Writers Write! It would be helpful to keep a pen, notepad, or recorder handy at all times. As you go about your daily routine, don't ignore the obvious. There is a writing "nugget" in every action, observation, and experience. I decided to test this theory for one week and here's what I observed:
Setting the Stage
At a Restaurant or Fast Food "pit stop" – Observe the waitresses and other patrons; describe the decor and atmosphere. Let your sense of smell, taste, and touch direct your thoughts. Write what you feel or what the sights and sounds mean to you. My writing moment was peaked during an experience while visiting my favorite seafood restaurant. While waiting for the meal I observed a young lady seated alone. / several times she would turn her eyes to gaze at the door. I'm not sure if she was expecting or hoping someone would appear. When she was looking at the door, she was studying her drink. Watching her, I was reminded of my single life years earlier. What title would you give this short story? Give it an ending.
At the Airport – Put on your happy traveler's hat and make the best of every issue or challenge knowing it may be an opportunity to write. Observe fellow travelers, ticket agents, and describe experiences at security checkpoints. I enjoyed jotting down all the travel tips that could be included in an article. Helpful reminders like bringing an extra sweater or lightweight scarf for addressing air conditioning issues on the plane, because airlines don't offer blankets and pillows anymore, is invaluable information to the weary traveler. Then there's standing in line for the ladies bathroom, or detailing the benefits of checking flight schedules at least 1 hour before traveling and making sure your cell phone is fully charged.
At your House of Worship – A great deal of my writing comes as a direct result of the time I spend under the Word of God. As a Christian writer, I consciously seek to connect my writing to the messages I heard from the sermons or scripture readings. Our life is our testimony to others. What better way than to use a scriptural based topic to illustrate the potential for a positive outcome when applied to whatever we are experiencing today.
The Shopping Mall – People watching is an experience that cannot be compared to any other. What you capture and summarize through pure observation can create the perfect foundation for narratives that will capture the imagination of your audience. For example, the pregnant mom holding one child by the hand while reaching for baby supplies with other; the all too buys store clerk, or the "midweek" or holiday sale days. You could also write about the dilemma shopping malls face as a result of individual store closures, including their effect on the surrounding community.
These are only a few of many "in the moment" ideas for writers. The point here is you are never at a loss for topics. All you need is openness to the possibility that every experience, no matter how small, is an opportunity to create good reading material.
The "Free-Flow" Process
In the moment writing is spontaneous, includes words or phrases that are not necessarily connected, describes an observation or emotion, and may be attached to a photo or business card. It is important not to use an "in the moment" opportunity as a time to form sentences or paragraphs or to critique grammar. These are moments to allow creative juices to flow such that the only important focus is getting your ideas on paper. The content can be developed later. Warning! If you spend time editing while writing, you may lose the thought and nullify your "in the moment" experience.
In the moment experiences can be the catalyst to your next great work. Don't ignore them. Embrace them.