Utilize your ideas for more than one piece of writing.
While driving along a country road yesterday I couldn’t help but notice the hills before me. They were shrouded in clouds just low enough for the hill tops to peak through. The white clouds also accentuated the valleys that normally wouldn’t be so obvious when driving along. Immediately words sprung to mind that I could use in a larger piece of writing I’m working on. Unable to stop right then without causing a problem to the traffic flow, I played with ideas in my mind until I reached a small town further along the road. There I was able to capture the description.
Using ideas in different ways
The piece of work I intend inserting the image into, after I’ve worked on it a little, is a children’s historical novel set in the 1880s, when my town was just beginning to grow. When I stopped the car yesterday, I quickly recorded the image as like this:
Clouds hung low over the hill, soft darkening clouds, creeping into valleys, places not yet explored.
It took only a few seconds to write, and then I was on my way with the image safely secured in my notebook.
The picture of the hills and clouds was still making its presence felt in my mind last night, so I attempted to write a poem, perhaps a haiku. Wondering where to start, I wrote down four key words, hills, clouds, valleys and mystery as my imagination had taken a journey into the valleys accentuated by the clouds.
Haiku are difficult to write, having to conform to the pattern of 17 syllables in three lines, 5 in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third line. My first attempts were pretty average, the sort of thing I’d expect my students at school to produce.
More poetic ideas came to mind as the late night minutes started slipping into more than an hour. The initial idea of the valleys being unexplored probably no longer applies, but I liked the thought of the valleys having secrets. After much experimentation to get the lines fitting the correct number of syllables, I eventually settled on:
Protect mysterious valleys
With secretive clouds.
Ideas need time to mature
Like wine and cheese, ideas need time to mature before they’re at their best. Neither the short passage for my 1880s novel nor my unpolished haiku is yet written the way I’d like them to be. They still need working on.
But, in the process of writing last night, I decided to share this simple writing process with you. When you get an idea that appeals to you, use it in as many ways as possible. Experiment, and search for ways to use words to get different effects. This takes you out of your comfort zone and improves your writing.
I’ve managed to get three pieces of writing from one image – a small description in a story, a short poem and this article. Why not see how you can expand your next idea, writing it in different ways. You may discover the original piece of writing is not the best way to present your idea. For me, I prefer my short passage in the novel. But I had fun writing the haiku and am glad I wrote it.