That's usually the question that hits us as soon as we sit down to write our stories. For me, it's a coin toss: too many topics flood my mind so it's hard to pick just one or my mind goes completely blank and I can't think of a single thing to write about.
That's why I keep a running list of topics in a little notebook set aside just for this purpose. My purple and brown polka-dotted notebook mysteriously travels from room to room—from my nightstand to the kitchen counter to the coffee table to my desk—but it's always close at hand to receive my scribbles and to offer up a story topic when needed.
Here's an idea for a wide-ranging topic list to make your own:
- Turn to a clean, blank page in your notebook and write the letters of the alphabet from A to Z along the left margin. Leave two to three blank lines between each letter.
- For each letter, list five to ten words/topics beginning with that letter that have particular meaning to you.
- Keep adding words/topics as they come to you. Over time you'll have so many topics ready and waiting, you won't ever have to wonder what to write about again.
My list looks something like this...
M) mom, museums, miscarriage, Mark
N) nunzilla, nostalgic, Newbold, nephew, nieces
O) Oregon, obstacles, overweight, open-minded
P) pears, P&D, Portland, Puerto Angel
Q) quotes, quetzales, Queen Elizabeth
R) Rogue Valley, reading, ran away
S) surgeries, schools, sisters, San Francisco
T) trucks, travels, tonsils, temper
photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc