2011 Finding Ideas

The Daily Post asked for feedback on where we get our ideas from.  There are a number of excellent comments there, ranging from specific themes to being aware of life (best way I can describe it).

I’d been wanting to share for a while how I’m coming up with my ideas and thought now would be a good time to do that.

I use a random word generator to come up with the words, checking to not duplicate something that’s already been used.  Surprisingly, that has happened twice so far.  I generally take whatever comes up – part of the fun is being creative on this.  I scroll through the word types so that by the end of each seven days, a word is picked from each category.

Sometimes the ideas just flow, especially when I’m looking at my photos.  But not always and for that I try the following:

  • Look up the meaning of the word in Wiktionary.
  • Use Wikipedia to get some background information.
  • Look up quotes that use the word.  I might use the quote in my story, sometimes it is just a tool to get my ideas flowing.  My favorite quote place is Brainy Quote, but you can find all kinds of quotes by using Google.
  • Look up the word with Google and just see what happens.
  • Look through my journals for something I may have written with a theme similar to the word (i.e., for the backspace posting, I looked for things I’d expressed regrets about).
  • I haven’t had to do this yet, but if I get really stuck, I’ll brainstorm it with my husband.  He has a good sense of humor and is usually up to making suggestions.  I may not like his ideas, but he’s a good resource to get my brain unstuck.
  • And sometimes I just sit at the table and look out the window to see if the backyard has answers for me :)

Once I get my ideas flowing, I develop them into a story with a beginning and end, as well as an explanation of why it is important to me and what I’d like for my family and friends to remember.  I use the writer’s favorite five W’s – who, what, when, where, and why.  They’re a reliable tool and give good structure to any story.

How do you do it?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

8 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi,
    I like all your fun ideas for finding ideas. I am absolutely new to blogging,(but not to writing necessarily) In writing I discover myself again and again. My ideas come from things, words, events that seem to occur synchronously – like they are calling out to me to write about them. If you’d like to, take a look at one of my posts that captures this process http://thewholeheartedmind.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/hello-world/.
    I really like your site name and theme as well.

    • Thank you! I hope the finding ideas helps you.

      Your blog was great and I look forward to seeing more of it. I left you my words of wisdom on the post you listed above. They’re not much, but I hope it encourages you.

      I have another blog that I intend to repurpose into a writer’s resource at http://www.dogear6.com. I probably won’t do until after the holidays, but you will probably like that as well.

  2. Yes, I have a couple windows that overlook the park next door…the one that is found in much of my work. I was in the upstairs room last night that I had originally set up as my ‘wordspace’ but rarely use it, except to throw paperwork in it that needs to be filed. I thought to myself, this is where I need to be. This is the view I need for inspiration.
    I take my camera with me everywhere. I try to snap some type of shot on a regular basis so when I see ‘the words’ I first go to the day they are related to and try to find one that will relay that word in what ever manner I want. Sometimes I do go to find the various definitions of it. If I don’t have a good pic that day, I look in folders for the days most recently around it and normally find something. ANd yes…sometimes your posts inspire me especially when I get so behind on this. Thank you so much.

    • You’re welcome. Thanks for your thoughtful comments – they encourage me to keep going. I love looking out windows when I work, which is part of why I now work at the kitchen table instead of in an upstairs bedroom.

    • Isn’t that a cool view? It’s a teeny tiny yard, but very private and lots of green to look at. We love to sit out on the deck and just relax.

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