A couple of days ago, I constructed a new section in my website, titled: Tea, Breaks, and Inspiration, which at first glance might cause the casual observer to question the relevance to writing or art.
Whilst out and about, whether on a shopping trip, a day away, or on holiday; I always carry a notebook and pen. Yes, always. Some passages in my novels and short stories were born during a tea or coffee break, either when out for the day, or on holiday.
A camera is useful, especially if on your phone, as I’ve discovered since buying my first Smartphone a few weeks ago. I have also been known to use a digital voice recorder. Having said that; I’m still convinced that nothing works quite as well as a few well-chosen words in a notebook.
You can be imaginative, or you can use Google and Wikipedia, but nothing captures the atmosphere, architecture, and general feel of a museum or other location, quite like the written word, dealt with, right there on the scene. On the odd occasion, I’ve been visiting a city and stopped for a few minutes, to write down what I see. People, vehicles, buildings, and the occasional snippet of conversation can be noted.
When I’m sitting with my tea or coffee in front of me … and piece of cake of course, I look at my brief notes, and top them up with a little information. I believe ‘real’ research gives creative writing an authority, and that can only come from the confidence of the writer.
What are you waiting for? Get your notebook, and go out for a while.