Writing requires a flow of ideas. Sometimes when we sit down to write we feel that the ideas department is like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard…it is empty.
Whether you wish to write short stories, non-fiction, screenplays or anything else, there are ways of ensuring that you always have something to write about. These suggestions will help you as you progress in your writing career or even if you are a seasoned writer who has hit the blank screen.
Keep a notebook in strategic locations – in the kitchen, on the bedside table, in your pocket, on the seat you watch TV from, anywhere you are likely to be when an idea comes to you so that you can note it down. Writing in a notebook is like rolling a snowball…it picks up momentum and soon has a life of its own.
Note down what you hear other people saying. Modify it, turn it into humour, make it the issue of conflict between your characters and more. The conversations that we hear around us every day are a staple in the writer’s ideas cupboard.
Read often and widely. This is not to suggest that you become a swot, but just a few minutes of gleaning a newspaper or magazine can yield a bagful of ideas to get your writing going again. Don’t forget to keep a notebook handy while you write.
People-watch. Whether in a cafe, on a station platform, a coach, in fact anywhere. Note carefully the appearance, dress style, mannerisms, habits, emotions etc of other people. Discreetly note them down and they will be there when you next need a character for your story or novel.
Delve into memory. Your own history and experience is full of ripe ideas to turn into a story, play, family history and more. Next time a memory surfaces that sets you on a train of thought, make a spidergram in your notebook. You may be surprised to find that after just a few minutes that you have the basis for a range of chapter headings and potential outline for your piece.
These few tips may help to get you started. Along with these ideas consider the following as effective ways of filling your ideas store:
Research – you don’t need to be an expert to write an article.
Personal Interests – whatever it is that makes your life interesting, may interest others.
Interesting People – if you know an interesting person, consider doing an interview.
Surfing – the Internet is a storehouse of ideas that will leave you with only one problem…what ideas to use.
No matter how empty the ideas cupboard is, a few minutes each day spent in any of these activities will provide a host of writing ideas and boost your writing confidence.