Friday, February 6, 2015

A Musing Writer

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

I love art.

I especially love musing art until I have a story to go with it. All forms of art, whether created by camera, computer, musical instrument, or hand, set my mind in motion. They grab my eyes or ears—then my mind.

You see, every piece of artwork has a compelling story. At least for me. And the moment it captures my attention, I begin to imagine the motivation behind it.

I don’t know of any works of art that aren’t the result of the artists’ emotions or experiences. And the detective in me asks, “What happened?” or “What were they thinking?”

Many of my stories—fiction and non-fiction—resulted from staring at a photograph, painting, or other form of physical art until I imagined the story behind it. Others came from listening to music long enough for my mind to produce a movie to go with it.

I recently won a flash-fiction contest by writing the story I saw in the painting prompt that was used.

If you’ve not used art as a muse, why not give it a try? Simply focus your attention on a work of art until you “see” a story. Don’t rush it, especially if you’ve not done this before. Allow your thoughts to flow freely until they present a story that excites you. This may take some time—perhaps days or weeks. Be patient. Write down whatever comes to mind. No matter how silly or shocking.

Don’t outline. Just write whatever your mind sees. Record every impression you have until you’ve exhausted the possibilities. Then pick the scenario that suits you and run with it, using the method that works best for you.

My stories come to me as “movies” in my head. I simply write what I see. I’m aware that others see words instead of pictures. No matter how you “see” your stories, I encourage you to try adding art as a prompt to expand your writing possibilities or help break “writer’s block.”

A word of caution. I love visual art so much that I sometimes catch myself spending too much time saving it to my “Writing Prompt” file—time I should be using to write. If you find yourself doing the same thing, contact me. We’ll start an “Arts Anonymous” group so we can be more productive.

As writers, we are always learning. I like to know what motivates your stories? Please tell me in the comments section below. Let’s keep the conversation going.


Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family,, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”


  1. Bruce,

    I enjoyed this post immensely and not just because I'm an artist as well as a writer. I've never thought of using artwork as a prompt for writing, but the idea sounds intriguing!


  2. Thanks Carrie. Although I'm inspired by many other things, especially people, artwork usually stimulates my imagination. It's the most accessible to most of us--thanks to the internet and advertising.