Idea-Mining for Writers, 102


As many authors are fond of stating, "Ideas are all around!" when asked to be more specific. Well, in a way, that's true. Ideas ARE all around. You just have to know how and where to look for them. If anything, you will have to read like a writer.

Reading like a writer means focusing on items that catch your attention, make you wonder, or make you angry or happy. So after you've read the paper or a magazine, don't throw it out or put it aside yet. If that paper or magazine belongs to you, go back and mark or clip stuff that caught your attention and held it. Perhaps you read the entire article or skimmed it for information that mattered to you.

Chances are that you may have come across a sentence or paragraph that stated an idea much too briefly in passing. But there was something about it that engaged your curiosity and for a few seconds, raised questions. Perhaps you felt that it was too bad that the author did not explain his or her idea just a little further. Pay attention because this may be just the idea that you can develop into an article, story or book with more research.

At this point, consider clipping or highlighting that idea trigger and save it. You can do this by pasting or taping it on a blank notebook page and writing your questions and ideas below it.

Books, journals, pamphlets, fact sheets and even references are full of interesting stuff that can spark ideas. Of course, you will not be able to clip or highlight all of them, but no matter. Jot the idea trigger down, along with the name of the source and page numbers, if possible. If you need to refer to that source again, you will be able to locate it by looking at your notes.

And while you are at it, remember to take a look at your own published and unpublished articles and book manuscripts. As you reread, focus on seemingly little things that could have been expanded a bit more. For example, maybe you can grow that unpublished article into a book!

Another good source is that magazine or book subject that you've only been mildly interested in, but didn't look at again. Even if you're not "into" subjects such as RVs, astrology or mechanics or skiing, you might find it useful to at least skim magazines on those topics. How can one of those given topics be connected or related to your favorite activity or interest? And who else might be interested in it, or at least have problems understanding it or its implications? And be sure to peruse magazines such as Mother Jones, Utne, Harper's, and Atlantic Monthly. You'll notice stuff that may or should concern people, but isn't getting a lot of attention --- yet.

By the time you're finished, you will have accumulated a number of ideas to write about. I can almost guarantee it! Happy hunting, reading and writing!

Dorothy Zjawin, a published writer, has included more ideas in her website, http://www.profitable-pen.com


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
5 Reasons People Like Technology White Papers
A good white paper is a paper that makes you look good.You look good when your white paper makes sense, when it's readable, when it concentrates on benefits and examples, and when it's easy to get.
Piecing It All Together
There's a little known secret we writers like to keep to ourselves, because we fear that if word got out, readers would immediately become disillusioned and abandon us. It's not as bad as a reviewer spoiling a twist in the plot of a book, I suppose.
Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 3 of 6
ELICIT, ILLICITElicit means to extract or draw out; illicit means not legal.EVERYONE, EVERY ONEEveryone means every person in a group; every one means each person and is always followed by "of".
Does Each Element of Your Story Further The Theme?
Creative Writing Tips -Whichever theme you choose, all the elements, which make up your story, dialogue, conflict, scenes, etc should be written with the theme in mind.Your theme should progress the story.
The Daily Rite
If you want to be a writer, then you must write - you must write something every day.If possible, have an established time to write every day.
Whats Missing in your Nearly Finished Book?
Bookcoaching clients come to me at different stages of writing their books. The ones who start from ground zero with a coach and learn what goes into each chapter to make it more readable and sell better.
Rules for Getting the Story Down
1. Write it fast, fix it later.
Character Motivation - Always Ask WHY
For many years, I've been a tutor for students undertaking courses in writing romance, crime or children's stories. In that time, I've marked thousands of assignments.
Autobiography: Installment No.3
ESSAY 3Writing an autobiography involves a matching up of a specific plot-structure with a set of historical events. The autobiographer wishes to endow these events with a particular meaning.
Is Your Title Compelling?
Short Story Writing Tips:Your title is your selling tool. It's the first thing readers will scan and contemplate whether to read your story.
How To Write to a Word Count
You've finished your story, and you're pretty happy with it. The plot is gripping, the characters are lively, and the pace zooms along.
How Are You Plotting?
Creative Writing Tips -Writing is a creative process and how every writer chooses to create, is individual to them. Likewise, with plotting, every writer plots at a level they are comfortable with.
Plotting Problems - Episodic Writing
The rejection letter says: "Your story, on the surface, appears to be well-told and has appealing characters. However, the writing is episodic; the story lacks direction.
To Outline Or Not To Outline
Ah, the age-old writer's debate--to outline or not to outline?Outlines have proven quite effective for a lot of writers, and many of the famous stories we know and love--such as Star Wars--were outlined before they were fleshed out into a living, breathing story. (Well, metaphorically living and breathing, anyway.
New Authors Publishing Options
All your publishing options are as follows:--Conventional publishing--Vanity or subsidy publishing--Print-on-demand publishing--Self-publish yourself--Get help with self-publishingLet's compare the publishing options.How to get in the publishing process and how long will it take to see your book printed?Conventional publishing optionIt is a very long and difficult process to get a publisher even if it is at all possible for a new author.
Writing Business Letters That Get The Job Done
Despite the widespread use of e-mail in commerce today,traditional business letters are still the main way that the majority of businesses officially communicatewith their customers and other businesses.This is especially true when businesses want to formalizean agreement or an understanding.
When Getting Stuck Goes Amuck
Many of us have always wanted to write. We have all gotten writer's block.
The Cost of Being a Writer
You are the only one who knows what being a writer means to you.You are the only one who knows whether you consider it to be a career, or a pleasant hobby.
Are Writing Exercises Effective?
It was reported that the great American author Sinclair Lewis was once asked to give a lecture on writing to a group of college students: "Looking out at this gathering," he said to the assembled students, "makes me want to know how many of you really and truly wish to become writers?" Every hand in the room went up. Lewis looked at them for a moment and then folded his notes and put them away.
Planning Time To Write
In his book, "Achieving Financial Independence as a Freelance Writer," Ray Dreyfack, a full-time freelancer for 30 years, suggests that writers "ease" into full-time writing while maintaining their day jobs. If you're following this advice, either by choice or by necessity, you know that it's not always easy.

Home | Articles Site Map