I read magazines and newspapers by pulling out articles that I think I could use to write new stories or articles. I have a bookmark folder on my computer full of hundreds of blogs, articles, and little tidbits. I already have more ideas than I can work on in a year, but I keep collecting them. Sometimes I have to annotate my ideas or sketch out a quick query letter. I’m always looking for a better way to organize these ideas.
Research is nothing more than stealing from multiple sources, right? Is there anything wrong with taking another writer’s article and offering a fresh perspective? It’s just a matter of doing your own legwork — conducting your own interviews, etc.
Personally, I ‘steal’ from a lot of places:
- Press releases — Oh, I adore press releases. A good press release almost always includes some sort of problem that a company’s product or service fixed, is fixing or will fix. Those problems are prime writing material.
- Wired magazine — This is one of my favorite magazines. It and a few national magazines provide lots of opportunities for taking a very broad story and localizing it.
- Blogs — I read a lot of blogs. More than I can count. I bookmark a good percentage of posts, whether for good writing styles, good ideas or good resources.
- The public library — Sometimes I go to the local library and just wander around, reading the backs of books. I’ll come home with a big stack of books to read and ideas to write.
I’m also that person who always has to have a notebook for new ideas, and they tend to pop up in the most random of conversations.
Where do your ideas come from? And how do you track them?
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