saved it for my birthday?) to pull out all the goodies.
Writing Maps are illustrated maps that fold out with beautiful images and prompts, each map is a different theme from Characters to Places to Food all written by Shaun Levin. Writing Maps are designed to inspire you and to encourage you to think a little bit differently about everyday situations and objects that you may not have considered before. I particularly like the focus on details. When I’m writing I often gloss over them, perhaps I hardly include any, I just try and get the ideas down. But reading these maps just illustrates the importance of them. How much something as simple as an object in a character’s pocket can reveal and the questions that can arise.
I actually had to go out and buy another too, the Character Map on the left. I’ll be using all of these maps to help me work through some ideas and plots over the next few weeks.
At present I’m trying to push myself as a writer. Rather than settle on that initial idea I want to push it and bend it and twist it and stretch it. I want to see how far I can go with it. I think sometimes I fall short, an idea will pop into my head whilst I’m on the bus or talking to someone and I’ll think – that’s great – I’ll note it down and assume that’s it! another story I can write. But recently I’ve realised that each idea has potential, it’s an acorn, and you have to discover that potential, to seek it out, to get inside it, to learn about it and understand it. To find all the nooks and crannies that are tucked away within in it. I think these Maps will help me to get inside my characters and my ideas and my plots, to grow them into fully fledged oak trees rather than leave it as an acorn sat in my palm.
What helps you keep writing? Or push through that writer’s block?