Using Images as Inspiration

This method is awesome for the creative writer that enjoys art, nature photography, worldbuilding, or character backstory! This is how it works: you look at an image, you ask yourself these questions, and then you write:

Can you write all the details about the image you see? What details draw you in? Can you personify the object in the image? Can you write a poem about it? Is it beautiful? What does it remind you of? How does it make you feel? If it’s a portrait (an image of a person), can you write a backstory for the person? Who are they and what are they up to?

This method teaches writers to look closer at things, interpret visually and emotionally, and find inspiration in the ordinary. It works for images, artwork, etc.

  • Nature pics: Writing about these is great for learning to focus on details. It can inspire world-building, nonfiction (nature writing prompts), poetry, and the personification of inanimate objects (rocks, paths, lakes, etc) and plants.
  • Artwork: Writing about artwork is great practice visually but also tends to bring out a more emotional side to writers. It’s great for general inspiration, processing emotions, and interpreting. You can even write a backstory for the scene in the artwork image.
  • Portraits/people: Make up a story when writing about this. Who are they? What do they want most in life? Where are they coming or going from? What are their most personal memories? Their biggest secret? This is great for creating backstories and learning to build characters.
  • Random objects and architecture: This is the most vague, but also it presents the most opportunity. How did the object get there? Why is the abandoned house empty? Write about the people who used to live there and what their lives might have looked like. What does the random object do? Who might it have belonged to?

Ready to give this method a try? Here’s a picture I took outside last week.

What do you notice about it? Can you write a story? Build a world based off of what you see? Where might this be? Who might be here?

I hope you give this method a try and enjoy the results. More images and prompts will be posted regularly if you want to make this a regular practice.

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