Today we continue our journey toward the New Year by paying attention to our curiosity.
If you want even more help to support you in planning for the New Year, join me for the Write Now! Mastermind class on December 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM CST (Note the new date). I’ll be offering tools to help you plan and prepare for 2014. If you’re not already a member of the Write Now! Mastermind class, you can sign up here.
Happy writing, Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Creativity is a scavenger hunt. It’s your obligation to pay attention to clues, to the thing that gives you that little tweak. The muses or fairies—they’re trying to get your attention. —Elizabeth Gilbert (Read more here.)
Did you read the quote? According to Gilbert, being creative requires that we pay attention to those inner tweaks, the moments when our curiosity is hooked and we want to follow the line deeper and deeper. Just like Alice followed the White Rabbit down the hole. Remember?
… when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her. … Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. (From Alice in Wonderland)
You’ve been there, right? Like Alice, you’ve seen something new or puzzling, and you must follow your curiosity wherever it goes, no matter the consequences. Recall the last time that happened to you and hold onto that feeling. THAT’S the spark you want to have when you’re starting a new writing project. Curiosity will hook you at the beginning of a project and keep you writing when you’re tired, sick, and not making enough money!
So this week, before you start dreaming up new stuff to work on, you’re going to go on a scavenger hunt of sorts. You’re going to PAY ATTENTION to everything that tweaks your curiosity. Recall that feeling of being curious and then every time you experience it this week, write down what sparked it. Pay attention wherever you are—at the gym, in the car, or even washing the dishes—because the muse is always at work, trying to get your attention.
In addition to paying attention in your everyday life, I want you to hunt for ideas and stories that pique your curiosity. The rules are the same: pay attention to what tweaks your curiosity and jot it down. Consider what it is, what you want to explore, and why. Here are a few places to hunt:
1. Take an online tour. Go to a site where other people have collected lots of fun things and browse. Here are a few places I like.
+Pinterest. In the upper left corner, click on the little box with lines in it; a big menu will open up. Click on everything and browse. If you seem to be getting too much of the stuff you usually see, try different categories (again, you choose from that same menu.)
+StumbleUpon Just left of the center STUMBLE button, choose All Interests. Once you’re there, click stumble until you hit something that interests you.
+TED talks. TED collects talks from idea people in every field. Browse, listen, and browse some more until you find something that keeps you watching.
2. Take a real tour.
+Go to somewhere that collects lots of information and ideas, like a library, museum, or bookstore. Browse until you get that zing!
+Visit a local factory, museum, or sightseeing company and take a tour.
+Wander around your neighborhood, following only your curiosity. See what happens.
Once you’ve paid attention for a week or so, take a look at your notes.
+What do you still feel curious about? Circle the ideas.
+What themes emerge?
+What ideas for projects show up in these notes?
Hold onto your notes. We’ll be looking at them again in the weeks to come. And who knows, you may decide you want to keep an ongoing list of what sparks your curiosity!