I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked: Where do you get your ideas?
The question is often followed by some sort of story or statement about how the questioner would love to write but they don’t know what to write about.
Ideas Are Everywhere!
My experience tells me it’s easy to find ideas. Other writing pros tell me the same thing. Ideas are everywhere – the hard part is honing them into something salable.
Here’s what I mean about ideas are everywhere:
Yesterday I went to my grandson’s piano concert – it was gawdawful. Oh Ben, my grandson, did well and so did a couple of the other kids, but most of them are horrid on the piano. They don’t have any rhythm; they don’t know one note from another. It was torture!
I could use the experience and write about it. I could, for example, write about how damaging it is to kids to make them play for an audience when they can’t play well, or I could write how awful it is for parents and grandparents. Or I could write about the lack of music in schools, etc. etc. etc. I suspect there’s a market for each idea.
Today my schedule has gotten all bollixed up because of the same grandson’s graduation from middle school. We didn’t even have middle school when I was his age, let alone any graduation other than high school. I’m sure I could do something for the weekly newspaper in his neighborhood, or even in mine.
Okay, you don’t like those? Neither do I much. How about:
- Learning to compost.
- Pruning roses.
- Learning to cook mostly vegetarian.
- Deciding I’m not a vegetarian after all.
- Looking for a new used car – I’ve actually sold this one once so far.
- Changing banks. I think I know where to sell this one.
All these are things going on in my life right now and anyone of them or even all of them could be turned into at least one article. I won’t use them all – I’m not an expert on roses or on any type of cooking. It doesn’t matter – the point is the ideas are there.
And anyone of these ideas could, with the right attitude and research, be turned into a booklet or book.
The 10 Word Purpose
As many of you know, I believe almost every piece of writing, from articles to books should have a 10 word or less purpose. The purpose for this article, for example is to:
explore where writers get ideas
Yep, a mere five words, but it can keep me on course when I stray into who knows what. You might want to read: Every Writing Project Needs a Purpose Statement.
Don’t Censor Ideas
Years ago I gave myself permission to keep having ideas. Of course not all of them are good ones. I may not want to write about every topic my mind presents me. But I want those ideas to keep flowing so I can pick out the ones I want to write about.
Let your mind burble over with ideas. Don’t reject them until you’ve had time to work with them a bit; you can hold an amazing number of ideas in suspension by writing them down. Some of your ideas will be gems, absolutely perfect for you.
Where do you get your ideas?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu