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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday Dec. 27, 2011


I hope that you've been enjoying the holiday season and keeping the Christmas cookies and spiced eggnog in healthy moderation :) If you're dying to get productive during this time of perpetual family fun (and drama) check out the job postings below...

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Auto News Writer: Ann Arbor 

Web Content Specialist: Ann Arbor 

Online News Editor: Ann Arbor 

Social Media Trainee: Birmingham 

Legal Writing: Detroit 

Edit a Short Piece of Writing: Detroit Area 

Reporter for High School Sports News: Grand Rapids 

Grant Writer Wanted: Holland 

Reporters: Muskegon 

Internship for Writer: Royal Oak

Media Specialist: Traverse City 

Social Media Manager: Troy 

Producer - Writer: Wayne State  

Telecommute Writing Gigs - Write From Home 

Travel Writer 

Technical Software Writer: Southeast MI and Telecommute 

English Instructional Writer 

Activism Intern Writers 

Tech Bloggers 

Special Education Assessment Writer 

U of M Grad Editorial Work 

Blogger for Women's Intimates 

Content Writers 

Online Natural Health Senior Editor

Blog Writer Wanted 

Unpaid Writing Requests and Submissions 

Fashion Magazine Writers

Submissions for Literary Magazine: Empirical 

Short Stories for The Snake Magazine 

Hip Hop Bloggers 

Social Media for Music Magazine 

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.

- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, December 19, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday Dec. 19th, 2011

So sorry writers for the delayed job posts. I've been hard at work building a website for Fabinelli's Candy - you can see it here, thus I have neglected my writing blog. However, the Holiday season has nearly come and gone and I intend to return to this blog with renewed vigor. I hope this Monday finds you well. Best of luck with all of your writing plans!

Writing Jobs in Michigan 

Social Media: Ann Arbor

Ghost Writer for Breach of Employment Contract: Birmingham

Experienced TV Writers: Detroit

Community Outreach Specialist/Contest Supervisor: Detroit

Game Writers: Detroit

Technical Writer: East Lansing

Business Analyst/Technical Writer: Farmington Hills

Report Editor: Farmington Hills

Project Manager/Technical Writer: Fremont

Multi-Media Journalist: Grand Rapids

Reporter: Grand Rapids

Service Writer: Saginaw

Part Time Reporter/Editor: Southfield

Executive Editor: Traverse City

Desktop Publisher: Troy

Test Prep and Essay Writing Tutor: Troy

Marketing Coordinator: Troy

BIRT Report Writer: Southfield

Grant Writing Help: Wayne County

Documentation Specialist: Ypsilanti

Telecommute - Work at Home Writing Jobs 

Common Core English Instructional Writer

Freelance Writers

Bloggers for ROSJ News

Minecraft Community Leader/Blogger

Economics Blogger

Tech Writers

Education Writer for ESL Material

Spanish Literature Writer


Editor for Fitness Blog

PR/Proposals Background Writer

Sports and Business Blog Writer

Unpaid Writing Gigs and Writing Submissions

Active Gear Writers: Writer for Free Outdoor Gear

Radical Ideas Bloggers

SEO Work for Trade: Michigan

Trade Poetry Editing for Ebook and Website work

Sketch Comedy Writers

Relationship Blog Contributors

Short Story Submissions

Reading and weeping opens the door to one's heart, but writing and weeping opens the window to one's soul.

- M. K. Simmons

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Writing Jobs for Saturday December 10, 2012

Check out this week's writing jobs, which include web content specialists in Ann Arbor, telecommute editing gigs and a variety of other Michigan-based and online writing opportunities.

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Technical Editor - Repair Manuals: Auburn Hills

News Team Analysis: Ann Arbor

Web Content Specialist: Ann Arbor

Thought Leadership Writer: Ann Arbor

Content Writer: Ann Arbor

Web/Mobile Producer and SEO Specialist: Ann Arbor

Editing and Production Assistant: Ann Arbor

Copywriter: Detroit

Associate Medical Writer: Detroit

VP, Digital Media Director: Detroit

Technical Writer: Livonia

Web Content Specialist: Novi

Knowledge Author/Technical Writer: Pontiac

Talented Writers: Southfield

Creative Writer for Technology Newsletter: Troy

Telecommute Writing Gigs (From Home)

