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Finetune your instincts for spotting writing ideas

I was inspired when I read my blogging partner Carol’s post yesterday about where writers find ideas. In fact, her post gave me the idea for this post. It made me think about where I get my ideas for poems, stories, and freelance articles. I think it’s possible to finetune your instincts for recognizing story ideas. Practice listening to the inner voice, the feeling in your chest when you hear something that pings your consciousness and tells you that you’ve found something you need to write about.

In case it helps, I’m sharing some of my ideas and how I found them.

Poem, “Bird Man.” This idea came from an encounter with an elderly man in the bread aisle at the grocery store.

Poem, “Archeology.” The process of packing and moving from one place to another sparked this poem.

Nonfiction article, “Artistic Fire.” A co-worker told me about how several glass blowers had congregated on Washington state’s Whidbey Island because they rely on each other’s help to create their art. The conversation led to writing a profile about one of the glass blowers who is internationally recognized for his art.

Short story, “Leftovers.” My mother related an incident about a distant relative and some unusual family dynamics, and I knew I had the ending to a story I would write.

Sometimes all it takes is a snippet of a conversation, a phrase, or an observation of people interacting in a public place to spark an idea. And I find that the more I recognize those moments, the more they appear.

For more insight, read Carol’s post, How to riff your way to more ideas.

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