Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Idea Mining for Writers 101 > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Idea Mining for Writers 101

Want to write an article or book, but are stuck for ideas? Here are a few practical ways to awaken that muse.

- Keep a writer's journal. A hardcover notebook will do nicely for keeping entries on a variety of topics including, but are not limited to: problems, daydreams, quotes, bits of conversations from "real life" or your characters, character sketches, anecdotes about you, your family and friends, jokes and quotes that caught your attention, names of books that you plan to read and have read, the newest craze, letters that you wish you wrote to the editor but didn't, reasons why something did or didn't work out, musings about trends, the good old days, cute quotes from the kids, frustrations, interesting stuff that you heard on the radio or TV. For example, I heard about a guy who was shaving his head while driving at 80 mph on the highway and another who was changing his wardrobe while driving at about the same speed on a radio talk show. These tidbits might be great triggers for a short story or novel, especially if you can create answers explaining why and/or how these guys could do that.

- Visit the bookstore. But carry a little notebook and a pen. Then browse, taking note of books whose titles grabbed your attention. What else would these books' audiences appreciate knowing? What bestsellers attracted your attention? What are the names of the newest magazines? What aisles haven't you explored yet? What kinds of books do people seem to pick up and read? What book might you have been looking for, but couldn't find? Did you ask the bookstore's customer service about ordering it? And while you were at it, did you remember to ask the sales associate if books like that are popular?

- Take inventory of your life and experiences. Where did you go to school? What were your best and worst subjects? What kinds of jobs have you held? What subject did you major in and what degrees did you earn? What do you love to do and would do it for free? What are your hobbies? What sports do you enjoy? What do you do especially well? What kind of work experience do you have? What were your favorite jobs? What were your least favorite jobs and why? What problems did you and your colleagues solve? Were you ever fired? Are you working now? Are you an entrepreneur? What clubs and associations have you joined? Are you married or single? How many children do you have? Have you ever traveled, and if so, where?

As you take inventory and gather information, think about who else would be interested and why. While you are at it, make a list of possible audiences, such as bosses, colleagues, friends, lawyers, teachers, and so on. Give yourself time to think about what you have and how you can capitalize on it. Create a few titles just for fun, then choose one that excites you the most and start freewriting. Who knows? You may be creating that next article or book!

Dorothy Zjawin has capitalized on her teaching experience and has had 30 articles published by Instructor and a book, Teaching Ideas for the Come-Alive Classroom published by Parker Pub. Co./Prentice-Hall. Her website, http://www.profitable-pen.com, has other ideas and a free forum. Have a question about writing? Feel free to contact Dorothy!

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

The New Yorker (satire)

I've Quit Writing Personal Essays About Quitting Things: A Personal Essay
The New Yorker (satire)
Before I pioneered writing personal essays about quitting things, people simply quit things and maybe told their friends and family about it. They didn't quit things as fodder for an overlong essay that seventy-four people will read on Medium. Then I ...


Washington Post

Writing a seller a letter can sometimes make or break a home purchase
Washington Post
Writing a courtship letter to win the favor of a love interest is considered old-fashioned in modern society, but those letters are alive and well in the quest to seal a real estate deal. Not all real estate agents, however, agree that they are helpful ...


The San Diego Union-Tribune

Olivia: Student searches for self in writing
The San Diego Union-Tribune
At the start of her junior year, Olivia Ralph found a way to address her uncertainties about her self-identity: writing. “I felt like a stranger inside my own body,” she said about the pressure to conform with her peers. “I pushed myself to become ...


The New Yorker (satire)

Little-Known Writing Residencies
The New Yorker (satire)
Several promising writers will be awarded their very own, partially furnished rooms flanked by never-ending hallways in Kafka House. The house's layout prohibits contact with anyone else, providing the quiet necessary for nervous breakdowns. Select ...


