There are many articles about where to find ideas to write or blog about. Many contain long lists of where to find fascinating ideas. But I want to share a place where no one can look for ideas—except you! Look inside yourself.
That’s right; look inside yourself because buried there is a treasure of ideas and experiences that is unique to you. There you will not only find the core idea, but the setting, the point of view, the inciting incident, the hook, the details, the emotion, the passion and the message that you want to touch the reader.
How do you look inside yourself? Start by daydreaming about your life. Put your mind on rewind, then let the film roll. What unique life experiences have you had that others would benefit from hearing your story? Turn on some music to set the mood or hop in the car and drive with the radio on to jump start your imagination. What has happened to you or the people you love that you can share with others who may share a similar struggle?
May I share an example? There has been something nagging at me for the past few years. I lost my father to Alzheimer’s disease. As a caregiver with my brothers and sisters, we watched this disease slowly, yet oh so systematically; erase his memory, his life and eventually his family.
Short term memory was the first to go. Eventually, he didn’t know where he was. Every day he would call and ask me to take him home. Ironically, he was calling from his home. One night when he called wondering where he was I explained to him that if he looked at the family photos on the end table he would always know he was safe in his own home. He would then ask me to hold on while he looked at the family photos. Soon he would return to the phone and thank me. “I know where I am now, Jim. Thank you so much.”
This soon became a ritual. Yet, one day when he called wondering where he was I told him to look at the family photos again. He asked me to hold on and he set the phone down. He didn’t return for a while. When he picked up the phone I asked if he looked at the photos. With terror in his voice he replied, “I don’t know any of those people.”
Several stages of progressive decline followed and soon he forgot who he was and who I was. He came to know me as simply a “friendly stranger.” After a protracted illness, he died a few years ago.
Today, I think about him virtually every day and wonder how to write about this in a way that will help others. But what exactly should I write? This is where I look deep inside myself and tap into all the emotion, pain and discovery of this experience. One idea is to write an article or blog entitled, “10 Ways to Survive Alzheimer’s Disease as the Caregiver.” The working title doesn’t matter. What matters is that I develop this idea from deep inside myself and bring it to light to benefit others.
This is just one of several ideas I can “mine” from this episode in my life to write or blog about. How about you? Why not take an hour to make a list of those deep, rich experiences from your life that only you can blog about.
The beauty of sharing a meaningful experience that touched your heart is you can be reasonably sure that it will touch the heart of others also.
The Writer’s Refuge blog is a place for writers, like you, to break away from your daily routine and for just a few minutes find insight, inspiration or simply a word of encouragement.
Blog entries are posted on Thursday.
You may contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.