Using Colourful Image and Place to Spark and Anchor Your Writing

There is a place that holds special meaning to you.

Landscape and buildings  convey strong associations, too: cultural, religious, traditional or avant-garde. A tall white tower can connote power and protection. A smooth lake usually means tranquillity or reflection.

Colour and image offer rich symbolic and cultural stimulants for writers.  Colours have connotations – black says power or death. Red spells aggression. White implies purity. A deep chocolate-y brown paint is called Indulgence; a salmon/peach colour is called Warm Winds. Not hard to see why.


Choose a coloured photo that shows a place from your past where an activity takes/took place. Describe this place in as much detail as you can.

What associations come to mind? Who were the characters that inhabited that landscape and what did they mean to you?  What emotions are evoked by the colours? Use this place and its colours as a starting point. Make a list or paragraph of words and phrases. Time yourself for three to five minutes.

Can you create a thread or an order out of some of these words?

Now you are ready to write a first draft. Record what comes up.


adapted from The Five Minute Writerby Margret Geraghty

Farmhouse, Ravello color by  MC Escher