The Opulence of October: Where to find writing ideas

The Opulence of October: Where to find writing ideas

The Opulence of October: Where to find writing ideas—Guest post by Tami Kamin Meyer

Write Now Columbus editor Tami Kamin Meyer shares how she comes up with ideas for writing her articles and stories

I spent much of September traveling this great and beautiful country. I was blessed with a week in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains and a week soaking in the sun and waves on Tybee Island, Georgia. While in Breckenridge, Colorado, I literally spent an entire day staring at the majesty of Baldy Mountain, an enormous peak, 12,441 feet high. It stood like a beacon of the mountains. I could not take my eyes off of her.

After a brief respite at home for laundry and dog kisses, I drove 1,700 miles to Tybee, then Atlanta, then home. This unique situation afforded me time to ponder a myriad of topics and listen to an excellent book on CD.

I don’t recall everything my mind touched during that long drive, but I am certain about one thing: I thought often about writing.

As my hands gripped the leather steering wheel of my convertible, I recalled articles I had written and ones that were due. I reminisced on how I conjured some of the ideas for articles I eventually wrote, and about the many more stories I’d like to have published when I find them a home. I also smiled when I recalled a question people ask often of me and other writers.

“How do you come up with story ideas?”

That question really perplexes people, which is understandable. Methods for generating story ideas are as unique as the writer who creates them.

I don’t have a formula for conjuring story ideas. I know some writers who brainstorm for suggestions by writing a word, then brainstorming every concept or word relating to it. Out of those scribblings, the writer hopes to piece together an idea about what to write about.

I don’t work that way.

I think of ideas organically. Story suggestions come to me from an article or book I am reading, or from something I hear on the TV or radio. Recently, a friend mentioned how the Holocaust led to the meeting of his parents, and eventually his birth. His unique attitude about how he owes his very life to the vagary of the Holocaust shocked me at first. I had never considered a point of view like his before.  However, after the initial surprise of his tale wore off, a story idea came to mind.

And that’s how I come up with article writing ideas.

Sometimes, an idea is related to a topic at hand. Or, a story suggestion simply enters my mind without warning or impetus. Suddenly, they’re just there. I keep a pen and paper by the side of my bed and next to my favorite seat on my living room couch, just in case the mood strikes.

Some of my ideas are founded in my personal interests, while others highlight topics that pique my attention. I never know when an idea will come to mind. I also sheepishly admit to forgetting many more ideas than I’ve ever researched or written about. If I don’t make myself commit the suggestion to paper when it comes to mind, I usually forget it. It’s gone forever. Even if I write an idea down, I may not be able to decipher my handwriting or unscramble my hieroglyphics when I try to read my scribblings.

That bums me out, of course, but it’s all part of the creative process.

This month I will finalize an article for a well-known publication, researching and writing about a one-time Ohio State athlete and, of course, mining my world for ideas for what to write about next.

(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2021, all rights reserved

This essay originally appeared in Write Now Columbus, a free, monthly email newsletter for central Ohio writers and readers.  SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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