It’s one of the most popular questions people ask a writer. “Where do you get your ideas?”

And I have to ask back, “Where can you NOT get ideas?” The whole world, both far away and right next door to you, is full of ideas. You’re living with them. You’re living with potential character, problems, voices, patterns, random coincidence.

But I realize that sounds kind of snooty, like I’m so creative I have no idea what it’s like to struggle for ideas, and maybe if you struggle to find ideas, perhaps you are not creative. But no, that is absolutely not true. I will admit, there was once a time when I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I knew I liked to write. The idea was appealing. But what to write? Where is my gem of an idea?

The right question isn’t really where does one get their ideas, but how do I decide which ones to develop into a story and how? Everyone has ideas. What everyone does not have is the tools and skill for developing those ideas into wonderful worlds and characters and stories.

Ideas are cheap. Effective execution of those ideas is a mighty struggle. The only way to way to “find” great ideas, is to take the lump and start chipping away.


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