7 Random Places to Glean Ideas for Your Writing

grocery-listEver sit at your laptop or notebook, fingers poised and the muse has “poof” vanished? Of course you have, I’m not the only one.

Well, try to gather writing ideas from more random recesses of your mind (or voicemail…)

  1. Grocery Lists: Sure, why not? String together a few key ingredients from your grocery list and drop them in a character’s back seat – or more unusual place like their bathtub! Now see what happens…(BONUS: use someone else’s grocery list – you know the torn soggy remnant stuck in the bottom of your shopping cart?)
  2. Billboards: There are tons of unique characters, settings and plot twists posted stories above your head (get it – “stories above your head?” hee-hee!) Try writing about one of the strippers whose lean body is draped across the 12′ horizontal ad for a “gentleman’s club.” Or a couple who is “trying to get pregnant?” Maybe something creepy lurks at “Paddy’s Pancake House – 2 Exits Ahead!”
  3. Your Journal: You are journaling, right? I find loads of gems (along with loads of crap!) in my morning pages. Just today, as I was writing about the surge of energy autumn brings for me, I delved into past memories of wearing skirts, nylons and too tight shoes out to parties with my girlfriends in the cold and dark, you know the places kids sneak to drink beer? Either a story or an enlightening essay is in there…
  4. Newspaper Headlines: An oldie, but goodie! Rip apart those trite headlines and dig deeper for a fictional story – or something that enrages or excites you to research it further for an article.
  5. Voicemails: This one takes a good ear and a bit of creativity. Listen for background noises when replaying your voicemails either from home or work. Tell the story from the background. One message that was left on my boss’s voicemail were two men carrying on a conversation before they realized they hadn’t hung up! Interesting tidbits can be exposed when people think no one’s listening!
  6. Music Lyrics: But don’t cheat. Listen to the lyrics of new music, not your favorites. Try Pandora.com and type in an artist or song title. They’ll suggest several more in the same musical genre. Tell the story behind the song’s story.
  7. Images: Facebook, Flickr, Google Images, photobucket, etc. are great places to browse photos and images and glean mass ideas or prompts for your writing. Try it! Go to Flickr, look up a subject and then randomly select 5 that you can give a title to.

Where are some random places you find ideas for writing? Please share!



Filed under Inspiration, writers, Writing prompts

4 responses to “7 Random Places to Glean Ideas for Your Writing

  1. Voicemails–what a great idea! Your ability to come up with great prompts is one reason I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award today on my shingle. Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Moe

    Another one is street signs, if you are the passenger at least. On a road trip last summer I made a list of a character names based on city and town signs we went through. It was fun and functional. LOL

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