One Writer’s Journey

April 10, 2019

Ideas: Where Do They Come From?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:18 am
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Recently I had a discussion with one of my students about prioritizing your writing ideas.  How is do you decide what to write now and what to put off until tomorrow? Or later.  Then someone else asked the question I dread . . . where do your ideas come from?

That’s a tough one for me because I get so many ideas.  In January, I take part in Story Storm.  It used to be called Picture Book Idea Month.  The point is to make an effort to record your story ideas for a month.  The goal is to have 30.  I always continue to do it after January.  At this point, I have 86 ideas on my list and another 5 to 10 lurking in my e-mail.  I e-mail notes to myself when I’m on the treadmill.

Why?  Because a lot of my ideas come from things I read.  I’ve got my blog feed divided up into categories.  Most of my “news” category is history, archaeology and science.  Then there’s my literature/library/archive feed.  A post about a historic manuscript or a museum collection is often good for a story.  So are recent scientific findings in astronomy, paleontology, ecology and more.

Then there are the books I read.  Currently, I’m reading Deborah Blum’s Ghost Hunters. I got a lot read during my one day of jury duty and came away with three new ideas.  Secondary characters, art movements, architectural styles and more can spark a story idea.

Museum exhibits, documentaries, and NPR all present me with ideas.  If this, what about that?  Could people way back then really have known about this?  What if (insert whatever here) had never been invented?  I’ve been known to message myself photos taken with my phone of historic markers.

Writing friends who don’t suffer from an abundance ideas give me a hard time.  This isn’t a curse. It’s a blessing.

In truth, I would never call it a curse but it can be annoying.  It isn’t easy to write with so much chatter as ideas clamor for attention.  That’s why I write them down so that I can get a spot of peace and quiet.


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