Per Piece Writer

Part Time Editor for Oncology Reports

Ebook and Article Writers Wanted

Digital Writer

Talented Writer for Chef Website

Write About Latin America

Foreign Language/English Proofreading

Web Content Editing

Ongoing Writing Projects

Freelance Content Writers 

Savvy Social Media Person 

Senior Copywriters for Direct Mail 

Unpaid Writing Jobs and Submission Requests 

Fashion Blogger

Greeting Card Submissions

Creative Writers for Social Network

Call for Short Fiction and Poetry

Accepting Creative Nonfiction and Photography

Literary Stories and Poems Wanted

'How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.'
Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Writing Jobs for Sunday Dec. 4th

Hello writers, I have been busy with candy making these last few days, but wanted to take a moment and send out writing job opportunities in Michigan and online. Please let me know if you would like to see more of either. I would also love to link to some of your blogs, writing articles or highlight any author events that you may have coming up, so if you have a moment, shoot me a comment of email. Cheers!

Michigan Writing Jobs

Grant Writer: Albion

Editing and Production Assistant: Ann Arbor

Part Time News Service Communications Specialist: Big Rapids

Internship at Downtown publication: Birmingham

Medical Writer: Detroit

Freelance Auto Writers: Detroit

Arts Blogger: Detroit

Editor for Manuscript: East Lansing

Editor III: East Lansing

Assistant Editor: Ferndale

Mommy Bloggers: Grand Rapids

Freelance Writer/Page Editor: Macomb County

Automotive Developer/Technical Writer: Rochester Hills

Instructors for Adult Writing: Sterling Heights

Creative Writer for Technology Newsletter: Troy

Documentation Specialist: Troy

Telecommute Writing Jobs (From Home)

Content Writer

PR Help (low pay)

Business Education Writers

Copywriter for Business Website

Creative Slogan Writers

Financial Aid Writer

Blogger for Website

SEO Articles

English Subject Matter Experts

Grant Writer: Michigan/Telecommute

Seeking Romantic Erotic Fiction

Real Estate Blogger

Gun Writer

Internet News Writer/Blogger

Unpaid Writing Gigs and Submissions

Golf Writers

Contributing Writers for New Magazine

U of M Lit. Students for Interviews: Kerrytown (gift cards for first response)

Auto Intern Blogger

Women's Magazine Submissions (paid)

Co-Writer for First Novel: Port Huron

‘If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.’
Isaac Asimov

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing Events and Contests

Generally, I like to divide these categories up, but to streamline this post, I'm going to bring you events and contests at once. 

Michigan Writer's Events

Ann Arbor: Meet Several Local Authors, such as Jonathan Rand, in December at Nicola's Books

Detroit Area: Visit the Motown Writer's Network Monthly Calendar to see a variety of writing groups and events in the Detroit Metro area.

Lyons: Leaven Center presents The Sacred in Everyday Life: A Writing Workshop for Women: January 13-15

Marquette: Visit the Regional Author Extravaganza at Snowbound Books in December 

Writing Contests

Beecher Magazine Fiction and Poetry Contest: Deadline Dec. 7

Hunger Mountain Ruth Stone Poetry Contest 

Crab Creek Review Fiction Contest: Deadline Dec. 15 

Toasted Cheese Fiction Contest: Deadline Dec. 21 

Bayou Magazine Fiction and Poetry Contest: Deadline Dec. 31

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest: Deadline Dec. 31

River Styx Micro-Fiction Contest: Deadline Dec. 31

Gemini Magazine Poetry Contest: Deadline Jan 3 

Diore Press Fiction and Poetry Chapbook Contest: Jan. 9 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Write a Book: Tips

I would love to start this post by saying that I’m an expert book writer; however, despite many years of writing, reading and studying the world of publishing, I still frequently feel that I am stumbling around a dark room looking for answers that aren’t actually there.

Before embarking on this long, and often arduous, journey it’s important to know what you’re after. Do you love to read fiction and long to detail your own epic love story that weaves a tale of elves, ogres and evil princes? Do you want to write an informative nonfiction book about growing wheat grass, choosing natural birth or writing a knockout resume? Understanding your goal is paramount because you can create an outline or plan from that larger intention.

Will you write fiction, nonfiction, memoir or novella? Figure it out and then go one step further and figure yourself out. Why do you want to write this book, this story? For me, writing has always been a release. I journal ferociously, but writing a novel is about moving into the realm of possibility. It’s about feeling inspired to tell a story and giving myself the power to create a whole new world and lead a character through it. It also comes down to self-discovery and world discovery because I’m becoming intimately acquainted with a space that exists within me and within the larger consciousness of humankind.

