Writing Inspiration from Digital Visuals

Sometimes a writer will want to write an article for his or her website or blog but is without inspiration or an idea. While a change of scenery can certainly help – perhaps a temporary relocation or a vacation from the daily humdrum of life – another aid for getting fresh ideas to write about can come from digital visuals. Normally when a writer has completed an article and is seeking an image or two to accompany the article, perhaps one of public domain, digital repositories online such as Wikimedia Commons or Flickr will be used just for this purpose. At the same time, many of the images in these digital repositories can also attract and interest the writer enough to get a new idea on the writing board. The image in question could very well be something that somehow has a special appeal yet be a topic little known to the writer. Such an image can encourage the writer to research and learn about the new topic being written about, as in a recent personal example: the Eddystone Lighthouse, which dates back to the late seventeenth century.

Eddystone Lighthouse By Amilcar de Lafage
Eddystone Lighthouse By Amilcar de Lafage. From the book “Les merveilles de la science, vol. 4”, Louis Figuier. Published by Paris: Furne, Jouvet et Cie, 1870. The Getty Research Institute, The Internet Archive. From Old Book Illustrations.

While Wikimedia Commons and Flickr can certainly be used, think outside the box for digital images to provide that writing inspiration. One of the more original and creative digital repositories online of pubic domain images is Old Book Illustrations. Many of the images on this site are Victorian and Romantic illustrations scanned from old books – think Gustav Dore, Aubrey Beardsley, and Alphonse Mucha. The New York Public Library also has a large selection of public domain digital images, as does the Smithsonian. Across the pond is Digital Bodleian which contains over a million digital images waiting to stimulate the writer’s imagination. State archives, state libraries, private archives, and for the film writer, the many global film archives contain a multitude of digital images that can give the writer ideas to write about.

In short, spend time perusing websites already being used to locate appropriate digital images to accompany your completed articles, but also seek out writing inspiration from public domain images available on other sites.