A Little Secret: Finding Ideas for Writing

Now that springtime is here there is something that pulls at many of our souls. It says, “I want to get outside.”

But we have things that need to be done. We have a certain amount of words that we need to get onto the page.

And we come up with reason upon reason that we should stay inside on this beautiful spring day.

Right now, guess what I’m doing? I’m sitting in my room at my desk and looking out the window at the cars going by. I hear birds chirping somewhere out of my sight. But, oh look, there’s a Robin that is hopping along in my grass, looking for grass or food or a new mate. From the window it is as if I am watching the TV. This is no different than placing a documentary into the Blu-Ray player and watching the birds fly through the sky or the groundhog stick his head above his hole.

If I want to make this real, I need to get up and get out there, and I challenge you to do so. Bring your laptop with you.

-I’ll be right back!-


Now, the warm breezes are blowing around me, my dog is playing happily in the back yard—his nose to the ground as he chases birds from his territory—and I can now become a part of the documentary.

On my way to the spot at my swing a bustling little bumble bee clung to my shirt, and I had to wait for him to decide that nectar would be found some other place where the flowers are bright among the grass and sweet succulents come from their petals. I can also see that its about that time to get my lawn mower out, the grass has been hiding Joe’s (my cocker spaniel) frisbie. That doesn’t stop him from finding it and bringing it to me though.

–After a few moments of playing he’s ready to be off and explore again, and I can sit back down to writing. It’s fun, to me, how you can be lost in your words and then a sudden moment like that pulls you away from your computer. It does not hurt your writing if you are in the right mindset. It can even enhance it.

For instance, would you have noticed the wet feel on the frisbie from your dogs happy mouth, or noted how you had to wipe the dirt off your hand before touching your keyboard? Would you have even wiped the dirt off your hand? Does your keyboard suddenly have the telltale signs of having been outside with you for a few moments? Dust, maybe a leaf, or the dirty fingerprint from where you didn’t wipe off your hands?

It’s important to notice these things, because it reminds you how important detail is. How interesting would it be if someone told you that they went outside and wrote this blog, played with their dog, and then came back inside? Well, it could be, but I would rather have the details myself.

And hey, don’t worry, I’m still outside.

-A child’s scream!

Now there is something you wouldn’t expect for a simple trip outside my house.

What kind of scream?

The way it sounded to my ears was filled with happiness and fun, maybe a scream or cry from being tickled by a friend.

But then the writer takes over.

Now, I refer to Stephen King a lot, and that is because he is a very powerful writer, and gives some wonderful stick-it-to-you advice to other writers. I remember very clearly one night when he was being interviewed on TV and said that a writer must ask ‘what if’. What if you went to get into your car at the end of the night and someone was in it? What if you got home and your house wasn’t empty? What if someone was behind the door? What if someone was hiding in your bathroom?

Now, before I scare you away or give you the creeps, this has a point. That childs scream; what if it could have been filled with terror?

See where I’m trying to go?

This is what I mean when I say that little things can make a story come to life.

This is why writers will pull out that napkin from the little metal holder and scribble down notes suddenly at a restaurant.

This is why I love my notepad on my Iphone.

With all the what-if’s a writer is given a choice, and this makes you into a certain type of writer.

So as I sit outside, I can imagine the beautiful warm summer day, the animals and children laughing, enjoying their feelings of happiness.

Or I could turn it into a beautiful warm summer day that takes the turn for the worst, that initiates a scene or a terrifying beginning to a novel.

I could make an in between, add magic, as mystery, take away, add. I can lie.

“Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

What are you waiting for?


Sherri Ann

One comment

  1. I think I’m going outside today. 🙂

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