One of the struggles writers often face is trying to find ideas, for blogs posts, articles, books etc. Sometimes ideas seem to appear out of nowhere, other times they’re illusive and you have to really search for them. So where do you find ideas?
When I was in college one of my writing teachers talked to us about the importance of being observant, a skill every writer should develop. One of our was assignments was to pay close attention to our surroundings and write down what we saw and take one of our observations/ ideas and turn it into a story. So later that day while I was waiting for the city bus and noticed a trail of ants crossing the sidewalk. I pulled out my notebook, wrote my observations and anything else I could think of about ants. My next thought was how can I take this idea and turn into a story?
So I asked myself the ultimate question . . . WHAT IF! What if they were giants ants sent from mars to take over the earth? What if they spies and carried secret to other countries? And last but not least what if those ants lived in an ant farm that belonged to a young boy with a vivid imagination. Guess which idea I chose to use for my story? The ant farm and young boy with the vivid imagination. The class loved it and I still have that story in my file cabinet after all these years. One of the most important lessons I learned from that writing teacher was to be more observant and write down ideas in a notebook, which I did for many years. When you learn be observant and pay attention to the world around you, ideas seem to come more easily.
An idea can start with a simple question and a little imagination or sometimes they float into our dreams like a magic carpet and beckon us to take ride. For example I had a dream once about a mansion, the family who lived there and its resident ghost. I was so intrigued by the dream I wrote it all down and it eventually became the basis for a novel I have in process except without the ghost. No matter how an idea presents itself, whether it comes as an observation, dream, reading a book, watching a new cast, or seeing a sign on the road, it’s up to us to do something with it . . . even if it’s writing it down in notebook for later use. So if your struggling with finding ideas, do something that inspires you like: a walk in the park, or along the beach, take time to notice your surroundings, listen to the wind rustle through the trees, the birds or the sound of the waves as they slap against the shore and the scent of the ocean, and write down everything you see feel and hear. This is great way to tune into your five senses, improve your writing, overcome writers block and grab that magic carpet of ideas and take it for a ride and it works.
J. Wallace/ Writer by the Sea