How to Come Up With Fresh Writing Ideas #365grateful

By Stacy Melanie Jerger (@ApoideaEdits)

365Grateful

I take a lot of photos and I’m an active Instagram user. It’s hard to remember a time (not long ago) when I didn’t snap a picture of things that delighted me. But instead of uploading a photo and ending the experience there, I can do more with snippets that delight me momentarily.

I stumbled on 365 Grateful, a movement about the extraordinary power of gratitude. Once a day you take a photo of something you’re grateful for and write about it. This is a daily mental exercise, a personal journey, that forces us to observe and appreciate what happens around us and to us.

This is perfect for writers, dontchathink?

The Grateful Project is about reflecting, being grateful, paying attention to the small things, connecting with your surroundings—to find happiness. This is a great project too if you’re feeling down or trying to overcome something that’s holding you back.

I think about the writing prompts and writing journals I’ve kept over the years and this project falls into the same theme of experiencing something and writing about it. And for fiction writing, seeing where a photo can take you creatively.

Finding Inspiration in Writing

Writing about yourself can fuel ideas in fiction. Characters come from us and our experiences. We have good ideas and bad ideas. When it comes to brainstorming and racking our heads for inspiration, a great method is to jot down a bunch of ideas in a list and choose the best two or three to explore (hint: it’s never the first idea that comes to mind).

But a photo and a few written words a day builds a catalog of ideas and untapped writing inspiration—and they’re all coming from you.

The year is new (Happy 2014!) and now’s the perfect time to start a project like this.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to use my Instagram account, a tumblr, Evernote, or a hardcopy journal to do this project, but I’m interested in trying and exploring the small moments that prompt me to take all my photos and reflect. I'm looking forward to becoming a better writer by doing this exercise too!

What are you grateful for? What are you looking forward to?