Where do ideas come from?

“I would write, but I have nothing to write about. Where do you get all of these ideas?”

They come from … anywhere. Everywhere. I just need to pay attention.

The guy we see sitting at the bus stop on our way to school every morning.

Three people who made different comments about the same event.

Seeing a parent do something to or for their kid that triggers an emotional response, whether good or bad.

Tangents from things I’m already writing.

Writing prompts from a variety of places.

Memories on social media.

Experiencing something somehow differently than usual … or noticing the same-ness.

Something my kid said or did.

An idea or a phrase from a book or a video or a podcast or a conversation, whether mine or overheard.

What’s interesting to me is that the people who ask are invariably people who can tell stories for days—they just don’t write them down.

Sometimes my inspiration yields a page or two nearly instantly. Sometimes, I make some notes in my “ideas to write about” file. Sometimes I start to write and hit a dead end and leave the unfinished piece for later. Sometimes I have the whole thing written except the end and it sits and stews that way for a while. If the end isn’t organic, I struggle with it.

There’s not a linear path to doing the writing, and it feels like every day is different, but there’s no shortage of ideas. The more I write, the more I have to write. The first day back at writing after not writing for two or three days is the hardest. Just like the first day back at running or the first day back at eating well. Taking a breath is sometimes necessary but I can’t hold that breath too long. 

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