The Union Leader

Silver Linings: Care crisis inspires woman to take action, writing book of brass-tacks advice
The Union Leader
Silver Linings: Care crisis inspires woman to take action, writing book of brass-tacks advice. By ROBERTA BAKER New Hampshire Union Leader June 24. 2018 10:08PM. Laurie Verrill, left, a caregiver with Seniors Helping Seniors, plays Scrabble with Edna ...


San Angelo Standard Times

Looking back, writing 'Windmill Country' has been quite an adventure
San Angelo Standard Times
In the fall of 2006, I started writing the Homestead stories for the Sunday edition. It became the longest series of my 50-plus-year newspaper career with more than 500 stories. (Five books containing those stories are still available in area bookstores.).


Hyperallergic

Mirtha Dermisache's Writing Is a Rorschach test
Hyperallergic
Since the 2012 death of Argentine artist Mirtha Dermisache — who was known but underappreciated in her lifetime — her legacy has steadily consolidated as her work, which straddles the line between writing and visual art, receives posthumous attention.


Backstage

The Secret to Writing + Producing Your Own Content
Backstage
One of the greatest tools actors have is the knowledge of how to build a character's backstory. But all too often, we stop there. As actors, we are, first and foremost, storytellers. So why aren't more of us producing our own content? There's a moment ...


Fox 59

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name pulled from award because her writing includes 'stereotypical attitude'
Fox 59
CHICAGO — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.

and more »

Reader's Digest

The Unexpected Life Lesson This Grandmother Learned While Writing Her Memoir
Reader's Digest
A note about the author (by her granddaughter, network news producer Allison Arlene Hansen): Not long before she died, I sneaked away for a Grandma sleepover. A character who was always full of surprises, she motioned me to her beloved writing ...

Google News

Whats Missing in your Nearly Finished Book?

Bookcoaching clients come to me at different stages of writing... Read More

Frequently Asked Questions from Writers

1. What Is A Premise?A premise is the point you... Read More

Turning Your Journal Into An Idea Bank

A few magazines refer to their written idea sources in... Read More

Writing Made Them Rich #4: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho was born on August 24th 1947 in Rio... Read More

Writing Helpful Help ? A Minimalism Checklist

User documentation is all too often written by programmers for... Read More

Idea-Mining for Writers, 102

As many authors are fond of stating, "Ideas are all... Read More

The Best Freelance Job Boards for Writers

How many times have you checked out a job board... Read More

Is Now the Time for a Play about the War in Iraq?

Everone knows that comedy is mostly about timing. If you... Read More

When Getting Stuck Goes Amuck

Many of us have always wanted to write. We have... Read More

Voice in Narrative and Dialogue - A Contrast of Writing Styles

One of the nice things about being an author is... Read More

Planning Time To Write

In his book, "Achieving Financial Independence as a Freelance Writer,"... Read More

The Iniquitous Slip

All the famous writers I heard of could paper the... Read More

The Makings of a Personal Essay, Really

Sometimes I can be dense when it comes to realizing... Read More

Recipe for a Style Guide

Wired Online has recently announced its plans to drop capitalization... Read More

Strategies For Finding Topics To Write About

What possibly could I have to write about? I never... Read More

Writers Block is No Longer a Problem

"If you're like me, than I'm sure you're pretty familiar... Read More

What Does It Take To Make Your Memories Into Publishable Memoirs?

Why should you consider creating a memoir of your personal... Read More

How To Write Your Way To A Fortune

We've all seen those ads that grab our attention and... Read More

Taking the Free Out of Freelance Writing

When you run an online agency for freelance writers, editors... Read More

Do You Know What A Plot Is?

Creative Writing Tips ?What a plot is and what a... Read More

Writing With Power: 5 Snappy Rules For Success

Almost everyone could profit from enhancing their writing skills. From... Read More

Ten Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

1. Set aside a time to write and keep it... Read More

Nonfiction Idea Generators

The hardest part of nonfiction writing is finding a subject... Read More

Mixing and Mingling: The Door to Publication?

Mixing and mingling with industry professionals is an opportunity that... Read More

Effective Editing: It Spells the Difference!

If you think proofreading equals editing, then you're wrong! Editing... Read More