Writing from the Well

(photo courtesy of uniquebridalsupplies.com)

(photo courtesy of uniquebridalsupplies.com)

Do you have a writing well? A place to store ideas, images, sensory descriptions, memories, rants, one-liners.

I used to have a small, hardcover spiral notebook that I would write in each day: 5 beginning sentences. Some were obvious crap, though some were dull little gems in need of a spit-shine.

Then, I began a list of story titles. In conversation, someone,(usually me (*wink*) would say something witty, outrageous or eloquent and they would make such good novel titles.

Lately, with a prompt from Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page, by Sheila Bender, I have been keeping another list: of things, objects, people, places and memories.  There are goofy things, like the time my brother dropped an entire 6-pack of Coke bottles on the dining room rug and the caramel sticky pop leaked through to the basement ceiling.  And there are images that sting a bit more: like touching my cousin’s casket before it was lowered into the ground.

At any rate, you know I’m a “list girl”, but in these cases, this is my writer’s well. A well of ideas so my writing can never run dry.

How do you catch and hold all those fluttering ideas, snippets of memory and fleeting moments of wonder?



Filed under Advice, Believe, Creative Essays, emotion, Inspiration, Writing prompts

9 responses to “Writing from the Well

  1. Great list ideas! And I’ll definitely have to check out that book. It isn’t easy to always catch or remember the unique details or experiences in my life, but one thing that helps me is to put photo albums together. I have boxes and drawers full of photos, but they are slowly finding their way into albums. Every time I create an album I remember ideas and write them down in my idea generator notebook. Lately my daughter is fascinated with going through the photo albums, so I tell her stories and that brings back memories, too.

    • Thanks, Kimberly! I am also trying to get those boxes of photos into albums. Of course the first born’s album is done (he’s 10) and my second son (5-yr-old) says to me the other day”I’ll never have an album of me!” Aw, little guy, way to make Mommy feel guilty. Good luck with your albums and bringing those memories to life!

  2. Great idea – although I no longer “write” I do blog and can’t ever think of a thing to say when I decide to sit down. I will be keeping notes from now on.

  3. I have a couple of writing wells (I love that term, btw!). I use a journal to write my ideas, whether they are topics, sentences, outlines, or quotations I like.

    I also use Google docs to organize topics/ideas that I plan to blog about. This keeps them organized in an online format, which makes for easier editing and posting. I think of it as my percolator.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Bender’s book sounds like an excellent resource!

    • Hi Katie, Thanks for visiting! Ooo, Google docs! Thanks for the reminder. I’m still cutting/pasting things I like online (which is sooo 2007!) I like your blog, BTW and LOVE librarians! ; )

  4. Liz

    Bender’s book is great. I have to check out Google docs, I hadn’t even realized they offered that “service”. I find that it’s hard to stick with one system at times, so my thoughts are spread out all over the place (on a note card, or in a spiral notebook, or a list on my computer). 🙂

  5. Aw, you’re sweet! Librarians love you too! 😉

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