Spinning Your Wheels? Pull in for a Creative Pit Stop

It’s true, I’ve written about how to write more using slow-cooker creativity and how to spark writing ideas while watching television. I’ve talked about finding great writing ideas before trashing your newspapers, and about writing great openings phrases. I also referred to a post I wrote awhile back, 2 keys to unlimited ideas. I explained observation as the idea of becoming a noticer and a note-taker of everyday things that occur. I also mentioned innovation, which was the idea of taking those observations and turning them upside-down and asking the “What If” questions.

And when you can’t find anything to write about, I’ve encouraged you to at least write a better excuse. I have a permanent tab at the top of my blog called Story Sparklers describing some of the fun tools I use when I need to get my creative juices flowing.

And yet, the question I still get asked the most is: “Where do you get your ideas?” So, today I thought I’d do something a little different.

Writing: Shorts and Stats

Take a creativity pit stop

Here a few things I came up with to put these various principles into practice. Grab an idea, completely free of charge, and write for ten minutes.

Creative Idea #1

In one of the above examples, I used the slow-cooker to relate to the process of idea generation. What other household appliances could you use to describe your process? Explain why.

Creative Idea #2

In “Story Sparklers,” I mention using a picture to launch a thousand words. Find a magazine, newspaper or book.  Pick a photograph.  Do not read anything about the story accompanying the photo. Write for 10 minutes about what is going on in the picture. Read the story afterwards. You’ll be surprised how different your idea is. I also suggested using phrases, headlines and words to spark new ideas.

Creative Idea #3

Think about an ordinary event that happened in the last few days and then craft an extraordinary short story around that event. What unexpected change could happen that would ruin the event. What person could show up to make everything different? What if the weather changed?

Writing - Keys - Notepad

What if your character wrote about you? What would they say?

Creative Idea #4

Take the story you wrote for question 3 and think of a specific product or service that you could sell to one of the characters in your short story. Design a flyer, or write a commercial that would appeal to that character.

Creative Idea #5

What if the same story you wrote for 2 or 3 took place in the Old West, outer space, or under the sea?

What observations would your main character write about your life if they wrote about you for ten minutes?

Creative Idea #6

Take a walk around town; bring a camera and a notepad. Write down ten ordinary things that could be incorporated into a story or an article. Include as many details as possible. Notice conversation topics, unusual dress, and locations. Take as many photographs as possible. Try to fit as many items into one story as you can. Allow your observations and photos to spark several new ideas.

Bonus Photo Idea

Here’s a bonus picture prompt for you.

I just received the package below in the mail. What do you think is inside?

Writing - blog - picture promt

Of course, none of these things will replace the hard toil required to sit down and complete a piece of work. Writing takes practice, time and discipline. It takes working past your difficulties and frustrations if you want to accomplish anything. I realize this. But first you do need ideas to work with. Sometimes you just don’t have enough ideas popping.  I pray this post helps. Let me know below. Now it’s your turn.

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8 comments on “Spinning Your Wheels? Pull in for a Creative Pit Stop
  1. Lynne says:

    Thanks for the share. This post has indeed helped. I do need time to reflect and think about what new ideas I can share in my writing.

  2. Erica says:

    I’ve often found that the problem isn’t so much as coming up with ideas as it is coming up with ideas that your internal editor doesn’t automatically dismiss before you realize you’ve even had an idea.

    In those cases, I’ve found that challenging myself to come up with as many absurd, obscure, strange, impossible ideas I can.

    Another great post, Peter. Thanks!

    • Erica, I love brainstorming. I don’t let the inner editor in on those sessions. 🙂 I also don’t try to eliminate too many ideas. Look at how many people made a living writing wierd, unusual, or out of the ordinary things. Speaking of that did you have any ideas about, “What’s in the box?”

      • Erica says:

        Your future self sent you a package of spare parts to complete your motorcycle time machine and escape the upcoming garden gnome apocalypse. (And people thought it was going to be zombies; you can see them coming a mile away.) Also included a tub of peanut butter, a bath towel that never stays wet and a so-far undiscovered, autographed copy of a lost Ray Bradbury novel that is, oddly enough, made out to someone named “Peter.”

        Sorry but you’re still on your own for shotgun shells; your future self forgot the extra postage. 🙂

  3. Busy, busy Peter, you’re giving a great service, thank you.

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What is Writing?

"A writer looks at a screen or piece of paper like a canvas. They see a country unexplored, a picture unpainted, a tale not told. They dare to venture into the barren land, explore its dark corners, and paint its pictures. Then they unveil the epic with the goal of compelling people to visit their newly discovered territory.”
Peter D. Mallett

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