In her book, Room to Write, Bonni Goldberg includes a writing exercise called “Weather Forecasting,” in which she has the writer imagine what kind of weather would describe him or her at this moment. I’ve found the exercises in this book very helpful to me for getting unstuck, because they don’t take much time and they usually have me exploring a situation that I wouldn’t normally come across. Expanding imaginary horizons is really very valuable for a writer or any other creative person.
Today is a nice rainy day. Nice? you ask. Yes, nice. Rain isn’t the horrible beastly weather phenomenon that most people imagine it is. Okay, when it’s raining and the traffic is so awful it takes forever to get anywhere, that’s bad. But it’s really not the rain’s fault, is it? Rain is wonderful for photography. There are all sorts of reflections, and the overcast sky means that there aren’t bright highlights and deep shadows. That kind of lighting is great for bringing out the subtle colors of delicate flowers, such as cherry blossoms.
Rain is also a great mood setting. It’s something most of us are intimately familiar with, unless you happen to live in one of the desert areas of the world. So this week’s writing prompt focuses on rain. Here’s what I want you to do: find an image or video online that includes rain. Then I want you to write a few descriptive paragraphs about that image. Focus on trying to make the scene feel real to your reader.
Painters use reference photographs for their work; they don’t try to make up clouds from memory. It’s surprising, but it’s the things that we see every day that we don’t pay attention to. Then, when you want to create it, you can’t quite find the right shape to draw or the right words to describe what you want to say.
I want you to get comfortable using reference photographs for writing. It’s a great tool for developing descriptive narrative. Do try it! And don’t worry about word count or vocabulary.