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If your muse is anything like mine, she never picks a good time to give you ideas, never when pen and paper or computer are handy. By the time you are ready to write, all your great ideas have disappeared. Or have they? Sometimes you need to coax them back out.
When you sit down to begin writing, where do your ideas come from? It isn’t any fun to stare at a blank page or computer screen and not have any notion what words are going to fill it up. This is when your muse needs a bit of a push. There are several ways you can inspire the ever, elusive muse back to work. Drawing out mind maps and keeping unusual news articles are just 2 of the ways to do this.
Sit down and make some mind maps. You can do this either on paper or using a computer program like Cayra. To make a mind map, in the center of your blank sheet of paper write out the words ‘I fear’ and circle them. Now write down the first thing that comes to mind that you fear, whether or not it makes sense to you.
Put around each set of words a circle, a box, a rectangle, whatever catches your fancy. For example, I fear tornadoes. I would write tornadoes down, circle it, and draw a line from the word tornadoes to I fear. What do I fear about tornadoes? High winds and objects flying through the air. Write each of these down, circle them, and draw a line from each of them connecting them to tornadoes. Another fear is spiders, completely separate from tornadoes. So write it down, circle it and connect it to 'I fear'. You get the idea.
This is an ongoing process and the mind maps are continually added to. You want to make mind maps for I fear, I need, I love, I hate, I am drawn to, I am scared of, and anything else you think may give you ideas. If you use paper, you may need to tape several sheets of paper together because mind maps have a tendency to grow very large.
If you prefer to do it on your computer, a copy of Cayra can be bought for $2.99 at http://cayra.en.softonic.com/download, or you can download it for free. Free is always better, but the free download did not work for me. It is well worth the $3.00 you will spend to get a copy guaranteed to be virus free.
Another way to come up with ideas is to read the newspaper. You will find that many times truth is actually stranger than fiction and it can give you some fabulous ideas. Scan through the articles for unusual news stories, for stories that jump out at you and send your mind racing. “Accused robber found in trash bin”, Ghost sightings spook students and staff”, and “The boy who faints every time he sneezes” should give you plenty of ideas.
In order to stay somewhat organized, it works out better to save everything on your computer. Be sure and have enough folders to store things in, or your story ideas, unusual newspaper articles, and mind maps will get lost in the enormity of it all.
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