The average writer gets bombarded with ideas from when they wake up until they finally drift off to sleep at night. (Or collapse into some kind of oblivion) It’s simply how that creative mind works. ANYTHING can prompt a new essay, story, or article. And they learn to walk around with an open mind. (Hopefully) But there’s another important source to consider, especially when it feels like the old imagination generator has run dry. And that’s the person’s individual history and life. That’s right: YOU are the best source of new ideas for your writing. Provided you take the time to think and look.
What Makes YOU Tick?
No two people are the same.
Throw a handful in a row boat and put them out on a lake, and each one will report something different. One may comment on the ambient sounds. Another may get lost in the way the light skips over the water’s surface. And a third may blank on the entire natural experience and wander through inner dialogue. How someone responds to a situation depends on their unique makeup.
And that’s built upon their education, experiences, and personality.
The very things you mine when you start to plumb the depths of YOU:
- Favorite subjects in school
- Adored books
- Hobbies (yes, even the ones that only lasted a moment or two)
- Sports, whether extracurricular or “pro”
- Binged shows
- Preferred fandoms
- Go-to restaurants
- Favorite colors
Basically, everything that screams YOU has the potential to create a new writing piece. It’s all source material often overlooked when starting to write. But it’s a gold mine of inspiration. Because no one else will approach it the same way.
Mainly because no one else has lived your life in the same manner.
Thinking Through YOU
When looking back over your life, what first comes to mind?
Your education – or lack therefor? (Never worry about whether or not there’s a diploma on your bookshelves. Some of the most successful writers out there don’t have that so-called impressive credential)
Okay, but what about calls out? (If you happen to have an MFA, sit down) The fact letters trail after your name? Big deal. No one introduces themselves that way. Or is it that it signifies an accomplishment?
Doesn’t your writing do the same?
So look at those classes differently: as fodder for writing material. What appealed about your favorites? The source material? The research? The cadence of the lecturer? Think back over all of those hours spent bent over a notebook. (Not the time spent doodling in the margins – unless that WAS the joy) Where did your heart start racing?
That’s a potential source of a story.
The same works with everything else on that previous list. You love those things for a reason. And those reasons are unique to your perspective. What comes from the depths of your mind, the way your imagination approaches them, won’t mirror anyone else.
So YOU end up being the only one who can write the essay or article.
There’s No One Like Me
I used to panic that I had nothing new to say. Everyone had already said what I wanted to express.
Simply put, I had no new ideas.
Until I started combing back through my life, looking at the different facets of who I was. My experiences. The things I learned in school.
And I found moments no one else could duplicate (good and bad). Such as the time a whale shark walloped me during a dive. (Can you say you’ve experienced that?) Or getting to walk one of the Budweiser Clydesdales to the scale. (They have hooves bigger than a dinner plate!) And let’s not forget seeing a Barnum & Bailey tiger come in for a surgical procedure!
I’ve also lifted my head a split second (0.02 second, to be precise) ahead of another girl during a swim competition – despite everyone assuming I would lose. And wiped out on a knee scooter in front of my co-workers during a post-op recovery for my ankle. And passed out twice in line for a carnival ride (the teacups, to be precise).
It’s all fodder for writing. And if you’re willing to stop a moment and look back over your life, you’ll find inspiration lurking inside of YOU. All it takes is a still breath and the willingness to be open.
So what are you going to write about today?