Ideas. Sometimes they seem to sleet from the sky. Other times, a drought descends, leaving you parched for writing topics. Without ideas, there are no queries, no stories, no words, no sales.
This week’s assignment will help you get through an idea drought by generating 100, count them, ideas. Don’t make such a face. It can be done, and you can do it.
First, you’ll need to create what I call a Love List. What’s a Love List, you ask? Simple. It’s a list of things… wait for it… you love. Now, I don’t mean items you consider more than friends but are avoiding an entanglement in a serious relationship. I mean LOVE. If the things on your list disappeared tomorrow, your world would go dim and grim.
Your Love List will need to have at least ten items. You can have more if you like, but not less. If you’re working on paper, leave plenty of space under each item. Take your time. I’ll wait. In the meantime, here’s my list for this week, in no particular order:
2. Acoustic guitar music (playing and listening)
5. Composer Joe Raposo
8. Homegrown Vegetables
9. Outdoor concerts
You’ll notice that I said this was this week’s list. The list, like my tastes, can change on any given week, or day for that matter. The important thing is that the list contains things that you love right now.
Got your list? Okay. Now, brainstorm a list of ten writing topics about each item and jot them beside it. The ideas can be for nonfiction, fiction, essays; they can be goofy, inspirational, or serious. The idea is to stretch your thinking, so turn off the internal editor and write them ALL down.
My Dog list contains these ideas: Grooming, exercise, entertainment, essay about a favorite dog, photographing dogs, great dog movies, choosing a vet, A fictional tale about traveling with a crazy mutt, dealing with carsick dogs, getting a second dog, fencing options…
As you complete the second part of the list, your muse will probably spot a juicy article or story idea, sit up and say “Ooooh, shiny!” but don’t let it run off and start writing until you have completed brainstorming for every topic on your Love List. Ten items apiece — good, bad, or ugly.
When you are done, you’ll have 100 ideas to choose from. Pick the best, discard the rest.
Make this technique part of your regular routine and you’ll never be without a writing topic.
Now… Ready? Set. Write!