For instance, I wrote a fantasy book last year called Ula and it has been contracted for publication through Bluewood Publishing. When I started the novel, my central character, Abby, did not exist. Ula began as a few paragraphs about a girl walking through a forest and stumbling upon a dead body. Where did the idea come from? Who knows, really? I love the woods and I’ve always been drawn to the macabre so it was likely born from that eerie feeling that periodically accompanies a walk in the forest. Thus Ula began with this idea, but a single scene does not a novel make, so from that scene I moved backwards. Where had my character been before finding this body? What types of synchronicities had occurred to bring her to this juncture? And then I moved forward. How had discovering this body changed her life? What would happen as a result of her discovery?

As I wrote the story, I began to know my protagonist more and more deeply. I wrote her actions, her thoughts and her appearance. In a sense, her experiences became my experiences. Then something interesting happened; I began to move the novel into the realm of fantasy. No longer was I writing from the limitations of life, as we know it; I was writing from a bottomless chasm of magic, witches and evil. I was giving myself an enormous creative gift by veering into the world of the unknown and the unknowable. In fantasy, all is possible and there is something very tantalizing about writing from such a wide, wonderful space. I had not anticipated this novel as fantasy when I started it, but that is what makes creative writing so fantastic; it's your creation, it can go anywhere you choose to take it.

Once I moved to fantasy, I also opened the possibility of multiple books, a trilogy or more. This allowed me to introduce more characters, more storylines and more questions. I am not an avid fantasy reader and, at times, this made writing fantasy difficult, but at the end of the day, we are all steeped in fantasy from birth until death; our imaginations feed on it, our souls need it to recognize how amazing life on earth truly is.

Your imagination is the infinite pool of wisdom that you can dip into generously for ideas. For the less creative aspects of writing a book, consider the tips outlined below:

  • Find your prime writing time and be selfish about it. I write really well in the mornings. My mind is clear, I’m fresh from a night of dream travel and the day is just beginning. I make a French press of coffee, sit in a comfy window-facing chair and get down to business. Writing is tough and it’s even harder when you’re tired, unmotivated or uninspired. Monitor your writing experience at various times of the day for a week and take notice of when you’re at your best and then carve that time out for writing and stick to it!

  • Put pen to paper or fingers to keys - no matter what. It is very easy to choose something other than writing - like petting your cat, surfing the web or rearranging your living room furniture, but if you repeatedly do those things, the writing simply will not happen and the book will never get finished. Once you have blocked-out your writing time, commit to doing nothing else during that window. If you can’t get motivated to write your next scene, try journaling instead. Write about your day, your observations or happy childhood memories. You're setting an intention and each day that you fulfill it, you improve your craft and your commitment.

  • Write through the blocks. I’m not a huge fan of the term writer’s block, but I am familiar with feeling stuck. Sometimes it’s a difficult character or you've reached a major turning point and just aren’t sure where to go. In these cases, I write a future scene. I simply skip where I’m at and plug myself into some less pressure-filled moment where my protagonist is encountering an old friend or stumbling across some worthy clue. I write this scene as if I will throw it away. This allows me to write past the block and potentially connect to a future plot point.

  • Find creative ways to know your characters. Sometimes my characters are very real in my head; other times they are mere shadows of a life and I stress over their every move. I like to plug my characters into personality quizzes to get to know them better. The questions on the quizzes provide quirky and sometimes helpful information about your characters' behaviors, personalities and beliefs. Try quizzes on Psychology Today to discover their sensuality levels, paranormal beliefs and more. 

"Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window."

William Faulkner 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday November 28, 2012

Hi writers! We have a nice selection of writing jobs this week including food writers in Ann Arbor, online content creators and a variety of writing calls for submissions. Best of luck in all of your creative endeavors. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Food Writers: Ann Arbor

Press Representative: Ann Arbor

SEO/SEM Sales Specialist: Center Line

Experienced Sports Broadcaster: Detroit Area

Managing Editor: Detroit

Resume Writer: Detroit

Associate, Communications Writer: Detroit

Screen Play Writers: Detroit

Grant Writer: Detroit

Editor II: East Lansing

Audio Media Editor: Flint

Technical Writer: Grand Rapids

Web Updating and Marketing: Macomb

SMO Specialist: Novi

Marketing Letter Assistance: Oakland County/Telecommute

Reporter: Port Huron

Content for Business Website: Roseville

Interactive Content Manager: Southfield

Horror and Sci Fi Writers: Wayne County

Telecommute Writing Jobs (From Home) 

