The superpower of all writers, poets, artists of all mediums and kinds. In this post, we're going to be taking a look at wonder, a part of the process of Making Stuff Up that's usually given a more professional-sounding name that differs depending on the details of said Stuff.
What is wonder, and what is it used in?
wonder /ˈwʌndə/: a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar. "he observed the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child".
That's what Google says. That's the essence of what we want to catch at the start of the creative process—at least, for some projects. And while this sense of wonder often pertains to writers of speculative genres (fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, horror) I believe it has a place in most other genres as well. Think of the feeling of wonder washing over you every time you marvel at the amount of love you have for someone—a best friend, a partner, a parent, a child. And what about the sense of wonder that comes with the setup of a mystery, leaving the reader with a hunger to know more about whatever it is the author is dangling just out of their reach? After all, to wonder is also to question.
Wonder is integral to pacing in many, many stories; particularly at the start. So now that I've hopefully convinced you of the importance of wonder in a story--
How can you use wonder for your creative process?
Hopefully, this isn't too hard to see. Wonder in the creative process comes as inspiration, the golden lens through which artists peer, absorbing anything and everything until they find the thing: the subject, or theme, or even the launch point, for their next project.
And yet, the general problem surrounding creative inspiration is how hard it often seems to find. The next question to answer, then, would be how to find it?
The solution will differ for everyone. That's simply how creativity is. But figuring out the problem of what works for you is one most only solve after ages of having tried different things. So here's something you could try:
Submerge all your senses in wonder — not all at once, if that would be too much for you (which is perfectly understandable). Start with one, while the rest of you does something mechanical, like bouncing a ball against a wall or just walking.
But when all else fails, you can always turn to things that already have your wonder. Things you know about, have already looked into before, that you wouldn't mind digging even deeper into. Tunnel into the wonder you feel for that. Combine it with something else—a trope, a concept, a genre: anything.
Go write. Or create, or sit in it while your mind does the work of making connections, finding characters and voices to inhabit your creative space until you can make something.
This will not work for everyone; it may not work for you. Such is the way of every piece of writing advice you'll ever come across. But it might be worth trying. Who knows—you may find a romance for something you never thought you'd find wonderful, ever. Just try.
What bit of wonder stands out in your day today?