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Write Way: Wide Eyes

Jesse's Nuggets:

  • Don't sweat coming up with brilliant ideas.

  • The best ideas can come from the world around you.

  • Try to "disconnect" long enough to find inspiration around you.

One question I hear more than any other is this: how do you come up with your ideas? Whether it's for characters, stories, settings, or combinations of all three, ideas are occasionally hard to come by, even for the most creative minds.

But I'm not convinced it has to be this way.

Today I'm going to share a few thoughts on how to come up with an idea.

My ideas for stories have come from a wide array of places. For Creepers, my first book, the idea was basically dropped in my lap during a lunch my sophomore year of high school when my friend Austin suggested a "zombie book." From that suggestion, my first two-book series was born.

My third book, Special, was inspired in a different fashion: by keeping my eyes open and watching the world around me.

As you know, the world we live in is one of the most colorful, strange, exciting, confusing place I could ever imagine. That natural buzz of excitement that flows through life, from small diners to crowded city streets of New York City, can be the ultimate fuel for creativity.

So often times, the best writers don't go out hunting for an idea. They go out hunting for groceries and are nearly knocked down by an idea. It might come from the words of a four-year-old to his mother, a squabbling couple, or maybe even from a ridiculous advertising billboard.

The point is, ideas can come from anywhere. We just have to be ready for them, and in the digital world of smartphones, many of us (myself included) spend so much time with our nose buried in snapchat or scrolling through instagram that we miss the true inspiration for writing the flows around us.

Yes, I get that one can use his or her phone to ask google for good writing prompts, but I promise that the best ideas are going to come from viewing the world around with wide eyes. (Besides, if the ideas were that good, whoever thought of them would have written the bestselling book instead of posted the idea, right?)

So if you're struggling to come up with an idea this week, don't sweat it. That's normal. All writers sometimes struggle with creativity. The best writers know they can turn to the world around them to help remedy any creative block.

It's a strange, crazy place out there. We're just blessed to be apart of it.

Happy writing!

- JH

Challenge: Spend 10 minutes people watching this week, be it at a coffeeshop or lunch break at work (don't be too stalker-like though!). Pick one person you watch and try to get inside his/her head, then write a 200 word story or character study about said person finding $10,000 in a lost wallet. What would he/she do?


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