Website Content Writer

Creative Content Writers

Website Writers

Blogging and Reviews

Manuscript Proofreader/Editor

Textbook Editors

Newsletter Writer

Article Writer/Spinner


Sports Website Writers

Online Content Contributors

Unpaid Writing Gigs and Submissions

Fashion Bloggers

Literary Magazine Seeks Submissions

Celebrity Stylist Needs Fashion Blogger Intern: Detroit

Publishing Company Seeks Submissions

Running Bloggers

Submissions for Postcard Lit. Magazine

Travel Stories Wanted

‘I see the role of the writer as creating a room with big windows and leaving the reader to imagine. It’s a meeting on the page.’

Kevin Crossley-Holland 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writing Jobs for Saturday November 19, 2011

Look below for a variety of writing jobs in Michigan and online writing jobs including grant writers, SMO specialists and freelance bloggers. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan 

Grant Writer: Albion

Assistant Editor: Ann Arbor

Ford School Writer: Ann Arbor

Part Time Technical Writer: Ann Arbor

Digital Marketer/Copywriter: Battle Creek

News Services Communications Specialist: Big Rapids

Copywriter: Brighton/Telecommute

Service Advisor/Writer: Detroit

Grant Writer: Detroit

Website Writer/Manager: Detroit/Telecommute

Technical Writer: East Lansing

Editor II: East Lansing

Proposal Writer: Livonia

SMO Specialist: Novi/Northville

SEO & HTML Internship: Royal Oak

Horror & Science Fiction Writers: Wayne County

Telecommute : Online Writing Jobs 

Content Screener

Long Term Copywriting Project

PR & Copywriter

Freelance Writers Wanted


Technology Bloggers

Entertainment News Bloggers

Construction Business Writer/Editor

Linkbait Researcher

Marketing Copywriter

Food Writers/Bloggers

Freelance Copywriters

Copy Editor

New Media Company Seeks Writers

Biography Writers

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

Poetry Competition

Short Fiction and Poetry Submissions

VZ Magazine Contributors

Pigeontown Seeking Nonfiction and Photography

Golf Site Looking for Writers

Seeking Old Query Letters ($10 per)

‘Poets will never be the highest-paid writers in the world.  Instead, poetry will go on cutting a hand-made path through the mass-market insanity.  For me, anyway, that path is the one that leads to the Chapel of the Grail.’
Jeanette Winterson

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing Jobs for November 13th 2011

 Writing jobs for this week include reporters in Lansing, telecommute article writing jobs and a variety of writing submissions and internships.

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Information Technology/SEO: Algonac

Technical Copy/Editing: Ann Arbor

GSA & Gov. Contract Proposal Specialist: Canton

MaidenDentroit Seeks Writers: Detroit

GRE Question Writer: Grandville

Reporter/Writer: Lansing

Grant Writer: Lapeer

Creative Writer for Admissions Essay: Novi

Instructional Designers/Freelance Writers: Rochester Hills

SEO and HTML Internship: Royal Oak

Documentation Specialist: Troy

Senior Copywriter: Warren

Telecommute - Writing Jobs from Home

Copy Editor

Film Website Writers

Latin America Writer

Associate Editor for WorldJewishDaily

Marketing Assistant

Blog Writers

SEO Article Writer

Website Article Writer

Internet Research & Persuasive Writer

Professional Business Templates

Administrative & Editorial Assistant

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

Literary Magazine Submissions

News and Events for Local Stew

Editorial Intern

Music Bloggers

Screenplay Writer

Fiction and Poetry Submissions

Poetry Competition

"Becoming the reader is the essence of becoming a writer."
John O'Hara

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday November 7th 2011

Check out this week's array of writing jobs including Occupy Wall Street writers, web content specialists, car bloggers and many more. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan 

