Writing Ideas – Part 2

Where do you get ideas?Last week we talked about where and how to get ideas for writing. I can walk around for days with ideas bursting from my brain, but as soon as I sit down in front of a white, blank piece of paper (or monitor) – there is no idea within 50 feet of me. Personally, I believe it’s that scary white paper, but that’s just me.

It’s time to invest in The Idea Bank. Last week I talked about writing down our ideas in our Writer’s Notebook, but this week I got this great idea to call it The Idea Bank. Isn’t that what it is? A place to deposit your ideas until you’re ready for them? Yup.

But, first we have to get ideas before we can deposit them. Duh. Here is this week’s tip on getting super ideas –

If you don’t already, begin people watching.

People – watching is like attending the Olympics of Ideas. Ideas are walking in front of you every second. The trick is to capture them. Like with a net! Throw your net out there and reel them in. (I’m not feeling too serious today.)


Every person who walks by has their own unique story. And while it’s not practical or even possible to get each story, we are perfectly able to make up our own! What is it about a person, a stranger, that can spark ideas?

The answer to that question is different for each one of us.

“But, Karen, there’s no place near me where I can watch people – I don’t have time to watch people – Are you kidding? I barely have the resources to watch my own kids!”

Fear not! I wouldn’t lead you down this path without a solution. I’ve shared before that I live in a tiny little town where everybody knows everybody. If I were to sit on Main St. (and there are some lovely benches) and just watch everyone go by, I’d know most of them. Then of course, you have to visit and they want to know what you’re doing and the explanation is tricky … it’s much easier to hide behind anonymity.

YouTube, here we come. Search for ‘people watching’ and you’ll get tons of video that will allow you to sit at your computer and people watch. I kid you not.

Do any of the people in this video look interesting to you? No? Then you’ve got to watch it again. I wrote down 43 ideas. Really! (Boy, there are a lot of people living there!)

How many ideas did you get?

More later,


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