Wordsmith Wednesday–Ten Places to Look for Inspiration

Community Thrift Store (ii)

Image by Pete Boyd via Flickr

Writer’s Digest recently released their top ten edition in which they create all kind of lists related to the world of writing. I had been thinking about discontinuing my subscription but when I received this copy, I smiled as I remembered the fun I had with last year’s issue that followed the same format.

I’m very fond of lists (OCD?). I love to make shopping lists, to-do lists…you name it. I especially like crossing things off of my to-do list. And so I thought for today’s post I would indulge myself. So here’s my “Off-the-Top-of-My-Head List for Ten Places to Seek Inspiration.

  1. Thrift shops–rummage through the remnants of other peoples’ lives. Focus on an object or let your imagination construct a scene around an object.
  2. Coffee shops or restaurants–lurk in the corner of the booth and jot down other people’s dialogues. Listen for subject and “voice.”
  3. Sitting or walking in nature–indulge in sensory description.
  4. A bus stop, train station or airport–watch people hurry about the business of life. Wonder where they are going and why.
  5. News sources–papers, radios, TV news and the Internet are ripe with snippets of news that can explode into fiction.
  6. Book Stores–in light of the closing of Border’s, we can only hope this will not become a trend. Yeah for e-books, but nothing replaces thumbing through the pages, looking at covers, luxuriating in “real” books. Look for trends and story ideas.
  7. Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook–follow conversation threads, look at ads, check out profiles. You never know where you might uncover a new character or theme.
  8. Art Museums–one of my favorites. Sit for a while in front of a piece of art. Really look at it. What would your senses perceive if you were inside the painting? How would it smell, taste, feel? What would you hear? Use the painting as the subject of a poem. Research a bit about the artist.
  9. Hospital or Doctor’s Waiting Rooms–I don’t suggest going there just to observe, but if you do have to wait, check out emotional responses of those waiting with you and try to describe them objectively. You are bound to pick up some anxiety, perhaps some sadness, relief, or impatience.
  10. Public Venues of any Sort–I wrote an entire short story once based on what I saw while waiting for a concert to begin…one of those “bring your blanket and sit on the grass things.” And the whole event, plagued by a significant thunder and lightning storm, gave me a story line.

Now it’s your turn. You might want to review the subject of “Artists’ Dates” in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Where are some of the places you go to discover your writing muse? Please share a bit with us in the comments. If you like, post something that you’ve written based on your trolling and link it in comments as well. I have limited Internet access right now, so will respond as soon as possible. Thanks for joining.

11 thoughts on “Wordsmith Wednesday–Ten Places to Look for Inspiration

  1. Victoria,

    This a a great way to gather inspiration. This will be added to my little book of ideas.
    Nice post …!!!

    I am just catching up to a few of the challenges I wanted to get to … here is my submission …

    Thanks for all you do …!!! ~~~ : – )




  2. […] Wordsmith Wednesday – Ten Places to Look for Inspiration (liv2write2day.wordpress.com) […]


  3. Love making lists – rarely have time. Two that called to me from your list were cafes and, believe it or not, hospital waiting rooms. More than my share of those, and they actually rent open my heart to some good writing. But that’s just me and my macabre side…

    Loved this. Thanks, and peace, Amy


  4. Bodhirose says:

    Here’s something I found to write about as I accompany my mother to her doctors’ appointments.


    I like your list. I don’t really seek out places for observation–but I do love to people watch.


  5. umaa says:

    Wow! I like this and also have few at my hands.I would love to submit my long written poem here :http://umaspoembook.blogspot.com/2010/08/story-of-titanic-with-different-view.html


  6. mish says:

    Thanks for sharing this list ! I’m sure I speak for most artists when I say that music is always an excellent source of inspiration !


  7. jgavinallan says:

    Victoria, you have presented a perfect preface to writing—101
    Ideas are all around us…and you itemize several standard and basic places where images shoot through your mind


  8. siggiofmaine says:

    Oh, yes, postcards…the old ones are great, along with old journals and letters. I found a couple of postcards to my mother before she was married to my father, tucked away in some old bills. Thanks for the reminder of a wonderful resource !

    ☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine


  9. Jamie Dedes says:

    Oh what a fine list. Ditto all. And I also like going to antique shops and picking up old postcards, especially those with notes on the back. Sometimes the notes are quite amazing. Sometimes they’re funny or poignant.

    Nice, Victoria! Thank you!


  10. siggiofmaine says:

    Thanks, I love to watch people, and imagine…since I cannot usually hear conversations…what is going on…
    In the spring and fall, not the busy tourist season, it is fun to go to Bar Harbor, sit on a bench and just observe the people. Sometimes the stores are a good source too….a shop keeper told of a tourist asking (seriously) “when do the deer turn into a moose?”. Sigh.


    ☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine


Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s