Guest Post by Becky Wilcox
As a writer, be you freelance, creative, blogger, journalist, or otherwise, coming up with new topics and ideas can be a serious obstacle in the pursuit of quality, creative content. The important thing to remember is that the material is out there in abundance; one just needs to know where to look to find it. Often times it just takes that one small creative push to get you going.
As a freelance writer, blogger, and creative writer myself, I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best places to find a creativity-stimulating environment to help come up with ideas and give you the extra little push you need:
Whether it’s the fact that there are thousands of books filled with millions upon millions of pages of writing surrounding you, or just the calm, peaceful silence libraries afford, coming up with ideas here seems to be easier than many other places. If you’re completely blocked for ideas, it’s as easy as picking up a book or four and flipping through a couple random pages to find an interesting topic or idea to put your spin on.
One of the things I love most about the library is finding dusty old volumes full of strange or even creepy pictures and text. Well-funded public libraries are treasure troves of ideas, ranging from paranormal activity to technology.
– Art Gallery
Although they can be pretty abstract at times, I often find that a gallery with some great, unique art can inspire solid writing concepts for me. If there are any local galleries in your area, I strongly recommend checking them out. If nothing else, you might gain an appreciation for some local artists, and maybe meet a few like-minded people along the way. If a physical gallery isn’t an option, or not your particular cup of tea, check out some galleries via the web. The Fairgoer is a great example of an online avenue for checking out some great art from around the world.
– Coffee Shop
I know, I know… it’s the most cliché, generic concept in the world: a writer sitting in a coffee shop, writing. Like most clichés though, there’s a reason for this one. The combo of java, peace, and great people watching and conversation listening makes for some great ideas and a constant flow of creative, caffeine supported energy. Although pretty much any public eatery will do, coffee shops just seem to be the best place – most likely because of the coffee, but who really knows?
– Public Park
These days, with computers being the choice utensil for a writer, it’s become less practical to write outside the confines of some sort of sun-shaded building. A computer screen usually just doesn’t lend itself to the glare of the great outdoors; it’s also hard to plug a power adapter into a tree. However, if you can break yourself away from your beloved computer, and try getting a few ideas down via the archaic modes of paper and pencil… you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Working in the great outdoors seems to open up some especially clogged creative pathways in the brain. If there’s a public park, or even a nice mountainous hike that affords a great view from the top, try bringing a pad and pencil and getting some writing done at these places. It’s amazing what a refreshing experience writing in an outdoor venue really affords.
– Crowded Venues
These places are for the writers who need stimulation and action around them for inspiration. Hotel lobbies, a park bench in a crowded area, any place where there are a lot of people, can really jack up a creative streak. If you happen to live in an active city like New York, finding a glamorous hotel lobby in a place like the Hampshire House might be just what the doctor ordered. It all depends on what you're trying to be inspired by.
Generally, the greatest advice I’ve ever received when it comes to finding ideas is simply get out of your house, or the office, or wherever it is you usually write. Just getting your eyes off the computer screen and seeing or being around some fresh new sites and sights, is a sure-fired way to find some great ideas, and keep yourself sane in the process.