Inspiration: Do’s and Don’t’s

I am frequently asked how I get my story ideas. The truth is, I don’t get them—they get me. So if you want some ideas to come your way, here are a few foolproof methods.

Do place yourself in a position where you will have absolutely no access to writing tools. (Perched on top of a ladder with a paintbrush in hand is perfect.) A great idea will be sure to find you as long as you aren’t carrying a notepad.

Don’t, under any circumstances, sit in front of your blank computer screen. Ideas hate white space. This is also true for clean sheets of paper. Run from them!

Do keep busy with non-writing related activities. Story ideas like to sneak up on people. Pretend you’re not looking.

Don’t set aside uninterrupted hours to write. This will only send great ideas packing. If someone has offered to take the kids for the weekend, you have set yourself up for a double whammy. You might as well head to the movies, phone a friend, or re-grout the bathtub. No idea is gonna come knockin’ until you start on that grout.

Do plan lots of chaotic activities. Ideas are drawn to chaos: organizing a family reunion for 200 relatives, planning your daughter’s wedding, or hosting the Boy Scout sleepover. If you’re busy, they will come.

Don’t stress about ideas. Stress about life!  A wise bumper sticker once said, Life is what happens while you are making other plans. I say, Ideas are what happen when you are living a life.

So, get a life!

And maybe a few good ideas will follow. 

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