99 Ideas: It's a Mystery!

It's a mystery to me how storylines come to life. I kinda think writers go through life collecting puzzle pieces that only come together when the story is complete.

Sometimes, these pieces are elusive (hello, writer's block), but if an effort is

made to search them out, they can't hide long. IDEAS ARE


Writer's block doesn't have to put writers in a coma.

I glance out my back deck and see a budding pine tree. Between all the normal, spaghetti thin needles are thicker, lighter straggly ones, bowing out awkwardly like middle fingers. I’m staring at a tree of middle fingers. Ideas start flowing. The tree could be an irritating neighbor. How might he or she metaphorically middle finger the community? Hmmm, interesting story forming there.

Or the tree could be evil. Those middle fingers are long claws, waiting still for an unassuming victim to pass under her branches. Another interesting story forming… and a really vicious world around it.

At the base of the long straggly fingers are what I guess to be the beginnings of cones. Anyway, they are circular, brown parts amid the green. From their position on the fingers, I think of bling. Rings. Wedding rings. Fat fake gaudy rings. Rings with secret compartments (for poison perhaps). I dream up a fancy party, women decked out in stones, and I wonder how they measure happiness. Another story coming to life…

Ideas are not the problem. At least, they don't have to be. Whenever stuck, journaling observations might unclog the word-flow.

As I write this - no joke - I stop because I hear weird music. My dog’s barking (per normal). I go to the front window. Outside, in the rain a couple of teenagers are practicing the flute in my cul-de-sac. Yes, MY cul-de-sac. I can say that with confidence because I live here, and they don’t. Anyway, are they modern-day pied pipers? Who or what are they luring with their song? In the rain? Are they band nerds? Practicing for a new, albeit odd, girl band? Does the rain make for better acoustics? Are they trying to get someone’s attention? I’m not sure what their deal is, but there could be a story there.

Again, ideas are not the problem.

And, I say, if ideas are the problem for you, just look around.

How to get writing again doesn't have to be a mystery. First, journal what you see and let your mind wander. Then, focus on one idea - just one - and commit to seeing it through. Write a scene. Go to your Scene Playground. Play with it. Words will come. A story will either develop or die. Either way, it's progress.

If the idea dies, say a few quiet words, and let it rest in peace. On to the next one.

If it doesn't, then awesome! You're writing again. Word by word by word. Once released, the words pour into sentences and then paragraphs and then pages. It’s a grand, cascading waterfall of productivity. Just like they say a body in motion stays in motion, a writer writing continues writing.

How do you get your writing juices flowing? Dare to share!