Here’s a fun and simple way to add some variety and inspiration to your day!
Looking for new things to write about, take pictures of, create in your favorite media, or observe in nature?
Download and print the free Variety Booster chart:
The chart features 5 different categories to switch up to create new prompts. In the center are 4 basic times of day, encircled by 4 different types of activity: Write, Observe, Photograph, and Create (any artistic form from painting to dance). Outside of these are 8 different “moods” — happy, delighted, cool, indifferent, sad, depressed, angelic and naughty. Then in the oval we have 16 ideas for different places or locations, surrounded by 60 topics from children, work, and love to healing, decay, and silence.
Technically, this one chart holds a possibility of close to a quarter million different combinations. However, it can be much more fun to change only one or two variables, such as in the following:
- Write about your dreams when you feel depressed or down, then write about them when you are delighted or encouraged.
- Create a different small-scale mixed media collage on three successive afternoons, choosing a single topic. Note the mood you are in each day, and the resulting variety of perspective and focus each day.
- Observe (and perhaps photograph) sunlight in your garden at all four different times of day, substituting natural moonlight during your nighttime session.
- Photograph instances of nurturing at your local playground. Then visit a restaurant to seek out the same theme. Perhaps also visit the mall or even an office environment.
Of course, if you only do one of the four activities (say, if you want to stick with writing) — or if you really only have one of the four possible times of day to pursue your activity (such as having evenings open), you can easily hone in on this one “bottleneck” and create variety using the other variables:
- Write about interdependence in the office, at home, in a forest…
- Photograph families at the playground — in the early morning, late morning, afternoon, and at sunset. Note how the population of attendants and their behavior changes along with the lighting.
- Create a sculpture or painting or other artistic work to express the urgency inherent in the morning, contrasted with the comparative freedom of the evening.
- Observe different things on your nightly outing to the local park. Look for beauty one night, ugliness the next; seek out logic, then find rebellion; take in the silence one evening and enjoy uniqueness the next.
For ultimate variety, write the name of each topic, location, mood, activity, and time of day (or just the ones you like) on little slips of paper and put each group in a separate little baggie. Draw out one from each bag, and see what you get. It might be crazy, or rather “interesting” — yet doable. If not, draw cards until you find a combination that inspires you!
- Write about communication in the nighttime or when you are feeling naughty — and do it while you’re sitting in your car in a parking lot.
- Observe people’s behavior at the mall in the afternoon or when you are feeling sad. Focus on spontaneity.
- You want to create some art, and you draw these cards: “evening” “angelic” “stream” “freedom“. That doesn’t work for you, until you sit down and freewrite for 5 minutes, during which time you come up with an image of angels rising like a stream, drawing the sun upwards to light up the day and bring freedom from darkness.
- You’re feeling down, and you draw the cards: “photograph” “strength” “morning” “garden“. After taking pictures of the strength you see in your flowers and vegetables, you may feel lighter — give it a try! Sometimes just the silliness or even the awkwardness of the activity can change your perspective and offer some delight!
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