Thursday, September 22, 2011

Looking at a Blank Screen?

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

You’re planning to write…a magazine article, a short story, poem, novella, or novel. But as you stare at the blank computer screen you’re unable to come up with any ideas. Sound familiar? Let’s discuss potential ideas that are just lying at your fingertips or brain-tips.

Have you ever been poor (dirt poor as we say in the South)? If so, remember how you coped; did you have only two dresses for the week of school; no money for a trip to the drug store with those you’d like to befriend? Did you ever have family or friends who were poor? How did they adapt to their necessary lifestyle?

Have you ever been rich—old money or new money? Did you have family or friends who were rich? Did they shun you and look the other way as they saw you? It seems the rich sometimes feel they must act rich, and that usually means turning up their noses at those not in their social circle.

Have you ever been seasick whether from a paddle-propelled wooden fishing boat or a streamlined ski boat or a cruise ship? After paying your hard-earned money for the vacation of your lifetime then getting seasick, how did you feel—physically and mentally?

As a child were you certain that monsters resided under your bed and roamed your room after the lights were turned off? You’d excitedly listened to ghost stories with a group, but now alone in your bed the fear settled over you. How did you work yourself out of that monster mindset?

Did you, a family member, or a friend ever suffer extensively from a debilitating disease? If so, did you see pity in others’ eyes as they offered to help? As you felt the enormity of the disease, how did you get out of bed every morning? Or did you?

Okay, the above are just some scenarios you can draw from to jumpstart your writing. These ideas can be real, which you can fictionalize in your writing. Or they could never have been on your experiences list. When you have an idea, as farfetched as it may seem, write it down; keep a folder for ideas and drop you notes into it. You may never use some of them but they are there in case you need to percolate your writing.

Watch and listen to people in the mall, coffee shop, or grocery store. Stories are all around us almost everywhere we are. If you’re a writer, you can run with these ideas and get inspiration to write your short story or maybe even a novel. It’s worth a try. What can it hurt? If you want to be a writer, brainstorm for ideas and then write.

Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do.  Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.” –Ella Fitzgerald


Till next time … keep on smiling.

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