What to Write?

So I Looked in a Book

By Annette Rey

Where do you get inspiration when a day seems dry and auto-repeating? I looked in a book for a cue, Great Toasts, by Andrew Frothingham. I found this inspiring quote by Oscar Wilde,

“Work is the curse of the drinking class.”

What writing ideas do you pull from that?

The first thing that came to me is

“Work is the curse of the writing class.”

So, therein lies my message to you today. Work (outside the home and housework) gets in my writing way ALL the time. Then if I am held away from writing for some time, a few weeks(!), my ideas begin to dry up.

What is a quick way for you to open your mind to a new subject about which to write? Here’s an idea that may work for you. Each day, as you are going out the door to go to work, pause and:

1)  Open ANY book! Scan its pages. Your eye will eventually light upon a seedling in that book from which you can grow a bush, or a tree, or even a forest. In a small notebook, note the page number, the line, and the ideas it awoke in you.

2)  Take the notebook to work with you. Whether you work indoors or out, throughout the day there will be an opportunity to open that notebook. Mentally, or if you have a moment to write further, expand on this initial idea. Add details, call on a memory that you can add to the subject. Look around you where you are and pull something from that environment to jot down on the page. You may use that later.

3)  Note the weather where you are right at that moment. Describe it. If you are indoors, focus on the lighting. Is it florescent? Is it depressing? Is the air cool or stifling? What are the scents and odors that assail you? What is your skin touching? A hard chair? Are you a construction worker and while on break you are sitting in the machine you operate? Is it vibrating beneath you? What does that feel like? Rhythmic or chaotic? Think how you can apply that to the idea you pulled from that book in the morning.

4)  Think of different ways you can write about that same subject. Think about inserting humor or writing it completely as a funny piece. Then think about writing it from a sorrowful standpoint. Then turn it into a mystery. If you have time, jot these ideas down.

5)  When you are back at work after your break, your subconscious will work for you as you perform your work tasks.

6)  After work, ideas may be bristling to get on the page. Before you start your car, capture them in your notebook. If you take a subway, you have an advantage. A subway rider should always carry a large notebook. You may complete an entire piece before arriving at your destination!

7)  At home fulfill your responsibilities or if you are so blessed, immediately BEGIN TO EXPAND ON THE MORNING IDEA.

If you make this a daily habit, you will build notebooks of such a variety of subjects you will begin to reference your own ideas and produce articles, essays, short stories, even longer stories that grow into books of your own.

So, if there isn’t time to write because work interferes, there is always time to create your own concrete ideas that will foster written works.

I’ll leave you with this quote to help you think to create a humorous thought of your own. This is from William Butler Yeats:

“The problem with some is that when they aren’t drunk they’re sober.”

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