Monday, January 31, 2011

Idea Shopping

"The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea." --Thomas Mann

Where do you go for your ideas?

I found that I've been inspired by objects, places, and people--particularly those that have played a role in history, as obscure as the historical details might be. My inspirational sources include...

A hollow sycamore tree.

A stone barn, built during the Civil War.
(This is for you, Jess, because of your comment in my last post! Notice the "1861" mounted on the front.)

My grandmother, who was a child at the turn of the 20th century.

Some say they get ideas from photos, some from music, art, people-watching, snatches of conversation, or simply by taking a walk. Some journal, some freewrite. I find stories in history. Where do you shop for your ideas?

"Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different." --Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


  1. Hooray! Thanks for the photo of the stone barn (the others are very special too--the tree photo has my imagination reeling)! I just showed my husband and he started speculating what state it might be in. I told him to mind his own business and look at the wagon-wheel date. So neat! Family photographs can be so powerful~ we recently had a family history compiled and I could gaze at my great-grandparents for hours. Old photographs are just beautiful and haunting. Thanks for this post!

  2. Thank you, Jess, for helping to inspire it! I was so tickled that someone would be as interested in these kinds of things as me. I agree, family photos are powerful. They draw us back into a past that we can only begin to imagine--and then, as writers, the story lines begin to form. Thanks for dropping in again. Have a great rest of the week :-)

  3. I love that sycamore tree! My creative juices were sparking. (can juices spark? I don't know but you get what I mean, right?)

  4. Ideas from years of teaching and from local history, again linked to teaching, but I've lived so long that there will never be time to complete all the ideas. Loved the photos, lots to work from. :0)

  5. I get a lot of ideas from news stories and history (ie old news stories) - fact is often much stranger than fiction :)

  6. I love that tree. I am sure it would set my creative juices into an overdrive. My ideas come from images, picture, even from random words and phrases.

    Thanks for the Stylish Blogger Award. I appreciate and just love it. :)

  7. That tree is awesome. Period. Nature and kids are huge idea generators for me!


  8. This is so funny, because it seems like we are on the same page with inspiration this week. I just published a post on the conception of ideas. My inspiration is similar to yours. I love pictures (I posted a couple of my faves on my blog). I see my characters in the pics living their lives and it seems to all come alive from there. Of course other things play a part too, like travels, movies, conversations and more, but it all seems to originate with a picture!

    I love the pic of the tree roots, how beautiful. I love to see nature at work!

  9. These are great pictures... very inspirational. I especially love that tree! I wish I was actually there right now :)

  10. Thank you all for dropping in--I'm inspired by YOUR sources of inspiration :-)

    Lindsey, I'm hopping over your way to check out your post.

    And Jess, to end the speculation, the barn is here in Ohio!