What do you think of when I mention rebus writing?

You may think that you have to draw pictures when I mention rebus writing. If this will help you out, and you are lucky enough to be gifted with artistic ability, be my guest and draw to your heart's content. I, however, am not the artistic sort, and I prefer writing as my means of expression. For rebus writing, you do not have to draw. You just have to be able to use pictures and rebus samples to help you with your writing.

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So, exactly what is a rebus? A rebus is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as "a representation of words or syllables by pictures or objects, or by symbols whose names resemble the intended words or syllables in sound; also, it can be a riddle made up of such pictures or symbols." A rebus picture can make you think in different and harder ways than you may be used to thinking. See this brief rebus story to get an idea of what a rebus can look like. There are many different ways in which a rebus can be constructed, but this is just one simple form to show you the common format. If you enlarge the page, you can see the answer at the bottom. Try to solve it on your own first. See if you can come up with the answer. You might even gauge how long it takes you to do so.

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words can hold true, if you allow your mind to explore the vast dimensions available to it. Someone can look at a picture and see many different concepts that arise from it. That is why not everyone can solve rebus writing. Everyone has his or her own take on what he or she believes the pictures in the rebus are supposed to represent, and so they all find different answers and different meanings within the rebus stories they read.

This can extend beyond the concept of a rebus, however. You might go to a museum and view an exhibit on abstract art. Salvador Dali's or Pablo Picasso's paintings may strike different people in different ways, and elicit varying emotions and proposed concepts of the reality of what each artist was trying to convey through his work.

Pictures create different meanings for different people. Someone may notice the blues and reds and their striking juxtaposition to one another in a painting, while others may focus on the distraught, yet angelic face of the subject of the artwork. Find comfort in the fact that your opinion matters. What you think a picture conveys, whether in rebus writing or any other genre, is how you see it. This will allow for your unique understanding to entice your readers to be curious about just what you saw and how you construed its meaning.

When writers see something interesting, they tend to want to write about it. At least that is the experience I have had. If you feel you have stumbled upon something interesting, invigorating, and truly neat, write it down in brief form so you can come back to it later and remember what your thoughts were in the moment you saw it, read it, or discussed it.

Do not hesitate and let the moment slip away. Some writers or other people will tell you that if you forget it, it was probably not worth remembering. I challenge this idea, and submit that it does not hurt to write it down. If you choose not to use it, so be it. At least you will have the opportunity to remember the moment in more specific detail, rather than try to recollect vague memories of days gone by. You may find use for that individual tidbit of information years down the line, and may remember where you were, but not what you thought, whom you were with, what parts of the painting, discussion, or reading stood out to you, etc. Take everything in and store it away.

By no means do I suggest that you pile your house up with stacks and stacks of paper with bits and pieces scrawled on each page. However, start a system and follow it. Make a notebook for museums, and separate by artists if that helps you organize. Make a notebook for books you've read, quotes you've heard, etc., and organize it by author. You can even do this on your computer so you have an easier time searching for the information later. The "find" tool in Microsoft Word or any other similar program can be a lifesaver when you are in a time crunch!

Rebus writing can be enlightening and creatively stimulating. Use pictures or emotion icons to engage you with the written word. Learn how to write a picture. By this I mean that you should learn how to describe in thorough detail exactly what you see and understand within the confines of a picture. Words paint pictures, and writers paint words. Use rebus writing to further contemplate rebus stories and make a rebus picture of your very own to accelerate your thought process. Even if you cannot draw, think in pictures. See, in your mind's eye, just what you want to write, and then write it!

When you begin to employ pictures to help you in your writing pursuits, you will find that images become clearer, ideas become more adaptable, and visions of all the ways your writing can go will be revealed. That is the power of rebus writing.

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