Friday, February 12, 2016

Looking for a Little Inspiration?

by Deborah Nielsen

I recently read a blog post titled, “The No. 1 Reason New Bloggers Fail (And What to do About It).” The title really caught my attention, being a new blog post-er (not to be confused with being the poster child for Multiple Motorcycle Syndrome). The No. 1 reason is running out of ideas. The solution: jot down ideas when you think about them no matter how wacky they seem, then cogitate on different angles and write those down. Another point was to keep in mind that your post doesn’t have to be the best writing you’ve ever done, it just has to be good enough (defined as having an intro, a middle and a conclusion). You can read the entire post at

Not too different from trying to find good writing prompts, which is what I had started out to post about. But they seem to mesh. Blogging is writing, after all.

 You can find writing prompts, or inspiration, almost anywhere. Sometimes right in front of your nose when you’re not looking.

Take drink cups, for instance. In support of adoption, Wendy’s, late last fall, had hand-drawn stories by adopted children along with a brief written introduction to the story board on their cups. Use that introduction as the beginning for a story, or use the theme, adoption, as the basis for a short story, essay, article, blog post or memoir. And it seems that every Christmas season, there’s a big flap over Starbuck’s annual holiday cups. Use the controversy for inspiration.

Look at your wall calendar. You know, the one with photos of horses or cute puppies or kittens; perhaps it also has inspirational quotes. Make up a story about that cute foal intently looking at those flowers she’s standing in. Know the breed of horse or dog in that photo? Contact the breed association or a nearby breeder to find an angle for a magazine article. Inspiration can be had each month.

Sticking with the calendar, do you notice all the well-known and not-so-well-known holidays listed during each month? In February, there’s Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Ash Wednesday, Groundhog Day, and maybe some others, depending on your calendar. You don’t need to confine your writing to all the sappy sentiments and romantic doings associated with that one day. Love and romance happen all year long. If you’re a history buff, find an event or an associate having to do with one of our presidents and write about that.

If you’re stuck for ideas, just look around you with an open mind. Who knows, ideas may be staring you in the face and you can’t see them. So next time you get a soda or coffee, take a look at the cup. If an idea takes hold, jot it down, then mull it over while you’re sipping that low-fat latte or cherry vanilla Coke.

How do you find writing inspiration?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Good post, Deborah. Those ideas are floating all around us like dandelion fluff, aren't they? I think it's just a matter of paying attention and not trying too hard. Instead of going out to hunt them down like prey, let them come to you. I haven't tried using meditating to lure them closer, but I understand it works.

April Moore said...

I think it's possible to find inspiration in just about any life situation, especially if you're open to it. I keep a small notebook with me at all times to jot things down and I love writing prompts and story starters--something is bound is spark an idea.

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