Today I had a meeting with the Idea Team of the church newsletter I write for. We took our theme and brainstormed. It was fun to take a strand of thought and turn it something creative and potentially usable. Our minds were stimulated by the exchange, allowing the ideas to flow freely. We walked away with at least 20 ways to use that one theme for the next issue.

It would be nice if all our ideas flowed so easily. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with something to write. To help me in my creativity, I start looking at the world around me.

Depending where I am at the time I write, I try to see my surroundings through the eyes of my audience. If I’m writing for children, I try to see things from their perspective. If I’m at the park, I may think about how kids play together or what conversation a six year old would have with a new child at the swings. If I’m writing for adults, I may consider what people do with their time while they wait for a doctor’s visit.

Keeping a notebook is an easy way to keep track of ideas. I try to have several available at different places so I can have paper and pen handy for that stray idea that comes charging out at unexpected times.

Overheard conversations are great idea makers. I don’t like to easedrop, but there are occasions, like in the line of the supermarket, or waiting for the kids to get out of school, where conversations can’t help but be listened to. Something funny someone said, or the telling of a situation, could be great fuel for the creative process.

Use an index card holder to keep track of your written ideas or to paste cut-out pictures on 3 x 5 cards. When you need something to write about, randomly pull out a picture or one of your notes and start writing.

Ideas are all around us. Take some time to sit or take a walk and observe. The brain should start generating some ideas soon.

2 Responses

  1. Great suggestions, Catherine. I guess writers should be the most observant people around. Who knows when we might come upon a great idea!


  2. Wasn’t that meeting amazing? I went into it without a single idea in my brain, but as soon as other people started making suggestions, my brain took off like wildfire!!!!

    It made me want to spend time at our critique group–even 5 minutes–just tossing around ideas for a manuscript in progress each time we meet. Doesn’t that sound like fun, too?

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