4 Ways Art Inspires Writing

And How to Leverage That Knowledge

This weekend you have an assignment. Grab a pen and notebook, go to your local art museum, and soak in the inspiration. How could you not, right? After all, museums are a reservoir of works from nationally renowned painters, sculptors, and artists, as well as pieces that simply inform our world. Use their talent and the wealth of knowledge contained within the walls of the museum to make your writing better by following these 4 steps.

1. How Do You Feel?

Art, like your writing, is intended to evoke emotions. Whether it’s sadness, anger, fear, joy, disgust, surprise, trust, or anticipation–a good work of art can elicit a sometimes surprising reaction.

So sit down in front of a piece of art that you find interesting and jot down how you feel. You might find this especially helpful with scenes that are dialogue heavy.

A good image can conjure up all kinds of possibilities!

2. What Stories Come to Mind?

If you want to develop a new plot or flesh out a scene, what better way than taking a close look at a painting or photograph. I don’t know about you but when I look at an image, my mind reals with possibilities.

What is the artist trying to portray in the image? What do you think happened right before or after the scene captured on canvas or when the photograph was taken? A good image can conjure up all kinds of possibilities! So be ready to capture your immediate impressions on paper, so you don’t forget by the time you get home.

3. How To Describe Your Characters?

The characters we create in our books should be unique and interesting. But sometimes it’s hard to best describe how you want them to look.

Should their appearance be flawless beauty or marred with some physical imperfection? How should I describe their physical attributes such as skin, hair, eyes, ears, lips, jawline, or body size? The world has an inexhaustible amount of uniquely wonderful people. We just need to be able to tap that inspiration.

Whether distance or time separates you from your muse, never worry–museums are readily plentiful

One fun way to find inspiration for our characters is to model them after a piece of art. Spend time analyzing sculptures, paintings, drawings, or photographs–what is it about the subjects face or body type that you find interesting. Remember to take your time studying your subject. This is not something you can do at your local coffee shop–not unless you don’t mind weirding people out.

4. Does the Piece Take You to Another Time or Place?

We can’t all travel to the places that our novels take place. Even worse, if you’re writing about a different time period, Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine might not be readily available. Whether distance or time separates you from your muse, never worry–museums are readily plentiful at most metropolitan areas.

From display cases with ancient jewelry to period clothing, museums can be a huge reservoir of inspiration. Make sure to read the display cases for information that may not be readily evident.

Above all, you’re in a museum–so, have fun! The words will come if you put the time in.

To learn more ideas to help inspire your writing, check out my Top 10 Ways to Find Inspiration.

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