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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finding Inspiration - Again

by LuAnn Schindler

Need help finding inspiration for stories or articles? Here are four additional ways to jumpstart your creative muse.

Sure, you don't want your inbox flooded with junk email, but by subscribing to various e-newsletters, you should be able to find a wealth of information that leads to inspiration. I have been trying to break into the food writing market. I subscribed to several cooking newsletters from reputable sites, including Chef 2 Chef and Hungry Girl. The leads, and in some instances, the discussion boards, have offered a bounty of ideas. I even started writing a food blog that includes a specific food for each entry and shares the history of the delicacy and recipes.

Travel writing can be a tough market to break into, but consider traveling the area you live in. Consider how your travels fit other genres, too: restaurant reviews, human interest stories, a historical overview of an event or place. Visiting new or even older establishments in your town or state can spark all kinds of ideas. In a town I formerly lived in, there is a manufacturing plant that makes the yard flags that utility companies use to mark water lines, utility lines, etc. They are the largest manufacturer in the world. A quick phone call and a tour of the plant led to an article that was featured in a regional magazine and a large pay check.

Is there a college or university located near your residence? Check out the website and sign up for press releases. When you consider the variety of events that occur on campus, you have a good chance of finding something that sparks your interest for an article or story. A faction in the local university's agriculture department led me to an article about the poultry industry.

Consider nonfiction as a spark. I like to look through the history books when I visit bookstores, and while thumbing through a book about jazz, I discovered a singer from my home state. After digging a little deeper, I found out she grew up in a small town not too far from where I resided. That inspiration led to a story about this jazz singer and also opened the door to additional articles with the magazine who bought the singer's bio.

Inspiration is everywhere. The power of observation and curiosity can lead you to your next story.

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