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I’m Going To The Circus! Or Why Writers Need To Have Fun For More Ideas

circus and freelance writingAfter a flury of emails with my youngest son and his wife I’ve made arrangements to join them at the circus Saturday!

I can hardly wait. I’ll take the train about an hour and a half north to Santa Ana, CA and my son will pick me up and we’ll head less than two miles to the Honda Center (yikes I’m not used to venues being named for products even yet).

Of course, I’m bragging, but there’s also a point here somewhere for freelance writers.

Writers Need To Have Fun!

Writers need to have fun, to take time off, and to do things they don’t usually do. Yes, everyone probably needs to do this, but I think we creative types need it more than most. Although there have certainly been poets and artists and writers who have been successful performing their crafts in a single room, cut off from the rest of the world, I wonder what they would have been able to create had they seen and experienced more.

I know for me, as much as I love where I live and work, as much as the hawks and trees and flirting butterflies and small garden please me, getting out of town and doing something as silly and as fun as going to a circus does something wonderful to my brain. And going to a circus with loved ones, particularly small children, is even more of a delight.

Article Ideas Even Before I Go

To be sure I could probably work this upcoming experience into several articles, including:

  • A travel piece about the Honda Center as a destination – no, it’s not that great by itself, but the circus as a destination and maybe a travel piece that could follow the circus with minor changes in each town has some merit.
  • A screed against the mistreatment of animals as an opinion piece for animal rights magazines or even some consumer magazines.
  • How about an article on going to the circus with grand kids? That would work.
  • So would a comparison of this circus with the last one I remember.
  • I could do a piece on short train trips.

See, even anticipating the trip and I’m awash in ideas.

But I know something else will happen as well. Just getting out of my usual track is good for me. It’s stimulating. It’s, well, fun. And I’ll bet the week or so following this venture, and maybe even longer, I have more ideas, more creativity than I would if I hadn’t gone. Hard to prove I know. Which doesn’t bother me a whit.

Looking for new ideas to write about? Go to circus, or, more to the point, go have fun at something you don’t usually do.

And if this does’t demonstrate you can turn almost anything into a blog post I don’t know what does.

What are you doing for ideas this week?


Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by CS_McMahon

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Oh my gosh I need to do this. I’m stuck going to work, home, skating practice and back again. I hardly ever get out!
    I am going to a concert in Los Angeles in two weeks, but wasn’t planning on taking my computer. I’ve gotten several blog posts out of visits to my SO (we generally visit a local attraction where he lives, since we’re both new to it). Perhaps I can do an article about the concert. I’ll take copious notes and see if I can get some photos.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Vocabulary: Kickin’ Letter KMy Profile

  • Amy

    I’m absolutely in agreement with you…fun, a break, change of scenery…just livin’ life…so many ideas can flow from all that. Enjoy the circus~I saw my first one only a few years ago; was fun!
    ps. That “renaming venues as products” thing…I feel you! I worked summers while in college at a lovely one, that’s since been turned into a corporate circus itself now, renamed about 6 times. For what seems like identity crisis, they have now inserted the old name back after Toyota…yuck! Besides taking away original names that reflected the locale of the venue, (and erasing local history), I don’t know what venues are which anymore!
    You see…now that’s an article (or rant) in itself waiting to happen!

    • And you’ve got a good start writing it Amy… go for it. Love it when folks agree with me.

  • Thanks for the idea, Anne! I just tore myself away from my desk and took my cranky toddler to a museum. On the way home, I had a story idea which I’ve just successfully pitched to our city’s biggest local newspaper. It’s not a paid piece but, since I’m just starting out, I’m really happy to have a print article in such a good publication.

    Oh, and I actually had fun at the museum too! Thanks for the idea and enjoy the circus.

    • Love this story Carolyn – you could tell it on your blog!

      • Thanks Anne – I will blog about it as soon as the original piece is published. Thanks again for the inspiration. CJ

  • I just discovered this blog through my comment blogging tribe –

    She lives in south Orange county. I just love the concept of this blog. She loves to walk and takes her camera along and blogs about it. Isn’t that great?

    Being outside inspires me, Anne. My training walks always stir up ideas. Enjoy the circus-can’t wait to see what it inspires. 🙂
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Turning Paper Weights Into SolutionsMy Profile

    • Cathy, you’re right, http://www.walkingsimply.com is a great idea. Hope to see some shots you take walking.

      I’m going to do a circus post.

      • I do need to do that. I read about how noisy the circus was. I’ve never been a big fan of the circus-too much going on at once for my simple brain. 🙂
        Cathy Miller recently posted..Health Care Tuesday Shows Kids Eat Out-a LotMy Profile

        • I have some ethical issues with the animals at the circus… ethical confusions actually… and I wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for the grandkids… amazing what I’ll do with them that I won’t do by myself.

  • Paula H

    You left out what would be my circus related article idea: What makes clowns so scary-creepy to so many people (like me), but fun for others?

    My back-up article would be on how to cope with allergies at an animal-filled circus. As someone who is deathly allergic to horses, the mere thought of going to a circus puts me in a panic.

    But you’re right, Anne, we all need a little fun now and then.

    • lol, I don’t find them creepy, but I do know many do… a mystery to me… good one.

    • LOL! This reminded me of my kid sister when she was little – she’s now 31, but as a littl’un, she was terrified of clowns. I remember having a big picture of one in my bedroom when I moved out of our parents’ home, and I had to take it down whenever she was visiting me!
      Nicky Parry recently posted..Step 5: Try TwitterMy Profile

      • I suppose someone has done a study on why some fear clowns… interesting.

  • I love how you walked us through your brainstorming process on article ideas. Sometimes it is helpful to see others’ nonlinear thinking at work.

    Have fun at the circus!
    Carrie Schmeck recently posted..Branding: The First Step in a Writer’s PlatformMy Profile

    • Thanks Carrie… maybe I ought to do it more often… I didn’t think of it as a walk through, but you’re right, it is.

      • I’ve started to master the idea generation. The part that gets me stuck is finding homes for my ideas. I get as far as: Idea X…good for a family mag. Idea Y…a business publication. Then, I start looking and get so overwhelmed at the forest that I can’t find a tree.

        What is the best way you have found to identify potential markets for a particular story? (Besides the obvious Writer’s Market).
        Carrie Schmeck recently posted..Branding: The First Step in a Writer’s PlatformMy Profile

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