Thinking Thursday: Ideas… ???

Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich /

Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich /


“Where do you get your ideas from?”

This seems to be one of my most asked questions. Not just from students either, but other writers too.

I tell them everything! Which I know is a really vague answer, but it’s true.


When my children were small, I would watch their mannerisms and make notes. Listen to what they said and make notes. Paid attention to what they were interested in and made notes. But they are bigger than me now! I still watch children and take notes. They all want to know and absorb information. They are eager to know how to act or how NOT to act in certain situations. As a writer you can approach the same situation in different directions to get different angles on the story. Humor, literal, scary, ridiculous… you name it and the storyline will change.

What Is Happening

Listen to the news, read newspapers and magazines, and see what is going on. Then think… How would a child react to that? What would a child say about that? Is this something a child could relate to?
Stories can blossom out of a bad situation, a friendly situation, an awkward situation.


I love looking at pictures. Some catch my eye (and my brain) and get me thinking. It can be something as simple as a flower. It can be a scene with children in a bathtub. It could be the aftermath of a bombing and a tattered teddybear lays in the street.
Pictures are great jump-starters


Yes, DOODLE! Let your mind go free and create. Sometimes scribbling something on a paper and looking at it from different directions will let you ‘see’ something. Maybe a character? Maybe a setting? Maybe a situation to build on? Letting go sometimes kick-starts your creativity.

I tell students to really use their eyes and ears. Try looking at things from a different angle. Try listening to the underlying meaning to what is said.

IDEAS are everywhere.

We just need to pay attention.

Where do YOU get your ideas?
I would love to find out how you find your nuggets of ideas, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing, how do you get your thoughts out there.

Happy writing!

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