All posts by njlindquist

Writers find ideas by exploring topics that stir their passion

When you write an essay, article, or non-fiction book, you normally have a specific idea you want to get across (very similar to the theme or thesis you have when you write an essay). Many writers have an idea they want to get across. However, unless you’re writing a teaching article with three easy points, […]

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Writers find ideas by keeping up with the news and current events

Many writers get ideas from listening to the news, reading newspapers or the internet, watching programs about current affairs, noticing topics that are trending… In fact, being alert to what’s going on in the world is usually a great way to get started as a writer. Many local or regional newspapers are interested in stories […]

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Listen to some opening excerpts of great writing

No time to get a blog ready for today because I was working like a crazy person on book trailers. However, one of the ways to learn how to write well is to study good writing, so perhaps you might be interested in listening to me read the openings of nine of the 51 pieces […]

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Writers find ideas by exploring topics that interest them

Most people are passionate about something. That passion often leads them to learn a lot about that particular subject, and gives them a desire to pass on their knowledge or understanding to others. This is one of the most common ways people find their ideas. Out of their lives, and values, they think of something they […]

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Thinking like a professional writer

Some years ago, I was at a Bouchercon mystery convention where some of the world’s greatest mystery writers appeared on panels that covered a variety of topics. I forget which panel I was on, and I forget most of what I heard there. But one comment from one panel I attended stuck in my mind […]

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Writers find ideas from other people

Most of our writing revolves around people in some form or another, so it makes sense that many of our ideas come from people. It might be someone we know, or it might be a total stranger we happen to run across once. The idea could be as comprehensive as discovering something about your mother […]

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Top 10 reasons why you should write 10 short stories before you write a novel

I speak to a lot of aspiring fiction writers, and I find that the majority of them want to write a novel (or are already writing one). My advice to them is to write at least ten short stories first. Let me explain. Ed Hoch passed away on January 17, 2008, at the age of […]

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Writers find idea by theft

Yes, you are allowed to steal ideas. That’s because you can’t copyright an idea. And what I would do with an idea might be very different from what you would do with it. Now, there are some common sense boundaries. If I tell you I’m going to query a specific editor about an article on […]

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Writers find ideas by association

Have you ever had one thing remind you of another? Maybe it’s a smell that reminds you of a similar smell from the past. A person who makes you think of another person you know. A line from a poem or story that makes you recall an event that happened to you…. That happens to […]

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Writers find ideas by observation

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you could overhear things that were supposedly private? You might have been standing in a check-out line while a mother and her young son had a long, heated argument about buying a certain kind of candy. The mother may have been embarrassed, but so were you. […]

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Where do ideas come from?

I’ve been talking about how to organize your ideas. Now I want to talk about where those ideas originate. You might ask, “Don’t ideas just come?” For some of us, the answer is a loud, “Yes.” There are people who are overwhelmed by a constant flood of ideas. I’ll talk about that problem later. I […]

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Getting organized to write: create order out of chaos

Is your current work space in chaos? If so, take some quality time to just sit and think about what works best for you. I remember when our kids were small. We wanted them to set the table and empty the dishwasher when it was clean. But they weren’t tall enough to reach the cupboard […]

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Getting organized to write: idea catchers

The absolutely most important item for any writer to have organized is his or her ideas. Everything else can get messy or be allowed to sink into oblivion if necessary, but ideas are the straw writers must have in order to spin their gold. So how do you keep those ideas safe? First, I never […]

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Getting organized to write: create files

The moment you have several ideas down on pieces of paper, you need some files. Not a lot of them. You might start with only five or six. You can easily buy a small metal holder with half a dozen or so coloured folders in it. Mark the blue folder Nonfiction Ideas, the red one […]

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Getting organized to write: finding things

Over the years, I can’t begin to estimate how much time I’ve wasted looking for things I’ve misplaced—slips of papers with ideas on them, contracts, books, emails… You name it, I’ve misplaced it. And I’ve spent hours and hours and hours searching for something, only to have it turn up shortly after I stopped looking […]

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Getting organized to write: filing

I probably have close to 1000 file folders. All colours. They’re in various places, including a 4-level horizontal filing cabinet, a smaller narrow filing cabinet, drawers in two desks, several Omni carts, several other movable carts with file folder spaces on the top and plastic drawers underneath, and a few file boxes. The files are […]

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