Tag Archives: Ideas

The Power of “What If. . .”


I always have ideas for new writing projects—especially when I’m up to my elbows rewriting. My brain would much rather be working on the next shiny thing than polishing up my works-in-progress.

How do I generate ideas?

Most of my fiction ideas come from wondering “what if. . .” Like, what if a teenager discovers a unicorn living in the woods behind her house? What if a woman recognizes a missing girl as someone she’d seen in a recurring dream? What if the new girl in school decides to make friends by running for class president?

Please don’t steal my ideas—I’m working on all of these right now.

Instead, think what if. . .

Sometimes it helps to start with random elements: a setting, a character, a situation. Make lists of these things. Mix them up and see what happens.

Or here. I’ll make it easy for you.

Pick one item from column one, one from column two, one from column three and one from column four and see what happens. You may have to finagle a little.

What if . . .

a carbuysa peanutbut it’s illegal.
a bearspanksa gloveand it catches fire.
a doctoreatsan atombut there’s an earthquake.
a garbage collectormakesan unknown virusand turns it into an empire.
a life guardformsa corporationand becomes very popular.
an insurance salesmanfollowsa hospitalbut an evil twin ruins it.
a horsebreaksa mermaidand it turns into gold.
a dogstealsa cellphoneand the same day keeps repeating.
a teacherinventsa cityand starts a trend.
a computer programmercooksa homeless personbut forgets where it is.
an astronautdrawsa calendarin the midst of a snowstorm.
a helicopterpretends to bean elevatorbut there’s a snake in the basement.
a zombiemortifiesgasolinejust as World War III begins.
a rabbilosesa joggerand falls in love.
a pregnant womanbuildsmoneyand becomes the next internet sensation.
a teenaged boylovesbooksand gets transported into a parallel universe.
my left shoefindsa rock bandand stumbles into a robbery in progress.
an armysellsa clarinetbut the warranty expired.
an elephantruns intoa backpackwhile acting as a Russian spy.
the presidentalienatesa nunwho turns out to be their birth mother.

Now it’s your turn. Use this idea generator to come up with a story line. It doesn’t have to adhere strictly to the four items you chose; let your imagination take you where it will. Write a piece of flash fiction or a short story. Post it on your blog or on social media, and include a link below. Or, better yet, submit it to a contest from the Poets and Writers database and tell us about it. (Good luck!)

Video of the Week #280: Drawing Idea Generator


This will work with your poetry word pool, too!

In the Meme Time: Ideation



How to Keep On Blogging

How to Keep On Blogging

It’s a common experience across the Blogosphere: you’ve made a commitment to your readers that you’ll post consistently on certain days, but, every once in a while, as the day approaches, you can’t think of a topic to write about; or your post is boring, even to you. What should you do?


What to do:

  • Give yourself permission to miss one post a year. But unless you’re experiencing a life-crisis (like a death in the family, a birth, a move, a fire, surgery, prolonged illness, a flood), you only get one pass a year. Work on the following tips starting today, so you won’t become a habitual slacker.
  • Keep a notebook where you jot down your brilliant ideas. I know from personal experience that no matter how vivid my ideas are, if I don’t actually write them down, they dissolve into the ether. Elizabeth Gilbert says something to the effect that if you don’t diligently take the idea and do something with it, it will go away and find someone else to birth it.
  • Don’t have any ideas? Brainstorm. On a blank page, write down any idea that comes to you (even if it’s stupid) and let it suggest other ideas, along the same lines or totally unrelated. Make it a game to come up with at least twenty, then chose the five best to craft into posts (and you’re allowed to fine-tune them as you work).
  • Your blog probably has a focus. Mine is the arts and the creative process. What aspects of your focus have neglected? Certainly you haven’t exhausted every possible angle. Or if you feel you have, think up something totally unrelated for a change. For example, I might write about garden tools (though it wouldn’t be hard to make that into an art or design article). Or take an outlandish position on something and work it into a humor piece.
  • Interview somebody. It can be someone connected with the focus of your blog, someone you know or someone you’ve never met. Ask her. She might say no, but she might say yes. You can interview her in person, by phone, or by email.
  • Tell about your life. I follow about 100 blogs, and I think I know these bloggers as well as I know my friends. Then they’ll post about something that happened to them and I realize I don’t know them at all. I’m honored when they share their private lives with me. You can tell your readers about an incident from your past, or what you’re going through right now, or come up with a list of interesting factoids about yourself (like your major in college, your first job, what cities you’ve lived in, your hobbies).blogging-15968_1280

Being stuck for a blog post idea isn’t fatal. You can take steps to prevent yourself from running out of ideas, or you can inspire yourself to come up with an engaging topic.

Is there something you do that I didn’t mention that helps you keep going in your blogging life? Please share in the comments below.

Has this article been of help to you? Please make my day by clicking the like button and by sharing it on your social media accounts.

Monday Morning Wisdom#184

Monday Morning Wisdom#184


My advice is not to wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. ~Andy Rooney

Photograph of Mr. Rooney by Stephenson Brown.



Creative Juice #82

Creative Juice #82

Good stuff to read this weekend. Inspire yourself!

31 Art Prompts

31 Art Prompts

Having a problem coming up with an idea for your next artwork? No matter what your medium is, these prompts should have you working in no time.

