Creative Quirks·In search of Inspiration

A fun exercise for a creative moment: Word Chain Whimsy

Whenever I have a bit of a creative block I like to get myself unstuck by using the power of word associations. I start with a random word, one that just comes to mind or a word that pops out from a bookpage. Then I ask a friend (or an AI chatbot – I use ChatGPT) to give me a word they associate with my word. And then we go back-and-forth for a while until there is a list of about 20 words or so. You’ll just know when to stop, or not, that is totally okay too 😊 just go on as long as it ‘feels right’. In doing so you at least have a fun time coming up with words and watching a list grow that always hold some unexpected and inspiring connections.

Rustling leads to Smile

Today was just like that: I felt a bit uninspired yet had a real urge to get myself out of my listless, slightly disheartened mood. So, I turned to ChatGPT (I lovingly call him Chad) and started a Word Chain Whimsy with the word “Rustling”. 

😄 Before you read any further, please write down the first word that comes to your mind when I say Rustling…😄

Let me show you the chain of words we then created:

Rustling – Leaves – Autumn – Pumpkin – Orange – Sunset – Romance – Candlelight – Cozy – Blanket – Knitting – Wool – Soft – Pillow – Support – Friendship – Heartly – Smile

Looking at the beautiful string of words I noticed that they seemed to be grouped in threes:

  • Rustling – Leaves – Autumn 
  • Pumpkin – Orange – Sunset 
  • Romance – Candlelight – Cozy 
  • Blanket – Knitting – Wool 
  • Soft – Pillow – Support 
  • Friendship – Heartly – Smile

See what I mean? Maybe you see a different pattern, that is also the power of creative association, right? 

Well, next I asked Chad to pick one word per line of three, the one that he likes best. And I did the same. 

Chad told me he liked Atumn – Sunset – Cozy – Wool – Support – Smile.  🤔 Could it be that they are the last words in the lines 😉😄 it doesn’t matter, it’s all about having fun and getting those creative juices flowing. 

Then I picked my words: Rustling – Sunset – Candlelight – Knitting – Soft – Friendschip

Listlesness turns into inspiration turns into two micro stories

By this time I already felt my listlesness fading, I had fun with the words and I could feel a little tingle of inspiration. Time to turn the word-chains into something creative. I suggested to Chad to each write a micro story. I came up some rules:

  • We have to use all the words in our own list of 6. 
  • We are not allowed to use more than 200 words.
  • Don’t write for longer than about 15 minutes (only for me, because you can do it in a few seconds 😄).

Chad complemented the list with: 

  • Try to include at least one dialogue in the story. 
  • Use an unexpected twist or element of surprise. 
  • The story should have a clear beginning, middle and end.

😄 Feel inspired already? Don’t let the rest of this blog stop you! Grab a pen and paper to let those words flow from your pen … 🖊 ✨️ 

The first micro story

Curious about our stories? Here is what Chad wrote.

It was a typical fall day. Emily looked at the sunset, the sky filled with shades of orange and pink. She sat cozy on the couch, wrapped in a blanket of soft wool. 

“You seem so peaceful,” said Mark, her partner, with a smile on his face. 

“I feel at peace too, especially with you by my side. You are my rock,” Emily replied. Mark sat down next to her and put his arm around her. “I have a surprise for you,” he said, pulling out a small box. 

Emily opened the box and found a key. “Is this…?” 

“Yes,” Mark nodded, “the key to our new house. I thought it was time for a new beginning.” 

Emily’s eyes filled with tears of happiness. “This is the most beautiful fall gift ever,” she said, as they held each other tightly, the sunset as a silent witness to their love.

A cute story, that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. A small scene that I could really picture in my mind. Don’t you agree?

What is important to me is this: Is it a masterpiece? Certainly not. Would I have written it this way? Also absolutely not. But… it just gives me a nice feeling. On top of that, I felt inspired to write my own micro story with the words I picked, while also keeping myself to the rules we came up with. 

The second micro story

Now let me show you my micro story. 

Finally we had a whole weekend together again. Months ago we decided to book a cozy hotel by the sea. “Let’s get our planners and block out the days for our trip right away,” said Angela. “Otherwise nothing will happen.” 

Mildred nodded. “Yes, agreed.” 

We didn’t have to search long and our choice turned out to be a great apartment. After unpacking all our things, we headed straight outside to the sea. We were lucky, because the driving rain upon our arrival had given way to a watery sun. 

Now we were sitting on the beach with our backs against the edge of the dune, enjoying a beautiful sunset. The rustling dune grass matched the peaceful mood perfectly. 

“We’re so lucky,” Angela said softly. 

“Definitely,” Mildred agreed. “Come on, let’s go back, it’s getting chilly,” she said a little later after the golden sun had completely disappeared. 

Not long thereafter we plopped down on the lovely soft sofa, full of colorful knitted cushions. Angela lit some candles and Mildred poured us a glass of mulled wine. “Cheers,” she said, “To our friendship.” 

“Yes, and may we enjoy many more beautiful beach weekends together.”

Also, by no means a masterpiece. Yet, I love the little cozy scene I painted here. Of course, my fingers are itching to correct some of the weak sentences. But I won’t, because that’s not the point here. I wanted to get myself out of the disheartened feeling, the uninspired mood. And that is exactly that happened. After writing the micro story I felt lighter, sitting at my desk with a smile on my face.

From stagnant to flowing creativity

So, that’s one of the ways I go from stagnant to flowing creativity. Did I manage to inspire you today? Why not try a Word Chain Whimsy exercise with a friend or even an AI chatbot like I did? Trust me, it’s a simple yet effective way to spark your creativity and lift your spirits. If you create a word-chain or a micro story too, share them in the comments below, I’d love to read them 🥰✨️🖊

Love, Maureen

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