|Yes, Just Do It|
1) Take a walk. Not just any walk. Stroll along with your senses. Start with the nose; what do you smell? Note all the tones in the air. What thoughts do they bring to mind? Does that dog doo-doo bring tears for your childhood best friend, Fido? Spin a story from it. Let your mind wander.
2) Follow your dreams. The ones you have when you sleep. Get into the habit of writing them down every morning. Jot down images, words, or characters you remember. Turn them into a tale.
3) Read the news. Dig through small town community newspapers or Google “bizarre headlines.” You might unearth a story about a man skydiving with an umbrella. Look for odd or interesting stories and then write them all down, but give the stories a new twist.
4) Eavesdrop. This is fun because you get to enjoy a coffee or tea, workout, or some other activity while you are doing it. I was once walking down the street in New York and I heard an old lady say, “That was around the time I met Stravinsky.” Wow. Seinfeld flashback.
5) Throw your laptop. Okay, this may be extreme. Maybe you should just put it aside instead; grab a pad and pen and let your hand rip! Move the pen in whatever way you feel like. Big swoops, tiny random letters, hard, dark scribbles. Get it all out. Slowly turn those marks into words and then into sentences. Awww . . . release.
6) Write with a partner. Write down an assortment of nouns, verbs, and adjectives on pieces of paper, and then place them inside a container. Take turns with your friend, pulling them out one at a time and then put the words together into phrases to use as prompts. Umm . . . that's how I came up with an "undulating summer sausage." Sounds tasty, doesn't it? (Well, maybe not.)
These are only a sampling of methods for coming up with story ideas. If you still need help, there are plenty of books and/or websites that offer writing prompts. Google (or some other search engine) is your friend. (This "writing prompts" website came up at the top of my search results.)
Most importantly, loosen up, lighten up, and play, and hopefully, before you know it, you can just write instead of worrying what to write about.
[Please note: I had this on my old website before redirecting my domain name here. When I made the move, this post was lost, so I decided to re-post it.]