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  • apsarabanerjee

A secret to coming up with creative story ideas.

So here's the thing - I need to confess something, it's something I have never experienced ever in my lifetime...


Yes, it's true - when my 8-year-old son tells me he is bored, it's something I can't relate to as I have truly never experienced it.

Perhaps it's because I've always been a perennial daydreamer. My mind never rests - it's always off in la la land (as my mum used to tell me). It's unfortunately why I am so forgetful, much to my husband's dismay. When I was a young girl, I was dreaming of new ways to create something - like how to achieve the perfect skin tone to colour in with by mixing different coloured pencils.

As a teenager, I daydreamed about the year 10 boy I had a massive crush on, and how I would muster up the courage to say anything to him on the bus, imagining all the scenarios of that perfect chance encounter, so he too could fall in love with me.

Now as a working mum - My thoughts are a jumbled mess of To-do lists, kids' activities, work deadlines, and writing.

What I am getting at is that creativity can come from anywhere. Just let yourself get bored every now and then. Give yourself time and mental space to allow for ideas to come. For me, creative ideas can come from hanging clothes, washing the dishes, meandering around a bookstore, or looking up (or down) and noticing the little details of daily life. This is where the magic lies. It is sometimes in the day-to-day, the ordinary, the tiny spaces in between.

If you are still stuck for ideas when you stare at a blank screen then these are a few ideas that can help:

  1. Read a picture book (perhaps a few favourites or a new one from the bookstore/library) and rewrite the story differently - changing the characters, the setting or the ending.

  2. Similarly, take a picture book - find a line from the book (or theme) and see if you can come up with 5 different creative ideas from this book.

  3. Talk with your kids (or friends' kids or neighbours' kids) and ask them questions - what makes them laugh, what's a funny thing that happened to them recently, what scares them.

  4. Immerse yourself in a creative environment - for me, it's in a gallery or a bookstore, painting with kids, colouring, or at the library. Maybe it's in nature - a garden, the ocean, by the river, travelling, camping...a city or neighbourhood stroll.

  5. Pay attention to small things - watch ants do their thing, observe leaves twirling before they hit the ground, and listen to the sounds of the city bustle. Write down that line of a poem or that Instagram post message you love. Write or draw what you see and hear. You never know where these lines or images may end up.

  6. Sign yourself up for a story prompt month - like Storystorm to give your space to think creatively.

I will also confess that I have many days or months where creativity does not spark - and so I sometimes have to wait for the window to open. So don't be too hard on yourself if ideas don't rush in, because perhaps the next time boredom sets in, it's replaced with a brilliant flush of an idea.


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