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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Renegade Writer's Tips for Finding Article Ideas and Using Smells to Brainstorm

Linda Formichelli has a great blog on finding article subjects called 8 Tips for Generating Salable Article Ideas. I love her site, The Renegade Writer. If you're writing freelance, you should check it out.

I'll add a tip of my own for essay and article writers. Try using smells to generate memories and associations. Smell is a strong brain trigger for memories, so use it to brainstorm about what the smell reminds you of. (Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition now.) I use this with my class sometimes to help them think of possible essay topics.

Maybe smelling baking bread reminds you of your flour-covered fingers kneading dough in your grandmother's kitchen. Then you can write an essay about your baking memory and submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul. They are looking for stories about Baking With Kids. Share your loaf lessons of childhood baking and you may get published. And don't forget to incorporate sensory information into your writing. It gives it a whole new dimension and texture.

Some other smells to scratch and sniff for ideas:
peanut butter
cut grass
roses (yeah, corny. I just told you to stop and smell them)

Today is the morning Coffee and Critique Meeting. Hope to see you there.


Vicki said...

Love the smell idea. That's one I haven't used. :)

zeldadg said...

Thanks. And thanks for running the contest on your blog. I'll link to it for my group.

Tricia Grissom

Anonymous said...

Love the smell idea - really good journal topic, memoir... How about vanilla? I've been ga-ga for vanilla scents for the past year - wonder why? And mint...

zeldadg said...

Excellent idea. I actually thought of it last night and couldn't believe I didn't include it on the list. I think I'll go edit and add it to the suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I attended a literacy tutor training workshop and our facilitator used this technique - she had us close our eyes while she distributed bags of popcorn. I found myself transported back to Springfield (Mass.) Indians hockey games in the early 1980s. It was a very effective strategy!

zeldadg said...

Hi Joanne,
Thanks for the comment. Smells have always been a strong trigger for me. My sense of smell is a little overdeveloped, which was hell when I was pregnant. But it makes for easier smell brainstorming :)