HOW TO KEEP A CONSTANT SOURCE OF INSPIRATION (AND HUMOR)



Many moons ago, when I was a wide-eyed college freshman, I thought I wanted to major in film. (That didn't end up working out, but that's another story for another time.) For one of my prerequisite classes, I had to keep a journal of story ideas that I picked up from the world around me. Anything was fair game to be written down. My TA taught our class this method to keep our ideas organized:


Character

Location

Objectives

Situations

Action

Props

Theme


(And no, I have no idea what CLOSAPT might mean.)


I still have that journal, and some of the entries look like this:



Situation: team of archaeologists looking for tomb of Genghis Khan [from a story told by my archaeology professor, who had some seriously Indiana-Jones-like adventures on this expedition]
Prop: crumpled half-sheet of blank notebook paper at the bottom of a backpack
Location: a restaurant called the Kitchen Garden


It also turns out that when you're paying more attention to the world around you in general, you hear some . . . interesting things. I had to add a new category (random lines) to my journal so I could record gems like these:



"Don't talk to muffin trees." -one of my guy friends
"I'm trying to be big and tough and hard. I'm . . . failing miserably." -my archaeology professor, tongue in cheek
"PHOTOSYNTHESIS! Yay!" -random girl, loud enough for me to hear partway across a plaza


Because of this experience, I still write down random quotes. I try to incorporate at least one into each screenplay that I write, and they're always good for a laugh when I'm having a down day.


I highly recommend starting your own idea journal. Write down anything that could go into a story, article, or whatever it is you write. They don't all have to be million-dollar ideas. Something about writing things down helps fix those ideas in your brain, where your subconscious can work on them. Years after I started my journal, one of my early ideas became the screenplay that helped me get into a graduate program for screenwriting (yet another story for another time).


So give it a shot. You never know what will come from a quickly jotted-down idea. 


Write on,

Candice


(Modified from an email originally sent to subscribers 1/20/2020. Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash.)

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