  1. Color exploration. Choose a color you love or a color you don’t use very often. Try it as pastel as you can make it, then gradually deepen it until it’s at its most intense.HUE-16-x-3-color-wheel-800px
  2. Food. In different styles: an advertising graphic, a traditional still life, an Instagram post.
  3. Children. A formal portrait or a cartoon.
  4. Make a collage. Use found items, or snippets of fabric, or magazine photographs, or bits of newspaper painted different colors.
  5. Create a character. It could be a favorite character from a book or cartoon series; it could be a historical personage, or it could be someone you make up. Draw or paint your character doing different things: planting a garden, going for a walk, playing the accordion, rowing a boat.
  6. Take a walk with your sketchbook and draw different types of trees you see, or different flowers.
  7. Take a walk with your camera and photograph everything that meets predetermined criteria: the color yellow, or mailboxes, or fences, or rocks.
  8. Go to the supermarket and buy an inexpensive bundle of flowers. Arrange them in a vase and draw and/or paint them in different ways—colored pencils, fountain pen, crayons.
  9. A still life with random found objects.still-life-678468_640
  10. Buy clay, wire, and rubber bands, and create a sculpture with them.
  11. Choose a particularly unique or charming building near your house and photograph it from multiple angles. Then reproduce it either as a drawing, a painting, or a model. If building a model, experiment with traditional and non-traditional materials: sugar cubes, toothpicks, playing cards, candy hearts, plastic cut from packaging, or random stuff you find around the house.
  12. Make a cartoon of a public figure who is just begging to be mocked.
  13. If it’s not considered objectionable in your culture, make a representation of God.
  14. Draw a creature: bird, butterfly, dog, cat, horse, fish, unicorn, dragon.
  15. Draw a picture of a different art; for example, draw a picture of a statue, or of an embroidery sampler, or of a quilt.
  16. Make something inspired by a holiday: a valentine, or an Easter basket, or a Christmas stocking, or a birthday cake.
  17. Draw a fashion illustration.fashion-2939973_640
  18. Draw something that won’t exist for another hundred years.
  19. Draw a picture of your childhood home.
  20. Draw a picture of a place you’ve never been. Maybe a place you’ve only seen pictures of but would like to visit.
  21. Choose a category for a series: flowers, boots, jewelry, cows, cars. Photograph or draw or paint or sculpt as many as you can in a week, or a month, or a year.
  22. Doodle. I love zentangle. The internet is full of designs. I have lots of favorites on my Pinterest board.
  23. Look up folk art of a culture you like, and copy some examples; then make up your own.painting-2425824_640
  24. Draw/paint/make something that was popular years ago: pudding pops, videotapes, Boy George.
  25. Design a building.
  26. Draw/paint/make a mode of transportation: stagecoach, airplane, Segway.
  27. Draw or build an elaborate frame.
  28. Draw or build an elaborate machine or Rube Goldberg device.
  29. Get some colored chalk and make a design on the sidewalk. Let your kids do it, too.
  30. Buy an inexpensive pair of white sneakers and design them with fabric ink or fabric paints or dyes.
  31. Design a new superhero with a fabulous costume and unique powers.

These ideas are just meant to be an inspiration suggestion. Alter them any way you wish. If you make something from one of these ideas, please post it somewhere online (your blog, Instagram, Flickr, whatever), and leave a link in the comments below so we can see.

Did you find these prompts helpful? Please click the “Like” button and share this post on your social media. Thanks!

30 Ideas for Your Next Blog Post

30 Ideas for Your Next Blog Post

Did you make a resolution to blog more frequently in 2018? Good for you! But if you are like me, sometimes you have no idea what to write about.

I get some of my best ideas when I’m away from my desk. If I don’t write them down, they fly away. I carry a little assignment pad in my purse so I can capture ideas on the go, and occasionally I’ll take a walk with my notebook and pen, because physically moving frees up my imagination.



In the meantime, it’s always good to have a few ideas in the bank. So here are 30 ideas, results of a recent brainstorming session. If you like these, feel free to use them. You may want to bookmark this page for future reference.

  1. My earliest childhood memory.
  2. My first best friend.
  3. My favorite teacher in elementary school, high school, college.
  4. What I thought I’d grow up to be when I was a freshman in high school.
  5. What I did on September 11, 2001.
  6. What I believe about God.
  7. How I miss the mall (or the video store, or phone booths, or other cultural phenomena that were rendered obsolete by technology).
  8. My favorite recording artist when I was in high school.
  9. My favorite subjects in school.
  10. If I became president, the first thing I’d change.
  11. A photo essay of things that are my favorite color (examples: a blue car, a blue dress, a blue flower, etc.).
  12. A historical site near my home.
  13. My dream vacation.
  14. My bucket list.
  15. If I could have dinner with any famous person, living or dead, whom I would choose, and why.
  16. One thing I wish I could do over, and what I would do differently this time.
  17. The most meaningful gift I ever received.
  18. My ten most favorite books, songs, or movies.
  19. My greatest achievement.
  20. A promise someone made that I never expected him to keep—but he did.
  21. A promise I made that I didn’t keep—and why.
  22. My favorite museum.
  23. The most beautiful town/city I ever visited.
  24. The musical instrument I most wish I had learned to play.
  25. The physical attribute I wish I had (blue eyes, blond hair, a mustache, an extra pair of hands, etc.).
  26. The sport I most wish I had learned to play.
  27. Something I’m waiting until I’m older to do.
  28. Something I’m glad I never did.
  29. My biggest regret.
  30. My pet peeve.

Do you have some ideas to share? List them in a comment below.

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Monday Morning Wisdom #125

Monday Morning Wisdom #125

“Ideas are like fish. You don’t make the fish. You catch the fish.” —David LynchMMW

In the Meme Time: Inventive

In the Meme Time: Inventive