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Finding Ideas

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 24 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
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No one said writing was easy. Even the most prolific authors can sometimes be stumped for ideas. But if your livelihood depends on new concepts, you need to break through this literary "wall".

When you find yourself at the end of your creativity, where will you turn for help? Fortunately, your muse may be closer than you think.

Check out these fun ways to reinvigorate your mind and recharge your imagination.

Find a Youngster

Nothing inspires more than the stories and mental energy of kids. Truly, they are wired to be innovators, so when you're feeling dry and unmotivated, leave your computer or notebook for a few minutes and talk to or play with a child. Listening to tales of princesses or talking animals or answering profound questions ("Why are mommies girls?") will certainly get your gray matter pulsing.

Pick up the Paper

The newspaper is full of unique stories. There, you'll find daily inspiration in the world news, local community pages, or even cartoons. Scan the want ads and "for sale" classifieds, too. Imagine that you're writing a story about the people who place those advertisements - why, for instance, is a person giving away valuable antiques for free?

Put on Some Music

Listening to tunes - pop, rock, classical, oldies, whatever you're into - can stir up the soul. Play some favourites from your youth and allow your memories to drift back ten, twenty, or even more years to a time long forgotten. Smile, laugh, and cry as you reminisce. Often, such strong feelings will invigorate your worn-out imagination by opening a treasure trove of story ideas.

Go for a Walk

You might just find your muse hiding in the garden or in the antics of your neighbourhood felines. Get out of the house (or the office if you're in a building) and take a 10-15 minute stroll. Smell the odors wafting through the streets; listen to the streetcars or rustling leaves; and experience the moment with attentiveness. Your physical activity will actually spark mental gymnastics, too; plus you'll get some exercise as a nice perk!

Visit the Local Mall

Shopping centres are ripe with opportunities for ideas. If you're a writer in search of a story concept, just head to the place where the teens and young people congregate. You'll find plenty of inspiration there for tales of angst, romance, and intrigue. Besides, people watching is one of the best ways to hone your skills as an observant narrator.

Start Writing

Sometimes, the only way to jumpstart a dead battery is with a jolt of electricity. For you, that could mean forcing yourself to write even if you have nothing to say. Though your ramblings may begin as dull pieces, you may find a kernel of an idea on the pages of notes. Try to write for at least five minutes at a time in a "stream of consciousness" format and see what happens.

By removing the cobwebs and breathing some life into your tired imagination, you'll be ready to pen a brand new short story, essay, news item, or chapter. Use some or all of these helpful hints as ways to relight the literary fire that burns in you.

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