Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Searching for New Inspiration? Leave Your Desk Behind

By Lisa L Leibow

Register for Plein Air Creative Writing (Starts May 23)

The French term plein air conjures images of painters setting up easels, canvases, and pallets out of doors in the tradition of Claude Monet. But why should they have all the fun? As a writer, I like to take a journal and pen out in the world beyond my writing studio and desk. Spring is the perfect time to share this technique with Writer's Center students. 

Writing impressions of surroundings on the spot results in new perspectives, new inspirations, and frankly, a sense of air and atmosphere not as easily mustered at a desk.

 It’s all about infusing fresh air into our writing and our writing lives.

Here are ten reasons to try Plein Air Creative Writing

  • Prompts a writer to create a sense of immediacy in setting descriptions
  • Provides new sources of inspiration
  • Recording the sensations of weather, buildings, flora and fauna as they are perceived in the moment offers a wealth of source material for mining later
  • Removes the distractions of technology
  • Incorporates physical exercise into the creative process
  • New, unpredictable experiences add to the richness of the story
  • Invites writers to explore the art of storytelling in other forms
  •  Provides opportunities to play with narrative space (wide angle vs. zoom)
  • Provokes a different perspective on narrative time (memory vs. now)
  • Allows for "people watching" to better understand behavior, constructing dialogue, and gathering details for physical descriptions

Lisa Leibow holds an M.A. in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in CommuterLit, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, Folly, Griffin, Kaleidescope, Mullberry Fork, NoVA Bards, Pisgah Review, Red Rose, RougarouSand Hill Review, and Sanskrit. She is also a recent merit-based grant recipient and resident at the Vermont Studio Center, the winner of Pitchapalooza D.C., and an honorable mention in the John Gardner Award for Best Character Description.

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