article written by Sophie Poirier
She didn’t know how to begin. She sat on the couch with her fingers on the keyboard and her eyes staring at a Word document, the pages as blank as the thoughts in her mind. She became frustrated. Writing has always been her passion, and she was good at it. It had become, for her, a place of refuge. Somewhere she could escape to when life became too much. In times like these, however, she couldn’t think of anything to write. She had no inspiration, and her ideas were a jumbled mess in her mind. It was discouraging but giving up was never an option. Sometimes, writing doesn’t come easy, and like anything else in life, it takes work. Instead of becoming angry with herself and giving up, she thought of ways to spark her creativity.
Rereading her own work always helped. She usually writes every day in a journal. She’s been writing in journals for years, accumulating them in a shelf at the bottom of her wardrobe. So, from time to time, when she’s feeling mentally stuck, she grabs a journal and reads. She likes to rework her writing, to rewrite an old idea or passage, and come up with something new and perhaps better.
Being an English student and Ottawa Arts Review (OAR) Reader, she reads other people’s work all the time as well. Every writer/artist is unique, and she loves being able to read and look at other perspectives and styles. She loves looking at the OAR submissions because it allows her to get out of her own head, to take a breather, to look at someone else’s work and talent, and to perhaps become inspired. She loves to encourage others to do the same by checking out OAR publications (new issue coming soon). Her work as a Reader allows her to be critical, which gets her to focus on something other than her own writing. When she can’t seem to think, focusing on something else always helps.
Finding prompts is another way she uses to channel her creativity. Sometimes she’ll ask someone to give her a random word or phrase, and she’ll write something short based off of that. Other times, she’ll do a simple google or dictionary search. She loves being able to create a story based off of one word or short phrase. It allows her a lot of leeway for her ideas.
She also loves to experiment with styles and genres or to experiment with dialogue and narrators. There are limitless story possibilities, and experimenting allows her to expand her ideas to reach some of those possibilities. Creating character analyses is also something she loves to do. Characters are essential to a story, and by writing about the character, she writes the story through the character.
She sat back on the couch, with her fingers on the keyboard, and her eyes staring at the Word document once more. She took a deep breath and collected her thoughts. She wrote.