Quality Assurance Proofreader/Team Leader: Ann Arbor

Book Writing Project Help: Ann Arbor

Occupy Wall Street Ann Arbor Writers: Ann Arbor

Web Content Specialist: Ann Arbor

HR Professional for Editing Project: Burmingham/Troy

Freelance Copywriter: Detroit

Copywriting Jobs: Detroit

Audio Transcriber Needed: Detroit/Telecommute

Project Manager/Technical Writer: Fremont

Technical Writer: Lansing

SMO Specialist: Novi/Northville

Collection Writer: Novi

SEO & HTML Writing Internship: Royal Oak

Financial Writing: Southfield

Editorial/Blogger Extraordinaire: Troy

Tech Writer: Warren

Editor: Warren

Writing Jobs from Home : Telecommute Writing Jobs

Keyword Experts Wanted

Direct Response Copywriter

Home Furnishings Copywriter

Social Activist Intern Writers

Marketing Assistant for Health and Wellness Company

Educational Publishing Experience Writers

Literature Writers


Article Writing and Blogging

Food Writer (China Specialist)

Senior Grant Writers

Case Studies Writer with Professional Services Experience

Project Coordinator

Car Blogger Wanted

Aviation Marketing Material

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

ISO Hobbyist Writer

Short, Brilliant Non-Fiction

Social Media Intern

'My stories run up and bite me in the leg.  I respond by writing them down - everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.' 
Ray Bradbury
Higgins Lake, Michigan 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Writing Jobs

Find a variety of writing jobs in Michigan and from home. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Social Media and Writing Expert: Ann Arbor

Teaching - Writing: Ann Arbor 

Tutor for Writers: Ann Arbor 

Director of Social Media: Detroit 

Social Media Internship: Birmingham 

Grant Writer Needed: Detroit/Telecommute 

Press Release: Grand Rapids 

Content Writers: Grand Rapids 

Digital Marketing Specialist: Grand Rapids 

Part Time Transcriptionist: Grosse Point Farms 

Technical Writer: Lansing 

Technical Writer: Madison Heights 

Public Relations Internship: Okemos 

Web Developer/Creative Writer: Owosso

Part Time Web Content Editor: Portage 

Reporter: Port Huron 

Comedy Writer Wanted: Southfield 

News Internship: Southfield 

Social Media Success Specialist: Traverse City 

Telecommute Writing Gigs - Home Writing Jobs

Poet - Lyricist Wanted 

Therapist Writers

Blog Content Writer

Eco-Friendly Freelance Writer 

Gadget Geek Blogger 

Copy Editors 

Social Media Bloggers 

Web Content Work 

Biology Content Writer 

Online Event Guide Writer 

Freelance Writer 

Writing Submissions and Unpaid Gigs

Speculative Fiction Submissions 

Screenplay Writer for Webseries 

I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Writing Your Personal Essay

The personal essay: a long meandering jog down memory lane that often leaves one in fits of frustration and tears of nostalgic longing. Well maybe it's not always so emotionally charged, but it generally seems that the good ones, the pull at your heart strings personal essays, are just that.

Some of us write personal essays by choice, as a way to recapture for ourselves and convey to an audience a specific moment or period in our life. Others are required to write a personal essay for a course, whether it be in high school or at university. The motivation behind writing the essay may seem to vary, but if you believe that all experiences exist to guide and teach us, then you also must realize that being prompted to write a personal essay has something to do with what you need. Perhaps some memory has been gnawing at you, longing to be released.

That being said, writing a personal essay can be a challenge. The basics are simple enough: introduction paragraph, followed by three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph. I recommend choosing this easy structure so that you can release the burden of structure and focus instead on content.

So where do you begin with content? I think a little meditation time, some silence devoted to your topic is a good place to start. Ask yourself the question or questions that will ignite the subject that is most relevant for that moment. For instance: “What experience do I need to share with others?” or “What memory needs to be expressed and released?”

Ask yourself the deeper questions and then abandon them. Don’t sit and ponder it with your logical mind. Instead, allow the answer to rise from you organically. Perhaps a memory will pop up immediately or maybe an idea will appear that night in a dream. Don’t second guess the story that longs to be told.

According to Stanton Michaels in his article How to Write a Personal Essay, personal essays “should be honest, displaying your concerns and fears through specific, true-life examples rather than abstract concepts.”

Any reader can understand why this is a necessity; however, as a writer you might find this awkward, or even embarrassing. Displaying vulnerability is not always easy in personal essays, especially if a teacher or professor will be reading it and ultimately scoring you on what might be a very personal topic. It may be uncomfortable, but that’s where growth occurs - in that moment of stretching. When you move beyond your personal association with the event and you weave it into a story.

