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I Don't Know
By Angela Giles Klocke
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How many times have you sat at your desk and stared at your blank computer
screen? Or, you've had pen and paper, your favorite coffee or tea, and curled up
in a comfy chair only to doodle how
your name will read one day on your yet-to-be-complete novel? The one running
thought in your mind is that you just don't have anything to write about -
Been there, still often do that. It's either "this idea has been
done over and over," or "I don't have anything I can write about." Yes, you know
what I mean. You've been there, and may be there right now.
So how many times, then, have you really tried to dissect your life for ideas?
Do you look around and see a few ideas, or do you dig deep and find the treasure
pot? Let's take a look at your
life - a close look:
The Playful Way to Serious Writing "a way to
break that shell of fear," "bypass the inner voice that stops you" and "
lose yourself like a child in the magic of creating."
Children - Do you have more than one child? If so, you have a wealth of
information right there. No two children are alike; many articles can be written
about their differences, such as one
who may love school and one whom you may have to struggle with concerning all
things involving school. One child may never need your help with homework, but
the other may even try to get you to
do it for him.
* Do any of your children have allergies?
* Have you made it through a particularly trying time with your
daughter or son?
* Is bedwetting a problem with one of your children?
* Do your children get along very well, unlike other children?
* What funny little things does each of your children do?
* Does one of your children reach out and help others?
* Has one of your children picked up a hobby that hasn't been
popular for years?
Your Spouse - We all have stories about our spouses, whether they
are good or bad. Some are funny, while some are sad. Some of us
may have ex-spouses we can write about. Think outside of the
norm. Don't just write about how you have a happy marriage, or
how your divorce was bad. Dig deeper into what seemed like normal
* WHY is your marriage so happy? What is it you and your spouse
may do to make your marriage better than average? If you've been
married many years, write about the challenges you've faced and
how you handled each to give your marriage such long-lasting
* What funny habits does your spouse have? You don't have to
outright reveal them to write about them - you can always use
them to bring your fiction alive. Or, with permission, do write
about them for light humor pieces.
* Learn more about your spouse's job. You don't have to actually DO something to
write about it.
* What are your spouse's hobbies? Do you like them, hate them, have no opinion?
* Is there something that you and your spouse totally differ on?
What is it? Why do you have such different opinions? Present them
* Are you still friends with your ex-spouse? Write about how you've been able to
maintain a friendship when so many others
Your Home - We spend a large amount of time in our homes. It is
easy to overlook the small things, like how we decorated, or how
we manage the laundry for a family of eight (or how we don't
manage it well!), or even how we run the household in general.
Your home holds within it a wealth of article material.
* Is your home very, very clean or very, very lived in? Why? Do you spend hours
keeping it clean, or do you try to no avail? Are you more comfortable in a lived
in home? Find specific target
markets and write about your methods for either. If you're very messy or
cluttered, remember that you can also write an article to help others NOT get
* Do you decorate with expensive, country, or plain décor? Are
family pictures in every room, or intricate artwork? White walls
and carpet, or bright colors and dark carpet? Do you choose your décor for you,
or do you buy according to the age of your children? Look toward both
parenting-type and general magazines
depending on how you decorate, and write about anything you may find relevant.
Example: Perhaps you decorated expensively for an inexpensive amount. Write
about how you did it.
* Does your family have a special room you all spend time in? What is it, and
what do you do that makes it special?
* What shortcuts do you take to keep your household running smoothly? Share them
and help others do the same.
As you can see, you don't have to live an exciting adventurous life to get
material for your writing. Anything you see or do is fodder for articles and/or
fiction. From the simplest thing - a spoon left forgotten under the table - to
the biggest event in your life - the birth of triplets! - you DO have something
Each day, ask yourself this simple question: What do I see in my life?
Angela Giles Klocke is the founder and publisher of The Writing Parent - THE
zine/site for parents who write. Visit today for a free subscription at