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Jobs, Hints, Tips, Tricks and Anecdotes for Editors

Archived Issue # 01, May 6
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What Should I Write About?: Catching Your Elusive Muse

Written by Geoffrey

What are good story ideas? Where do they come from? Is there an angel of inspiration for each of us? The answers aren't nearly as important as you might think. All you have to do is watch and listen. Watch a movie, listen to music or go outside and watch and listen to life. Any idea can be something worth writing about. Whatever moves you will move your readers too, but not if you force it. Nobody likes a chore.

Besides, forcing an idea can lead to mental constipation and brain hemorrhoids, which won't be cured by thoughts of prune juice alone. If you really want to write something impactful then stop straining so hard and go do something else. Let your mind drift until it hits upon an idea worth thinking about--worth feeling about.

Let's say you decide to go for a stroll and in your travels see a pair of squirrels chasing each other through the treetops or a jogger digging deep to attack a big hill. While there may be emotion there it only matters if you can feel it. Maybe you see all the dried and blackened spots of gum on the sidewalk and wonder how long it takes for a new patch of cement to get so dotty. If only you could go back in time far enough to see the world when it was pristine and gum-free, you muse.

It doesn't even have to be something you witness, just something you feel. You'll uncover the emotional power as you go and so will your readers as long as you treat it more like a courtship than hard labor. I mean, you write because it's fun, right? Or at least therapeutic? ===============================================

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