I read about this idea somewhere when I was searching for something else awhile back, as I’m quite fan of Google, finding myself there at least a dozen times every day, or so it seems.
I thought this would be a good thing to share on the blog. As writers, we are always looking for story ideas. The mind, being what it is, takes in things around us even though we don’t realize we’re absorbing this information sometimes. I’m talking about ordinary life here, not something we are deliberately trying to learn.
Whether we realize it or not, we notice things everywhere we go in our daily life, it could be to the coffee shop, market, driving down the highway, as we observe things around us, they stick with us as ideas to call up later, if we are lucky enough to remember everything. As we write, these things will jump out at us, perhaps it’s a conversation we overheard, or the mannerisms of someone we noticed while out. We can use all of this stuff in our writing.
If you’re like me, you may be reading a book, watching a TV show, talking to a neighbor and all of a sudden, a great idea will hit you that will work into a story you’re working on. I keep notepads and scraps of paper all over the house, in my car, in my purse or pocket, etc. that I use for jotting down ideas when these moments strike. Of course, I don’t use all these ideas right away because they are all over the place and won’t fit into the same story, however they are great fodder for future stories, so generally they work their way into a notebook that I keep for writing projects. This notebook is full of ideas and descriptions, bits of dialogue, some of it dating back a few years.
The notebook works, however, I think if it’s a great idea to keep them in a box. You could scramble the box now and then and pull one out to use as a prompt if you are stuck in your writing. This is kind of an intriguing and fun idea, reaching into a grab bag, pulling out a surprise, or even two, and combining them to make a story. If you don’t already have a system like this, here are a few ideas for starting one. You can purchase an inexpensive box, bowl, or pot at any craft store, or perhaps even a dollar store.
Here are places to get ideas for your story box:
*Looking around you, observing people, nature and things
*Talking with people around you
*Looking at pictures
*Considering your own experiences in life
*Eavesdropping – intentionally or unintentionally
Don’t dismiss any of this because it might not sound like a good idea at the time, but it might be just what you’re looking for later, so jot it down and put it in your box.