I frequently write short stories as kind of “pallet cleansers” as it were, in between writing novels. Sometimes, those stories are pure inspiration, that is, I write about whatever comes to mind.

However, often that isn’t the case. I’ll have some story that’s due for an anthology or other assignment.

Then, seeking inspiration becomes a bit trickier.

Generally speaking, I’m only going to write stories for those assignments that inspire me. For example, one of the magazines that I irregularly write for is Boundary Shock Quarterly. They recently had a cyberpunk issue.

Cyberpunk isn’t my thing. It isn’t a genre that I read or write in.

Now, if I’d come up with a marvelous idea and felt inspired to write something for the issue, I would have. But I didn’t have to try to find inspiration for it. I could just let that one go.

There are other magazines and anthologies that I feel much more compelled to write for, such as my own mystery magazine (Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem) or my annual anthology, Cutter’s Final Cut.

These are always themed, so I need to find a story along the theme for the issue. As I know the editor (^_^) I’m not as concerned about hitting the theme. Frequently I’ll wait until I have all the other stories in hand before I write mine, as then I can plug any holes that I feel need filling.

However, I still need to come up with a story idea. I can’t wait until inspiration hits me. It may not come in time.

One of the best pieces of writing advice that I’ve ever received is this: Don’t write about what you know. Instead, write about what you’re passionate about.

I don’t want to say that my passions are fickle. I’m always passionate about writing and publishing. Beyond those though, what I’m interested in at any particular point does change. For example, right now I’m redoing my bathroom. I’ve spent time watching YouTube videos of transformations of small spaces, as well as How To videos, to make sure that I’m doing it right.

As this bathroom project is nearly finished—only a few days left before it’s DONE—I don’t want to write about it or any sort of renovation. I’m tired of that. (This isn’t to say that I won’t write about that sort of thing again—it is something that I’ve written about in the past and will probably write about again in the future.)

What else am I interested in currently? We’re considering buying a pellet smoker/grill. I’m doing a lot of research into exactly what model I want, what features I want, how much am I willing to pay for something like this, and so on. I’ve changed my diet recently and so am eating a lot (a LOT) of meat. It would be nice to have a grill that I could use in the rain.

Is that something I’m passionate about to write about? Probably not. Not until we have one and I get to use it. Right now, it’s all theory, no practice.

What else am I currently interested in? There are my birds, of course. It’s summertime, and I see so many birds outside right now. It’s a delight. (Except of course at 4 AM when I’ve left the windows open and they start singing and wake me up…)

There’s all the stuff I’m growing right now. And the differences between the stevia that I make versus the stuff you buy. (The stevia I make is green. If you think about it, in part, that’s because the leaves are green. The stuff you buy in the store is either clear or white. I’m suspicious of that, what sort of bleaching chemicals they use to get it to be that color. I have no bad reaction to the stevia I make, unlike the store brands…)

I need to write about an older woman with magic, for the Crones anthology. I think there’s something there, something odd and strange and maybe done in second person about this old woman in her tiny house with all the plants and birds…


Time to go write!

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