Time + inspiration = writing.
It’s a simple formula, A simple, impossible formula because often when there’s time, inspiration is fleeting OR inspiration strikes at the worst possible times. Sitting in the dentist’s chair with a mouth full of cotton balls. Driving up the freeway. Halfway through a dinner with friends.
Since time is often easier to control, I’ve focused much of my writing life on trying to find ways to jumpstart inspiration. As I teach, I also need to find ways to help students who are sitting at their desks staring at the wall with no clue what to do.
Enter a thrift store! In an ideal world, you can sneak off to a secondhand shop and walk around. Every single object has a story. Pick something up. Feel its weight. Look at the color. If you’re brave, take a good smell. What did this thing sitting in your hand go through before it landed on the island of misfit stuff. Better yet, grab a cart and toss it random items until you find yourself with a story. (No need to buy the objects unless you fall in love. But take a picture.)
Now if you’re a teacher wondering how to do this with a classroom and no Goodwill nearby, try this. Assign each student or group one of the following categories: