Much of writing is done away from your computer. Just as one goes to the grocery store to replenish one’s food supply, so should a writer go to the world outside her office to replenish her idea supply.
The best way to gather writing ideas is simply by living your daily life. Through your interactions with people, places, and things, you will discover enough ideas to last more than one lifetime. The key is to be observant.
Paying attention to life is essential to writing success. Every day, right under our noses, are stories, poems, articles, anecdotes, and column ideas. But if we are not observant, we will miss them.
As you move through your world today, take a notebook or a voice recorder with you. Record what you hear: snatches of conversation; serious or funny anecdotes; catchy turns of phrases. Record what you see: a moving facial expression; an angry interchange; a beautiful scene.
The next time you face a blank computer screen, use one or more of your recorded observations to spark a new piece of writing.