One of my favorite creativity coaches, Julia Cameron, has a book called The Sound of Paper: Inspiration and Practical Guidance for Starting the Creative Process. One of the exercises she has in it is to create a collage to find out what’s really going on in your head.
Here’s how it works, paraphrased:
1. Collect several magazines and/or catalogs.
2. Rip out anything that appeals to you. Do this fast. Don’t think.
3. Get a piece of poster board, cardboard, a big piece of blank paper, a shirt box, heck anything that you can paste things to.
4. Arrange your pictures and/or words in a way that pleases you. Let your inner child/muse play!
5. Glue everything down.
6. Admire your work. See if it inspires anything — a new idea, a plot twist, a deeper understanding of a character or a deeper understanding of yourself.
It’s fun to get a friend to look at it and tell you what she sees. Sometimes these look like pieces of art, and sometimes they are more of a mess, but as long as they make your inner artist happy that’s enough. When I did this last, I found poetry.
It’s a little hard to read there, but here’s what it says:
Last night I dreamed the laws of gravity don’t apply to euphoria.
If you love what you’re doing
Just breathe between the lines.
Fight back. Put a little order in your life. Get wet.
Between the lines.
Swifter, higher, stronger.
Better than ever.
What do you have to say between the lines?
Once you start, you’re already finishing.
Now I’m not a poet, but I like what I created and it spurred me on to follow my bliss, find the fun again, and oh yeah, it gave me the name of this blog.
If you want some awesome inspiration for another way to play with your words and pictures, check out this blog entry from my BFF Elizabeth Holcombe who is an artist and a writer. She uses collages a lot for inspiration and as a reference source for her characters. She’s done run of the mill collages, but sometimes she gets even more creative and uses unusual forms like this altered book collage.
So go forth and play with words and pictures. I’d love to hear what you learn about yourself, and/or your work in progress.
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