Where to find the stories

While some writers seem to have the ability to write “on demand,” most of us are not so fortunate. We have to learn to find inspiration and capture it on paper (or screen).

Excercises help writers, but they seldom lead to complete stories.

Daily Page(s)

Even if you aren’t a writer, the “Daily Page” is a good way to start finding inspiration. The basic concept is to fill one standard page every day, at least five days a week. The writing can be anything, from descriptions of your day to experimental poetry. The main thing is to write. Creating just five pages a week you will find good ideas were waiting to escape.

Some authors demand a minimum page count from themselves as a way to meet deadlines. Maybe such routines make sense from a career perspective, but writing daily is also good exercise. Writing on a regular basis is like going to the gym; the more you exercise, the more you can do. What was a page becomes two or three pages a day. We know one writer who went from one page to ten pages a day — surpassing any goals she had set for herself.

Keep It Simple

Daily pages can be on a computer, certainly, but we suggest using paper. Yes, real paper. A legal notepad, a journal, or a spiral-bound notebook all work fine without electricity or batteries.

The idea of daily pages is not that we can create “literature” with every sentence. Instead, record every idea, even random thoughts. What seems like a strange, odd, weird idea one morning might later inspire a great work of fiction. You never know what you will find on your own pages.

For the daily pages to reach their full potential, be sure to store them! This is why it is useful to write in a notebook or journal. You can store the pages and look back over the months (or even years) and find forgotten ideas.

Using Real Life

start real, make bigger — most reality is “small”



Fiction Friction

be careful

using existing characters only with permission


Bickham, Jack M. 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, The. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 1992. (ISBN: 0898798213)

Fletcher, Ralph J. A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You. New York: Avon Books, 1996. (ISBN: 0380784300)

Polking, Kirk ed. Beginning Writer’s Answer Book. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest, 1994. (ISBN: 0898795990)

Rozakis, Laurie E. Creative Writing. Complete Idiot's Guide to, The. New York: Simon & Schuster, Alpha Books, 1997. (ISBN: 0028617347)


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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 08-Mar-2017
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach