Last week, a student apologised when she sent in her assignment, because she felt it wasn’t particularly original. It was a travel piece and she’d written about the venues and attractions that everybody writes about for that particular destination.
I call this Foggy Day Writing because writers are blinded by the obvious to see the creative detail. A similar thing happens with photography. When photographers wake up to be greeted by a foggy morning, many simply assume that it’s not a good day for photography. This is because all they see is the fog. Fog can be highly creative for photographers.
Fog is actually great weather for capturing the colour green. Zoom in on anything green and it appears more saturated: greener. (It’s all to do with how the light is reflected, apparently.) Fog is also a reminder that being creative is all about viewpoint. It frequently collects in valleys, which means if you can climb above it you’ll be rewarded with a completely different perspective of fog.
Foggy day writing tends to focus on the obvious, yet creativity can be found with a little effort. For the advice for photographers:
A) look for the green, or rather home in on the smaller details.
B) change your perspective. Look at your subject from a different angle.
I recently had to undertake a writing exercise where I had to write a complaint letter. Fortunately, or should that be unfortunately, I had several real-life complaint letters to write and tried drawing upon one of them for inspiration. But no matter how frustrating the experience was in real life as a creative piece is wasn’t working. It was then that I realised it was a foggy day piece of writing. I was simply drawing upon the obvious. Instead, I decided to focus on one small detail. I created a story where the tiniest of details was wrong and this led to a series of catastrophic disasters. Then I added a twist, turning the complaint into a thank you piece. This piece turned out to be far more creative and interesting than my previous idea.
So next time you begin writing something, ask yourself: am I producing Foggy Day Writing? If you answer “Yes,” then do what photographers do. Look for some small detail, or change your perspective.