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    Bright Ideas for Beginning Writers

    We can't always be filled with ideas every single day of our writing life. And, whenever bright ideas do come, we can't always write a full-length article, story, or poem about each idea either.

    So, in order to find the fine line between not getting stuck and feeling like your brain will burst, you must learn the art of capturing - and generating - ideas.

    Here's a simple guide on how you can go about it:


    1) BEGIN AN IDEAS BOOK RIGHT AWAY
    This is something that can never be over emphasized. No writer could ever be a real writer without a notebook or journal. This is where you can jot down every idea you have - or want to have.

    In fact, not just ideas - you may also jot down quotes, snippets of conversations, verses in a greeting card or the bible, favorite parts of a letter, titles you love, movies, reactions...All these will be a part of your capital in your writing.


    2) A PUBLISHED WRITER IS ALWAYS A READING WRITER
    It is amazing how beginning writers forget that the best library around is one's book shelf.

    If you will check what kind of books, magazines, and newspapers you read, you'll know what kind of subjects you could - and should - write about.

    As an exercise, I choose twenty favorite books from my bookshelf. Although I've loved those books I chose for many years, I didn't realize that I have turned myself into an expert just by collecting and reading (and re-reading) certain types of books. Can you guess the main theme of my favorite books?

    Right. Apart from Children's and Juvenile books, I treasure my writing books the most. Surprise, surprise!


    3) WRITING AND RESEARCH COMES HAND-IN-HAND
    Keep clippings, photocopies of interesting articles, and other information that catches your fancy. It is also a good idea to make time to always make time to visit the library. One writer I have read even proposed that every writer should schedule trip to the library at least every six months, spending half a day with books, magazines, newspapers, and journals.

    Admittedly though, with the rise of the Internet, research had become so much better and easier for us. While I also recommend trips to "real world libraries," a regular trip to "virtual libraries" can be just as good and vital to your writing career. It will definitely boost your ideas book!


    4) KEEP A GOOD NETWORK OF RESOURCES
    Every writer should be an active part of writers' groups. We must also try to attend seminars, classes, workshops, and conferences whenever possible.

    I am part of at least three online writers' groups and I used to be part of a regular off-line group as well (until I relocated, that is). I also run my own online group called One Write Life Chat, and you can join us by sending an empty email to 1writelife_chat-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. I even send out regular Write Life Challenges to provide more ideas to the writers in my group.

    Being able to communicate with other writers (one of my favorite past times, I must say), is important. It gives us an opportunity to bounce off our ideas and get feedback.

    While it is definitely unhealthy to be a reclusive writer, I know some writers who end up being pre-occupied with "networking." They tend to talk about writing, and not have the time to actually write anymore. Of course, this is the other unhealthy end of the writing continuum.

    As writers, our job is really to write. So, last but not the least reminder in this list would be -


    5) WRITE EVERYDAY
    Yes, even if you don't feel like doing so. Even if all you had to write is "I don't feel like writing today." Just one line a day. Then see how these lines grow.

    Writing begets writing, the same way ideas beget ideas.

    ==============
    Ideas Spin-off
    ==============

    To start your Ideas Book, make lists of the following (at least 3 in each category):

    a) Your Hobbies
    -
    -
    -

    b) Favorite People
    -
    -
    -

    c) Favorite Places
    -
    -
    -

    d) Favorite Words
    -
    -
    -

    Choose two ideas from your list and think of a possible article/piece using those ideas. Write them down and share with the group. Which publication/market do you think will publish the article/piece that you are thinking of?

    Write an introduction to each of the article ideas you wish to work on.

    [This article is a part of my Staff Writing workshop module.]

    Copyright © Sheila Ann Manuel-Coggins

    Sheila Ann Manuel-Coggins is a freelance writer with over 8 years of experience. Her articles, stories, and poetry have appeared on several online and print publications. She holds a literary award in poetry and essay. She is the editor-at-large and publisher of eWriteLife. Other publications where she writes for are: BriefMe, Themestream, and ezyhealth, among others. She has a BSc degree in Psychology and is now taking up her Masters' in Applied Psychology.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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