Where Ideas Come From by Donna

One of my favorite Vancouver spots
Chasing an idea is like trying really hard to go to sleep. The harder you try to capture it, the more it eludes you. Maybe that's why ideas tend to come when you are doing routine things.

Like showering.

I have the best, most original, story ideas in the shower. I don't have a clue why. Doesn't seem like shaving your legs and washing your hair would lead to any brilliant mental revelations, but it seems to work for me. I should purchase some of those wash off crayons they have for kids to color with in the bath, but so far I've been able to dry off enough to get something down on paper before I forget.

Driving also seems to work for me. Especially when I'm stuck. The other day I was driving home (a very familiar route) and found myself working out a plot problem in my head. Suddenly, I realized I was in a completely wrong part of town. I'd missed my turn some way back and it took me several minutes to realize where I was and how to get back. I don't necessarily recommend this kind of driving, but I did figure out the plot issue.
Vancouver view from my writing bench

Story ideas also come to me from news headlines. I wonder what happened before the headline and what happened after. I wonder how this news story impacted the families involved and what happened years later. I wonder why people are interested in the story and what made it news. I wonder. And wondering is a great start for ideas.

Sometimes I just need a complete change of scenery for the ideas to flow.  I recently returned from a business trip to Vancouver.  Every morning I left my hotel room early to walk along by the water.  The views were so amazing, I'd often find myself an empty bench and scribble away the time - just me, my notebook, and a hot cup of coffee.

My wish for you this week is for amazing ideas to appear in unexpected places.  Don't look to hard for them.  They might arrive when you least expect it.


I agree with you on all these points... especially when driving around, usually getting lost. I find myself focusing on individual ideas and stories about who lives in that house, or who owns that store, or why that woman is running to her car. Being curious is definitely a good way to get ideas. Just sitting down and watching people (as non-creepy as possible) has always brought me a lot of inspiration. Especially conversations you hear everywhere! In the grocery store or in line at the post office, people talk about themselves and their problems and it makes you want to know more, even if it's just about picking up the kids after work.

Great post, thanks for sharing!

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