Fishing For Ideas; or, Brainstorming 101

(This posting originally appeared on The Melt-Ink Pot)

So it’s Tuesday, and I still haven’t written last Thursday’s Melt-Ink Pot posting. I have what I think is a good excuse: My Beloved Husband and I spent all of last week off on a road trip to celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss. And while you’d think a road trip would offer lots of inspiration and plenty of time for writing, the truth of the matter is that even if I hadn’t been the one doing all of the driving, I’d still have been pretty busy gawking and trying to run the GPS and fiddling with the iPod, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten any writing done anyway. Having cable TV in our motel rooms didn’t help, either. Wow, is the Food Network distracting or what?

So here I am, back home, at my desk, in my home office, staring at a blank screen and wondering where I’m going to find an idea this week.

Which brings up the question of where I get my ideas for this blog, anyway.

The answer is that ideas can come from just about anywhere. Sometimes, I have a “eureka!” moment while either writing or editing one of my several works in progress, and I feel a need to share that. Sometimes it’s something that comes up at work. A few weeks ago, it was a line from a movie that I saw, and before that, a book I was reading.

When I get really desperate, I ask my Beloved Husband. Who, one must admit, nearly always responds with the ever-useful, “I dunno.” But it’s surprising to me how often the mere act of asking him for an idea causes my brain to spontaneously come up with one.

Today, however, I resorted to truly desperate measures. I called up my Twitter feed — the vast, howling, unfiltered one that would eat my soul if I let it — scrolled down thirteen screens, and scanned for an inspiration.


Thirteen more screens.

Still nada.

Come on, Twitter, don’t fail me now!

Thirteen more screens.

Aha! A link telling me how to improve my writing. I follow it, eagerly…but there’s no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.

But wait! All is not lost! A list of other blog entries down the right side of the screen contains the word, “Brainstorming”.

And I’m off and running!

Of course, while I’m in the middle of composing this entry, the CD drive of my computer bumps against my leg as it auto-ejects the CD I’m currently ripping, and I find myself thinking, “Good music for writing, that could be an entry…”

Think I’ll just tuck that one away in my “ideas” file for next week’s entry…which is, after all, due the day after tomorrow.

It’s odd–or perhaps it’s not, actually–but I find that ideas seldom travel alone. So once I’ve come up with one, finding one or two more usually isn’t difficult. Remembering to write them down, or at least keep track of them somehow* is another matter entirely.

And so are the rules for safe brainstorming. Which I also think I’ll save for later. See how productive this entry has been?

What strange sorts of places to you look to find ideas?

* I often use private entries on my LiveJournal for this–and there’s another topic for another week, “Ways To Use A Blog As A Writing Tool,” see how easy this brainstorming thing is once you get going?


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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