Cue a rolling of the eyes. But – if you’re up against a blank page and are stuck for words, then reading about how another writer sources their ideas can really be inspiring.
Sure, everyone gets their ideas from different sources, but sometimes, all it takes is for someone to remind us about keeping our eyes and ears open, and considering more than the usual as fodder for writing.
Where do stories come from? The imagination, yes, but that’s helped along by:
- Overheard conversations (we don’t call this eavesdropping – it’s research)
- Stories in newspapers and magazines (you do still read those, right?)
- Our friends and er, family (names changed, of course…)
- Watching complete strangers (not stalking – researching again)
- Reading random signs and messages
- Weird dreams (anyone?)
- Books we’ve read (inspired by, not copied)
- Talks and events
- Pictures and photos
- And much much more…
I visited the Titanic Centre today in Belfast and happened upon a little story on the side of my cardboard cake box (which was used to carry home the leftover cakes from afternoon tea). It was about someone I’d never heard of before, and how she inadvertently saved a boatful of passengers.
I wasn’t even looking for a story, but one found me all the same. Perhaps I could use a snippet of this to inspire a tale of my own. Perhaps it might start me thinking about wily women with knives, or hero characters, or dangerous situations… things I wasn’t concerned about until I spied this powerful little tale.
Stories can be found on the side of your cake box – so if you need a helping hand with the ideas, then take another look around you…