Writing about hidden treasures

Some writers complain that although they want to write, they just don’t know what to write about. In another life (as a classroom teacher) I constantly heard this complaint.

I rarely have this problem. In fact, I usually have far too many things to write about. My problem is choosing which one to write about first.

There are hidden treasures lurking everywhere. You just have to open your eyes to see the possibilities for writing that can crowd in upon you every day.

Start with everyday objects and let your imagination soar:

  1. Make a list of twenty (or 50 or…) objects in your bedroom. Now think about one object and how it came into your life. Change this to a really bizarre story. For example, the photo on the dresser is not your mother; it is the photo of a distant relative who was married to a famous explorer or an infamous mass murderer.
  2. Describe three objects in the room where you are sitting now. Now pick just one of them and imagine you dug it up in the garden. How did it get into your garden, and how is it now influencing your life?
  3. Look in the refrigerator.  Take note of one thing and write about how it came to be there. Give it a life of its own, telling the story of it existence in its own voice.
  4. Go outside and sit in the garden. Write about the one thing in your garden you really like (or absolutely detest). Write a conversation (or argument) between you and the object.
  5. Walk to the nearest park with notebook and pencil. Describe one person you passed on the way. Note how they are dressed – and change their attire into something very usual, like a grandma wearing pirate clothing. Use you imagination and let her sit with you to tell her story.
  6. Visit your nearest shopping center with a notebook and pen and find a seat. Pick out two people in the crowd. Try to imagine what they are saying. Give them new lives, new identities. Let them tell you their story.
  7. Find an old  magazine or newspaper and open it at random, picking out a photo at random. Use the photo as a starting point to your story. For example, if it is a photo of a young man advertising deodorant, imagine him doing something adventurous, or heroic or courageous. Bring the photo – and the subject – to life.

Story ideas are lurking everywhere; you just have to have eyes to see them.

Good writing.


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