Where Do You Find Your Ideas?

I read a couple of posts recently by authors who bemoaned the lack of ideas to write about. They wondered how it’s possible for anyone to write every day or even every week and keep it fresh.

While I realize we’re all wired differently and obviously see the world differently, I was still surprised by that.

I seem to “suffer” from the opposite problem: I can’t turn off my mind because it keeps insisting that I write about this or that, or that, or this! Oh! Look! There’s another idea behind that tree! Another one running down the road! Quick! Catch it before it gets away!

Now, even though those opportunities are often disguised, show up they do, sometimes pushing and jostling for attention. And they’re usually just ordinary pieces of my life that get me thinking … hmmmm. There could be a story in that …

A conversation recently with one of my BFFs about her son’s upcoming wedding got me a little teary-eyed and sparked one.

Noticing hashtags in so many LinkedIn articles just helped me create one this morning on LI.

Writing about little-known nonprofits touches my heart, so I wrote this article about Silatech, an organization located in Doha, Qatar, whose mission is to empower disadvantaged youth and women, finding and funding employment opportunities in 17 countries so far in the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region. The organization has already helped over one million young people, with the ambitious goal of five million by the end of 2022.

Reading articles by others can get me thinking. I see how an author fits the pieces together for a story, and sometimes I see one of those pieces that could either be fleshed out or taken in a new direction. Love riffing off someone else’s original idea (with full credit given)!

Heck, just gazing out through my sun porch windows at Buttermilk Bay (my backyard) has sparked several articles, including this one about a backpack being enough. And if you read it, you’ll see that it came about because of a good friend’s excellent article.

Because my mind wanders far and wide, I chose to name my BC360° column “All in All.” I didn’t want to limit myself; I wanted to write about whatever occurs to me. Although American grammar is my best-known core topic, it’s too limiting. Even I would get bored just writing about that every day.

All in all, I feel privileged to be allowed to see our small blue planet from so many perspectives, including yours. Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

So, enough about me. What about YOU? Where and how do you find your stories? Do you have trouble doing that, or are they all around you, begging you to choose them so others may learn and enjoy?


Susan Rooks
Susan Rooks
With nearly 30 years’ experience as an international workshop leader, Susan Rooks is uniquely positioned to help people master the communication skills they need to succeed. In 1995, Susan formed Grammar Goddess Communication, creating and leading workshops in three main areas – American grammar, business writing, and interpersonal skills – to help business pros enhance their communication skills. She also leads one-hour LinkedIn workshops (Master the LinkedIn Profile Basics) via Zoom to help business pros anywhere maximize their LinkedIn experience, offering it to Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations free of charge. As an editor, Susan has worked on business blogs, award-winning children’s books, best-selling business books, website content, and even corporate annual reports (with clients from half a dozen countries), ensuring that all material is professionally presented. In April 2022, Susan became the Managing Editor of the Florida Specifier, a bi-monthly trade publication covering Florida’s diverse environmental industry. And although the focus is on Florida’s issues, many of these same challenges are found elsewhere around the world, so the readership isn’t limited to just Floridians or those interested in that state. But in all these endeavors, Susan’s only goal is to help everyone look and sound as smart as they are.

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  1. I find my ideas the moment I step onto a Dirt Road, a plowed field, walking along a creek bank or my time spent with my dog. Lastly images influence my stories a lot and the amazing journey of my life and that of my family an inspiring group of Outlaws, renegades, rebels and rouges and did mention the other side of my family, preachers and moonshiners. Ahhh! life has truly been interesting

    Susan I love this. It seemed to reach me a bit deeper. This is a really great article. Passing it on.

    • WOW, Larry! I’m touched that my article reached you that way. Thank you for letting me know.

      I love your description of your family — rebels (I’d be on that side, too) and preachers/moonshiners. What a great story your life has been so far, right?

  2. We seem to be soul friends on this topic, Susan! Ideas and inspiration flow to me from nature, from my inner collection of clear DVR’s of life experiences lived, from the ideas others share, from questions, ponderings, conversations with beloved ones or strangers, and topics about which I feel passionate. A curious one remains a strong part of me. She seems to wonder about all kinds of things. She’ll light-heartedly look at life through a muliti-dimensional, multi-faceted crystal lens which often creates rainbows of ideas.

    What a delightful article, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing and asking for our thoughts!

    • Love that, Laura! I’m forever chasing squirrels and you’re finding rainbows. And you’re most welcome.

  3. All in all… I’m so glad that you let me hang out in your world, Susan! Some of my best ideas are sparked by the smart and talented people in my circle. You are most definitely one of them! Thank you for the continued inspiration and support! I appreciate you!

    • Well, Dr. Hughes … Back atcha in spades! I echo and support everything you just wrote! Every time I read one of your articles, I learn. I cannot believe how smart you are in that area: the BRAIN. And yes. I guess I’m biased … towards caring and smart people.

