Recently, I had lunch with my writing friend and her son and I was telling him about some of my writing projects. My friend laughed and said that no matter where we go, I always come back with stories.
It is incredibly, irritatingly true.
I collect story ideas like people collect plates, stamps or dolls.
And it has served me very well as a writer. When I was a reporter, I used to make it my unofficial rule that whenever I went out on a story, I came back with two. Now that I am writing full time, my rule still is very much in force.
Why is this so important? Because it keeps my eyes and ears open. It keeps me listening to my surroundings. It makes me interested in everything and open to the possibilities. I have learned to see beyond what is there, to what happened in the past, what could happen in the future. My interest may be excited by a person, or a place, writing on a wall, or even something that a person says.
Once I return home with my ideas, I write them down. Some story ideas I may never get to, but others will make turn into short stories, screenplays or novels. I often find I have so many ideas for stories, I don’t have time to write them all, but bits and pieces find their way into my writing.
Now excuse me, I have to go out on some errands. Of course, I will come back with two story ideas.