When your goal is to generate numerous story ideas every week, just where do all those topics come from? Why from real life of course. The sayings “Truth is stranger than fiction” and (as my husband is fond of saying) “You can’t make this stuff up” are both completely true. The best ideas come from what happens in our everyday lives. Many of my horse topics come from my own experiences and desire to learn more. When my first horse died as a result of botulism, I didn’t know much about the disease. Several published articles came out of that one scenario. I also generated features on building your own run-in shed because of the shed my husband and I constructed. Then from time to time I will have other people in the horse industry request an article on a certain topic that they want to learn more about because of circumstances that have happened to them.
I also carry a notebook with me to jot down ideas and bits of conversation as they happen. Now, I’m not advocating eavesdropping on other people, but there are circumstances that occur that make it hard not to overhear. The following are two of my favorite quotes I have stored away for future use. “Don’t ever leave me on a bench with your mother again,” a wife said to her husband in an amusement park. The second was a man at the racetrack who said to his wife/girlfriend “If I just win this race we’ll have enough money to pay the rent.” Both quotes elicit a distinct emotional response and are really good.
In addition, I get article ideas from conversations with other people. A gentleman I once talked to told me about losing his job. He and several other people from the same profession but also unemployed starting meeting informally. Soon it turned into a monthly support group meeting. I thought that was a great idea to write about in a magazine article. Briefly profile the men in this group followed by tips on how to get past the anger, frustration and depression that comes with losing your job.
The bottom line is that ideas are literally everywhere you go. Everyone you encounter has a story to tell. The key is to take the time to see who and what’s around you. Tune into the world with your senses and be aware of your surroundings. If not you miss so much.