You want to believe it, don’t you?
Or maybe you don’t. Perhaps you think that good ideas can only come through hard work. Nope. That is how the article, book, or story comes to life. Ideas come from everywhere. You probably have a notepad by your bed, and carry one when you go somewhere. Why not include having one while watching television?
At one time, you had to watch the news at 6:00 pm or miss the news. Not anymore. Now, there is the 5:00 pm broadcast followed by the 6:00 pm news and then World News at 7:00 (you get the point). News media outlets have to report on about 10 times the amount of stories than in the past. This is great news for you (pun intended). One thing they rarely do is cover it in detail, but it can give you a starting point. Don’t listen for the top stories only; listen to health reports, product recalls, local news, scientific breakthroughs, odd items, and human interest pieces. Two unrelated stories may get you thinking. What if that fleeing fugitive developed a product that was recalled because of health problems? He’d sunk everything he had into the original model. Now he’s committing petty theft to try to raise enough money to develop a new prototype.
These programs show us people interacting at their best and worst. Think about the show afterwards. Consider how you could twist the circumstances to create a different story. You can also let them remind you of experiences you’ve had. Look at the places, characters, and styles of dress. There are times I’ve watched a show and thought, “It would never have happened like that.” Write it the way you think it would.
Extreme Challenge Shows
The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, and The Apprentice are just a few of the hundreds of challenge shows to come along in recent years. While I don’t usually watch this type of format for long, these shows are fast paced, emotional, and are often set in odd locations that might get some creative juices flowing.
Quiz and Puzzle Shows
If you turn on Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, you may also turn on inspiration. Some studies even suggest that puzzles, games, and other stimulating activitiescan help older people keep sharp minds. Think about it. A story develops in much the same way you solve a puzzle. First you have a few pieces, and then you develop it a little more. You begin to see the bigger picture, and before long you’re finished.
Doing something with your hands is a proven way to get your mind moving creatively. However, watching an instructional program about felting wool, fixing a leaky faucet, or restoring furniture can also work. Watching this type of programming allows you to take in new information, understand how stuff works, or see how you can re-purpose something you were going to trash (like your writing).
This is yet another way that you can find ideas almost anywhere and keep writing in all kinds of weather. So don’t feel guilty if you need to take a writing break, but don’t forget the notepad by your side. I might be watching the news soon and hear about how you came up with newest extreme comedy game show.
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