The Great Search for Writing Ideas

Where do writers get ideas?

Ideas are like men or money–they always come when you already have plenty.  The more you tend them, the more they multiple.  Ideas beget ideas.  The more ideas you have, the more you’ll get.

Okay, I’ve repeated myself enough, you get the picture.  In order to start the idea train rolling, I encourage every writer to begin an idea book, a place to corral all the things you think about and forget because you didn’t write them down. 

If you write in a journal or write morning pages, you can use that for ideas, if you like.  However, I like the idea of a separate book, because I’m convinced that when I close the cover of my idea book the ideas jump off the page, yell "Party!" and then, just as at all those wild parties of your youth, crazy things happen.  Things like procreation.  And then a whole bunch of little idea babies are hatched.  And besides, it is an act of kindness to let your ideas have their fun.

I recently learned of a variation on the idea book theme from my coach, Tess Daniel.  She told me about a question book, and it is the coolest thing ever.  Choose a journal or spiral, preferably one small enough to carry around with you.  On the left-hand side of the journal, you write a question.  On the right-hand side, you write the answer. 

This sounds ridiculously simple but there is something almost magical about asking the universe a question because, by God, you get an answer.  You can use this technique for writing questions (What happens next in my novel?) or self-inquiry (How can I best contribute to the world?) or any variation that occurs to you (What is the meaning of life?)

Try it and see.  I’m convinced it is a technique that can benefit every writer.

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