Loisanne's Blog

The meandering path of my life

Weekly Writing Rant : What To Write?

How do we decide what to write? When we sit down with pen and paper or at the computer, where does our inspiration come from? Do we pick our stories or do they pick us? I think it’s a little of both.

As writers, I’m sure we all have an unlimited supply of ideas whirling around in our heads. Where do they come from? How do we choose which of those ideas to write about? Some people use their dreams as inspiration. Others draw on their life experiences. Some spend their time thinking up new, exciting worlds and characters from scratch. A lot depends on the genre you write. It’s all good.

So what gets your creative juices flowing? What starts the story process for you? Is it a particular plot, maybe an endearing character or striking setting that gets you thinking about a new story? We all have different motivators. What about those times when we have no motivation? All our ideas seem old and stale. We want something new, fresh, different.

Writing prompts can be the solution. Whether you’re looking for an idea for a novel or just trying to break through the writer’s block of a particular scene, writing prompts can help.

There are several different types of writing prompts. Some focus on “scenarios” like, ‘describe a room from the point of view of a blind person’ or ‘write about someone you would love to see put in jail’. While you may not actually write about those things, the 300 + list of prompts provided by Creative Writing Prompts is definitely worth looking at. Another good site that all writers are probably familiar with is Writer’s Digest. They have great prompts and much more.

Another type of writing prompt is pictures. Depending on what you’re writing about, a simple picture of tree in a meadow can yeild forth such ideas as ‘fairies that live in the tree’ to ‘a terrible tragedy of someone being killed there’ to ‘sentient trees being gateways between worlds’. Creativity Portal has a picture generator that gives you a picture a day for every day of the year. If you really want to delve into picture prompts, Renderosity could be the site for you. It’s huge galleries of user submitted digital pictures and 3D graphics are sure to have pictures that would stimulate any imagination for any genre.

Another interesting idea that I got from a writing group leader was writing prompt envelopes. You take 4 envelopes and label them “character”, “prop”, “setting” and “dialogue”. Next, you take slips of paper and write various things on them and put them in the appropriate envelopes. The group leader typed her lists, printed them out and then cut them apart. When you’ve finished filling your envelopes you can then pick one item from each of the envelopes and use them in a story. Sometimes it took a little thinking to find a way to include all four.

There are lots of ways to get those creative juices flowing. Try talking to different people about one particular subject that is relevant to your story. Do some people watching. I’ve spent some enjoyable time sitting on a bench outside of the style center in Walmart just watching people walk by. Daydreaming can be a profitable way to spend some time as well. I’ve had exciting epiphanies about my story while at work, on lunch break, staring out the window. You never know when you might get inspired.

That brings me to my next point. Always, ALWAYS, keep a  notebook handy. You never know when an idea might occur to you. If you’re anything like me, you know how easily it could disappear without a trace if you don’t capture it on paper. It’s happened to me many times. I now take my notebook with me everywhere.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Now go forth and CREATE!


December 21, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. I sacrifice a chicken or goat, dance at the full moon, then orient my pen like a lightning rod. 🙂

    Comment by Savvvy | December 22, 2009 | Reply

    • :::scratching head::: Interesting. My sister has chickens…LOL. When is the next full moon?

      Comment by loisanne67 | December 22, 2009 | Reply

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