  4. So glad I ran across your article today, Susan. You inspired me to reflect on how ideas come to me, what’s going on when I’m really energized to write, and when I’m feeling stuck. I get stuck when I feel like I’m writing the same message again… Your article sparked me to remember this “coaching” found in the book “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore. He describes how if the advice, “keep your eye on the ball” was enough we’d all be better tennis players, for instance. But to gain a new insight, a good coach asks questions about how fast the ball is traveling, how it is spinning, how high it comes over the net. In turn, I can ask myself questions about my core message coming from different angles, and perhaps offer a deeper or more nuanced perspective. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • And thanks for your wonderful explanation of how a good coach would work, Mary! I’m pleased that my post inspired you in some way; thanks for letting me know.

  5. Susan, I love this piece! Like you, I remember feeling, I could never run out of things to write about. I was just kind of writing about the extraordinary of the ordinary. I wrote funny, quirky little stories based on the way I emotionally processed through life but all that changed over the past few years through the practice of mindfulness. I no longer take a roller coaster ride to process through things and I was unable to write the same way I had been writing. That expectation became the block. I’ve only recently started writing again after realizing that while my writing is different now and it’s totally okay. Now it’s just a matter of balancing my time. Thanks for never running out of things to write about and for your unique and thought-provoking perspective on our little blue planet.

    • Oh, my, Shelley! Thank you for that lovely response to my article! I just come in from watering our main village entrance garden and don’t you think it started to rain, too? And yeah — I am certain I can find a story in that somewhere! This is why I named — OK, Dennis named — my general column All in All, because I didn’t want to be hemmed in.

      I love your articles, and I’m really glad you started writing again! Keep on keepin’ on!

  6. Buttermilk Bay, Susan! I am intrigued and I have a story percolating about you and a character who lives in a certain house. I can see and feel the scene in my imagination right now. So like you, I can “spark” and go off quickly in oodles of directions. However, the stories that I typically find the most satisfying to write come from the heart and have true and raw emotion behind them. I appreciate your work Susan – excited to see where you go next with your wandering pen!

    • My goodness, Maureen! Thanks for that!

      Yes, Buttermilk Bay, which is like the head of Buzzards Bay, the HUGE bay just south of us and connected by a waterway called Cohasset Narrows.

      And a story about me in some way? I think that’s a first, and I’ll be watching for it.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

  7. We’ve had this discussion before but I wanted to comment any way. Very good article, Susan. Since I try to keep my articles about 500 words, sometimes a topic can take 3 or 4 separate posts. And in the case of this last week, it came from reader’s comments.
    I have to admit that I frequently repeat points but try to say them in different ways so a regular reader won’t always recognize it.

  8. Susan,

    Your article sparked a thought. I love writing and have been writing on a regular basis since 2008.

    When I first came online I’d write 3 or 4 posts per week to populate my first blog. Over the years once per week and add guest posts for online magazines, etc.

    Recently, I’ve been so busy creating ebooks and a couple of courses that I’ve not been writing articles.

    Reading your article reminded me of two things. Stories are all around us and all my articles do not have to live up to my 500 words or more standard. The other is the reason I chose the name of my column was that it’s not only about business, I write about ‘life.’ And life is all around me.

    Thanks for unknowingly giving me a kick in the pants that I needed.

    • So nice of you to let me know my article gave you that “kick in the pants” you needed to start your regular blogging again, Yvonne! I appreciate your letting me know.

      And what’s the name of your blog here? Love to see your articles. It sounds like you chose your name as I did (All in All), so I could include whatever stories occurred to me. Hate to let a good one get away, although there are other platforms we can place them on, some of which I do use as well.

      I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

    • Thanks, Yvonne! There are so many columns, but if I had just scrolled down one or two more, I would have found it. Now I know, so now I can read your articles!

      I hope you also have a terrific weekend! And I look forward to seeing your latest effort from this weekend’s work.

  9. I wonder if there is a difference when you HAVE to write because that’s your job. You know I’ve been writing my inspirational articles now for over 3 years. Since the topic is a bit narrow, it can be difficult and I’m sure I repeat myself but I also feel that my writing has matured in a way.
    Since it’s every Sunday, I look at it like a Pastor doing a weekly sermon; except I haven’t taken a week off yet!

    • You have a great point, @John Dunia. I read your Sunday posts every week, and you do always come up with a new angle for your main idea, which shows you really think carefully about it.

      I obviously am in a different position, where I write because I can, not because i have to. So my mind is free to wander as it pleases.

      Please keep on doing what you have been doing; you have opened a tough topic for many, and you’re likely giving them the courage to seek the right help.

    • Thanks for your continued support here, Larry! I don’t know if I have gotten ideas from images; probably have but hadn’t thought about it. But it makes complete sense!