Finding a Topic

By: Traci Kenworth

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing, but in the midst of living. – Anais Nin

 

Finding a Topic two drops of ink marilyn l davisI’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eighteen. I had some success with fan fiction magazines back then and began to work on my own stuff.

I got married and had two children. My ex didn’t want to share me with my writing or my children. It was an abusive marriage, and thankfully, the kids and I got out of that situation thanks to the help of the court system. I had many dark years with PTSD, and later, a diagnosis of bipolar.  

I started writing again in 2009, first in journals to work through issues with my past. Eventually, the ideas for stories sparked again.

There are so many ideas that spring forth for everything under the sun. However, sometimes coming up with a title or topic for blogs is still hard. I glance around at what others are doing. I look at prompts to see if there’s anything I can work with. There’s always something that comes along, and I just need to write about the topic in a way that hasn’t been discussed before.

Where I Get Ideas

 

Most often they come when doing other things.

  1. Driving
  2. Showering
  3. Walking
  4. In the middle of dinner preparation
  5. Doing dishes
  6. Cleaning
  7. Just drifting off to sleep
  8. Shopping
  9. While visiting
  10. Attending events

 

Managing the Ideas

 

  1. I store them in a notebook
  2. I let them go until they start pestering me
  3. I add more to the notebook
  4. I continue to add until I’m ready to pursue the idea
  5. I decide where to submit my idea, blog, guest blog, etc.

 

From Idea to Submission

 

 

  1. First, I start with a title.
  2. Next, I come up with sub-topics.
  3. Under each sub-topic, I write all the things that I consider go with the idea
  4. I revise, polish, and proofread.
  5. When I’m satisfied, I submit.

For example: Title: Old Manuscripts are Never a Waste, Mine Them

I figure out what is important about old manuscripts, such as: 

  1. Determine how a theme ties the topic together
  2. You can use them to pull characters out, rework them, or leave them as they are and add to a new work-in-progress.
  3. You can also do the same with the setting.
  4. Mine them for dialogue.
  5. Borrow situations.
  6. Use plot points if they merge with your new work.

 

Make Sure Your Scene has a Goal

 

If I’m writing a fictional piece, description and dialogue are important. But it’s the actions, reactions, and motives of the characters that keep a reader interested. What drives each character? 

  1. Do they have somewhere to be?
  2. Do they want something?
  3. Is something about to happen?
  4. Do they run into your villain? And gain a reason to go against him/her/it?

 

Ideas Grow When You View Them Differently 

 

Finding a Topic two drops of ink marilyn l davisI know it seems like there are no new ideas under the sun, but trust me, it’s all in how you look at things. YOU are the most essential part of the ingredient. How you approach a story or topic is entirely different than someone else.

I rely a lot on what I remember from English classes as far as blog posts go when I want to introduce a topic. When I just want to talk to my audience and relay information, I am  a little more casual. I like both methods as each is effective to get your name out there.

Whether you own a blog or do guest posts, either will get your writing out there and establish relationships with readers. These posts, in turn, get your brand out there for others to notice and then link to your books, blogs, or other writings. 

Putting in the time, showing your audience you care about them, and sharing your stories gets you a loyal fan base.

Find Prompts to Stimulate Your Creativity

 

There are always prompts out there. Christopher Fox gave us 100 Prompts to Get the Ink Flowing.  You can always take a look at what others are writing about and put your own spin on things. It’s all about taking a chance. If you do those things, you will find a topic to write each time you get ready to blog or even write your newsletter if it comes to that.

I read to see what other bloggers are doing. Not only to learn from them, but to invite them to learn about me as well. Reaching out to the other blogs about guesting is fun. It can be scary, yes, when you’re starting out or when you don’t know a blog that well, but you’ll find most blog owners nice and willing to work with you.

So, take a chance, grab a topic, and you’ll see yourself getting a nice boost in traffic on your blog not to mention meeting new and wonderful people at each stop you make!

 

Take a Risk

 

There’s no such thing as failure unless you don’t try. I recently heard that again. I think that line of thought is absolutely correct. If we don’t risk anything, we don’t advance. It’s not fun to face rejection. We’re all human. And it hurts. From the time we’re born, we face rejection. As soon as we take our first step, we fall. When we enter school, we’re judged by our peers. In our jobs, we sometimes face hostility with co-workers. The point is, there’s no place in life that we don’t face negativity of some kind. Writing is no different.

The more we put our work out there, the more we put at risk. However, that’s a good thing. Not to fail, of course. But putting our work out there brings us more chances. Today, I hit the submit button to a small publishing magazine. Am I afraid? Yes. But I did it anyway. Even though that same story hasn’t gotten me many hits elsewhere, I still believe in it. It might not be the right fit for this magazine, but it’s a door to possibilities. Keep trying, keep putting your stuff out there.

So again, keep the faith, you can do this. Once you hit on an idea, see where it goes. You’ll have topics for your blogs and other blogs in no time. Never give up, there’s always a better horizon.

 

Bio

Traci Kenworth writes all genres of YA as well as the occasional historical romance. She lives in Ohio with her son, daughter, and four cats, chasing snippets of whatever story she’s working on at the time.

She has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Writing saved her during a dark period in her life.  She is forever grateful to God for this way out of the darkness and into the light.

That’s the type of hero/heroine she writes about, survivors and those they love. Her writings show others a way back when they think everything is lost.

Her character’s stories give the reader that most welcome gift – hope. 

Some other things she enjoys: genealogy, riding horseback, and, of course, reading.

Follow Traci on her adventure of getting published.

Website: Where Genres Collide 

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Two Drops of Ink is always looking to publish the how-to that will help writers and bloggers improve their writing, poetry, short fiction, and memoir as it relates to the writer and blogger. 

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