life and art, but I see it as relevant to writing too.
If you aren't familiar with the Japanese terms, they don't translate well into English, but one meaning is finding simple and ordinary objects interesting, fascinating, and beautiful. As writers we often find meaning in the ordinary and turn it into compelling stories.
Wabi-sabi also means seeing beauty in imperfection. True artists are drawn to imperfection. It's what makes paintings interesting and poetry ring true; it also provides conflict for novels. Perfect heroes or heroines are boring. They have no flaws, no character arc for overcoming their problems. Every author who wants a compelling plot finds a way to include imperfections in the protagonist's personality and life.
And wabi-sabi includes an appreciation for the ancient, the used, the cracked or broken. It gives an object character, a life story, and makes it fascinating. Here, for example, is a baseball.
Look again at the cracked window above. It could be the impetus for many different tales: a shooting, kidnapping, accident. Maybe it triggers a tale of domestic violence or a murder mystery. Perhaps it's the result of an innocent mistake--kids with a BB gun, a rescue attempt gone wrong. What kind of vehicle is it? Would that have a bearing on the story you choose to tell?
As people grow older, they become more interesting and beautiful Authors look deep into the soul and work up a character's history. For example, these two women are sharing a secret. What is it?
Pretend they've been friends for since first grade. What secret wishes and desires do they harbor? What things have happened to them in the past that no one knows but the two of them? What sorrows have they passed through in their lives? What shame and embarrassments have they kept hidden? Try to picture them as teenagers. What would their lives have been like? This could be the starter for historical fiction. Or mine for stories from people you know and love. How can you take the essence of those stories and create a contemporary teen story with those same problems and challenges in a modern environment?
For the writer, wabi-sabi can be the start of stories. Look at the cracks, the flaws, the imperfections. Then give your imagination free rein.