Not to derail from the topic here, but this is also great personal therapy and doesn’t necessarily have to end up in a reader's hands. Writing the narrative of events in your life gives you the opportunity to view them from a new perspective and perhaps to see patterns or archetypes that appeared during the event or moment.

Ultimately, personal essays should be personal. Give yourself the gift of absolute honesty and you may discover that the seemingly trivial details of your past are the most amazing guides for your future.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Writing Jobs for Saturday October 22nd

Writing jobs in Michigan

Small Business Journalist: Ann Arbor

Senior SEO Specialist: Ann Arbor

Communications Assistant: Ann Arbor

Copywriter: Ann Arbor

Japanese to English Translator: Ann Arbor

Grant Writer: Ann Arbor

Social Medial Help: Birmingham

Play Writers and Grant Writers: Detroit

Bird Hunters who Writer: Detroit

Publisher Assistant: Farmington Hills

Automotive Writer: Grand Rapids

Grant Writer: Jackson

Graduate Level Writing Tutor: Oakland/Macomb

Professional Writer: Oakpark/Telecommute

Reporter: Port Huron

Internship SEO: Royal Oak

Contingent Writer: Saline

Part Time Web/Social Media: Scio Township

Russian to English Translator: Southfield

Blogger for Real Estate Company: Sterling Heights


Technology Blogger

Auto Insurance Bloggers

Freelance Marketing Copywriter


Education Editor/Writer

Press Release Writer

B2B Insurance Editor/Writer

Sports Betting Freelance Writer

Nanny Bloggers

Guys on Their Dating Experience - Blog

Submissions and Unpaid 

Hunter to Write Articles

Submissions for Pork & Mead Magazine

New Garden Magazine

Female Short Stories

Submissions to Graze

‘I will never stop writing. People often ask when I will retire, but I say it’s none of their business. Writing defines who I am. I love the feeling of holding a finished book in my hands, and then I can’t wait to start the great adventure of writing the next one.’

Barbara Taylor Bradford 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding Inspiration in Writing Prompts

Most writers are eternally asking that elusive question: Where do ideas come from? They ask published authors at book signings, send lengthy e-mails and vehemently tune in when an author discloses that sparkling fountain of youth in which they dip their pen and proceed to ink out beautiful, haunting stories that leave us mad with envy, but desperate for one more line.

Popular fantasy author Neil Gaiman used to offer funny quips when asked this question. Now he just tells the truth, “I make them up.  Out of my head.” His answer is pointedly simple and not at all surprising.

Because there is no fountain of ideas, no treasure trove of brilliant stories that we too can discover. Or is there? I think that the deeper truth here is that we all have access to such a magical place, but it lives within us. We live in a world that is externally seeking. That looks out there for the answer when all of the answers, and I do mean all of them, lie within us.

Good ideas are good because you pluck them from your own conscious mind (or unconscious mind) and you write your experience of them. If you’ve  never had children, a hilarious chick lit book about raising five kids and four dogs will most likely fall flat. It’s not the idea that’s gold, but what the writer does with the idea. It’s the tiny details delivered by their personal experience wrapped around the larger situation that makes for a hilarious and ultimately relatable story.

Writing prompts are great ways to mine the gold that you already have within. Prompts are merely that, a prompting, that gentle prod that pushes you down a path that maybe you weren’t traveling. But once on it, the road unfolds like red velvet carpet and suddenly you’ve found your magic. Perhaps in the process of writing your book, story, or article, the prompt will be abandoned. It often exists solely as a shard of inspiration, a jumping off point.

Get started with a few writing prompts below and remember to turn your eyes inward for the brilliant details, images and voices that are already speaking within you.

  • While packing up the estate of your new spouses recently dead mother, you discover a photo album of yellowed newspaper clippings. What are they about?

  • When your lover dies suddenly in a motorcycle accident, you start seeing a therapist who recommends that you try regression therapy. During one session, you discover a repressed childhood memory. What is the memory?

  • Write a story that starts with: 'He stepped into the elevator, sweat popping along his upper lip and he checked again to ensure that the revolver was carefully hidden beneath his blazer.'

  • Remember your scariest Halloween experience. Now write the story from the perspective of someone else who was there.

  • Write your fondest childhood memory from the third person point of view.
Use these and other writing prompts to discover your own ideas and to narrow down the story that longs to be told. Trying to write something that you’re not interested in or not familiar with is difficult and will often produce mediocre results. Find your element, your ideal space within the words, the memories and the fantasies of your consciousness and your writing will shine.