Monday, February 8, 2010

Story Ideas

I don't know what to write about.  Those are words lots of writers have said, probably more than once. They sit at the computer and say them, mentally or out loud. They say them in a whine or in a slightly desparate voice. I'd rather not call this Writer's Block, which seems to me like a very overused excuse at times and is made up of more than just not having anythng to write about.

Instead, let's call it a lack of story ideas. So how do you solve this problem? Walk away from the computer. Go to the mall. Go outside and take a long walk. Sit down and watch TV for awhile. Anything but sit at the computer and brood. And then take a good look around you. I know I've said this before, but there are story ideas all around you.

As you're walking through the mall, you might come upon a mother/child conflict taking place in front of a fast food counter. How does each one of them react? What kind of body language? How about others who see this little scene? Turn it into a story! Or topic for a parenting article.

Perhaps you hear birdsong as you're taking a walk. Think about the different kinds, what birds sing loudest, longest, most often, and any other aspect. Go home, do a little research and you've got another topic for an article.

Something you see on TV can trigger a memory perhaps. Or an opinion. Or a rant. Use it!

Last night, many Americans, including me, watched the Super Bowl. Listening to the announcers, watching the game and the ceremony and celebration of the Saints afterward left me thinking about the many, many stories that were there. You, the writer, could write numerous stories from what you saw in those few hours.

There are story ideas all around you every day of the week. It's up to you to open your eyes wide and 'see' them.

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