Give your creativity a boost and spend time outside.
In summer my imagination goes onto overdrive. Stories, scenarios, settings and characters pop into my mind on a daily basis and I have lists of each tucked into handbags and pockets, and scattered across my office floor.
I think it’s possibly because there are so many more hours of daylight – those sunbeams and blue skies lift and energise and are inspiring in themselves. But for me, summer means more time to walk and more opportunities to bump into people.
Ideas have always popped into my head on walks and as it’s summer, there’s a lot more walking going on. As my walks are particularly slow due to one of my lovely dogs, Dottie, having decided that sitting down and refusing to budge, mid-walk, is a fabulous idea, there’s a lot of dog carrying and pleading going on, but also, as I kiss and cajole her slowly round the block, a lot of story planning. Having lost, over the years, countless ideas that I didn’t take note of, feeling certain I’d never forget them, I’ve learnt now to always carry my phone with me and I record voice notes as we go.
I’m also inspired by the people who pass us on these walks. So many different kinds of people: some stopping to ask about our ever so stately pace; some wanting to know why I’m carrying a perfectly healthy-looking Jack Russell in my arms and whether my other dog, Pippa, minds not being carried; some sharing what a beautiful day it is and how we are so lucky to have so much sunshine. I love chatting with strangers who are so much more inclined to chat on a summer’s day than when it’s cold and grey.
I also get lots of ideas walking around Kew Gardens which is very close to where I live and in fact my latest novel was inspired by meandering around these beautiful gardens and sitting on the benches looking out across the river. I thought: Who feels compelled to come here every day? What are they expecting to see coming up the river?
Each of Kew Garden’s attractions – the pagoda, the treetop walkway, the hive and huge glasshouses – present me with questions: Who would choose to hide here? Who has secret meetings here? Who will never visit this part of the garden? What is buried here? On and on, questions keep coming. And once I know the answers, a story starts to unfurl.
I think the more writing you do, the more you want to do. And in summer, it’s like opening a creative sluice. I sit in the garden under a huge sunhat, dogs (thrilled to not be out walking) at my feet and I revel as I jump between projects, the characters in each jostling for attention: Spend time with me! Find me love! Find me friendship! Make me learn from my past! Please write a scene where I get a dog!
I currently have four unfinished projects that I am determined to finish by September. Wish me luck! And more sunshine.
© Deana Luchia