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Monday, April 28, 2008

Finding Inspiration, Part Deux

by LuAnn Schindler

The last time I blogged for The Muffin, I wrote about places to find inspiration. Today, I'm going to offer four more ideas of obvious--but not always utilized--places to find new story ideas.

Consider people you know. Are they an expert on a topic? Make of list of the experts in your life and brainstorm for ideas. A teacher from a neighboring school district is an expert chess player. I asked for his help for a story about teaching chess to kids and--checkmate! I sold a story, along with two sidebars and photos, to an area newspaper.

Take a look at current fads and trends. What's hot in your community? For that matter, what is hot in a particular area you are interested in? A local school funded a 24/7 learning initiative and purchased Apple laptops for all 7 - 12 students. As a former classroom teacher--and a current substitute--I find anything relating to education an interesting topic. I interviewed students, teachers and administrators from the district and had a two-day, four-story feature in an area newspaper.

My daughter works for our state economic development office and she's always giving me good ideas or tips concerning government publications. I checked out the website, and after surfing for a short time, I found a site where you could check out historical buildings in each state. That's when I stumbled upon an early 1900s single-room jailhouse close to where I lived. That article was published in a regional magazine.

I like cheesecake. No, I REALLY like cheesecake. I've made them for fundraisers, for extended family, and sometimes, for us. After making oh-so-many cheesecakes, I've come up with several methods to avoid having the cheesecake top crack. I wrote those methods as a short "how-to" article and sold it to a cooking website.

My favorite way to keep track of ideas is to use Post-It notes. But every writer should have some kind of idea notebook. I have a small memo pad that I keep by my nightstand. In my purse, a notebook with a sturdy cover--purchased from the $1 bin at Target--lets me jot down ideas as they come to me when I'm away from my desk. I keep a small notebook in the glove compartment of the car, too. Because you never when --or where--the inspiration bug will hit!


  1. Great ideas and I love the specific examples. Very motivating! :)

  2. Just call me the Post-It Note QUEEN! I had them stuck all over the place. I even went to the 3M site and downloaded the Post-It Notes Lite program (the free version)--and it wasn't long before I had digital Post-Its all over the display screen of my computer.

    I'm in a recovery program now.

    My name is Annette and I'm a Post-It Note addict...


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