Finding Inspiration

Friday, April 18, 2008
by LuAnn Schindler

It seems that prior to quitting my full-time job, writing ideas easily entered my mind.

And now that I'm writing full-time, there are moments when the inspiration folder remains empty. How do I generate ideas? I step back and take a look at the world around me.Here are some surefire ways to jump start the idea machine.

Did you know the Smurfs turn 50 in 2008? Anniversaries can add clips to your file. Check out Chase's Calendar of Events. Available at most libraries, Chase's lists a multitude of anniversaries and holidays in key years: 10, 25, 50, etc. Chase's is a great place to brainstorm! Thanks to this book, I sold a story about turkeys to a regional magazine and a local daily paper.

Any "hot-off-the-press" news in the wonderful world of science can generate ideas. Sites like Science Daily - - offer daily email updates containing the newest research. By subscribing to this type of service, I sold an article concerning Female Athlete Triad Syndrome to a national fitness magazine.

My great-grandfather immigrated from Sweden and my grandmother used to make the best Swedish meatballs. Explore your family's cultural background and you'll find a hope chest of ideas. Or what about the local watermelon festival held each August? How does it impact the regional identification? Festivals, food, and fun associated with cultural events or local color can start a story. I checked into Swedish wedding customs when I got married and that led me to write a series of articles about wedding customs associated with different cultures.

Do you keep a file of ideas, articles, or essays? I admit it: I am a clip freak, constantly cutting articles or essay that intrigue me. I file them away - along with thousands of ideas written on Post-It notes -and bring out that folder every few months to sort through those ideas. The last time I flipped through the congested file folder, I came upon some literature I'd received from my doctor about the benefits of cinnamon. I did some additional research and sold an article to a local newspaper.

Ideas are everywhere, and even when you aren't looking, inspiration will plant the seeds for writing and nurture them until they unfold in front of you.


Anonymous said...

Great tips, LuAnn. Ideas really are everywhere, we just have to look. I especially like the one about exploring family history. That can yield a gold mine of ideas.

Margo Dill said...

This was exactly what I needed when I turned on the computer this morning. Thank you for listing specific places to find story ideas and not just generalizations. I really appreciate this post! Margo

Anonymous said...


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I am a 3 time published author looking to take my writing
and publishing to the next level.

My 3 non fiction books are
A Black Woman Speaks
Coping With Inner-Turmoil
365 Days of Prayer

It will be great to communicate with other women writer.
Looking to freelance as well.
Also looking for an agent.

Let me hear from you

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