For the first time in my life, this is something I’m struggling with. Normally, I can sit down in any one day and come up with plots for stories, ideas for characters, you name it, and end up with a couple dozen.
But that is with fiction. Since joining blogs and creating a couple of my own, I find myself wracking my brain, trying to come up with a topic to write about. While I often think of several, most of them seem dull, uninteresting, and likely to produce a few yawns here and there if, that is, anybody finishes reading whatever I’ve written.
I thought about this, worried about it, and finally made a decision. Whether it’s good or bad, time will tell. However, even if it doesn’t produce a lot of ideas for articles, it will do something, i.e., get me away from too many hours in front of my computer.
I never thought I’d say that but, in the past couple months, I’ve realized that lack of variety in my day could well contribute to a corresponding lack of ideas. Some writers go for walks when they hit a block. I can’t do that (half a block wouldn’t be near enough and that’s my limit). So, I decided to go to do some volunteering.
I now volunteer (work) every Friday afternoon for the company I retired from, DARTS, a local nonprofit organization providing both social services and bus service for seniors and the disabled. I ended up on the phones, which is exactly what I did when I worked there. So, where’s the inspiration? What happened is that, since I was in a different department, the social services, I was able to interview a couple people which, in turn, gave me a “new” job for my protagonist in my cozy series.
With that in mind, I contacted another organization, one that was wholly formed by volunteers, though that is no longer the case. It provides services for local people, not just seniors, provides transportation via auto for people who otherwise have no way to get to an important appointment, plus other such services. They also have a second hand store and the company also has the largest food shelf in the metro area.
I’ve only “worked” there one time so far, interviewing volunteers, and already have a list of ideas for both my blogs and my fiction. One of the staff members has asked me to come up with an article concerning the problem of low income parents during the summer. In other words, parents who rely on the schools to feed their children. When the staff member talked about this, my immediate reaction was that I couldn’t think of a single thing to write. I had no idea of a theme. Then, when she changed the subject to something else, I remembered the story about the old woman who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
By the time I went home, I not only had the entire article planned, along with some drawings, I also had plots for a middle grade story, a YA book, and a romantic suspense for adults.
And of course, simply taking on that responsibility gave me the idea for this blog article. Whether or not anyone will want to read it is another matter. What I’d really like to do is to travel to such places as Paris, Australia, you name it. I guess I have to do that in my mind.
What do any of you do for inspiration, and how often do you find yourselves wondering what the heck you’re going to write about?
Joan K. Maze