#SOL16: Where do Ideas come from?

I hit the snooze AGAIN!

Wait, was that the second or third time?

Arghhhh!  I don’t have a topic. I must get up!

But I don’t want to leave my warm comfortable bed!

Grudgingly, up, moving slowly, thinking, thinking, “WHAT?”

Check the front sidewalk. Bit of snow with something underneath.

Oh, great!  ICE!  Not nice!

Weather on. . . Road report. Road map shows black.  What does black mean?

Typical winter roads – green or pink, what is black?

Oh, it’s too early!

Read Dana’s call to slice.  No quote to help. Dang 13 slices already connected.

OMG . . . topic-less on a Tuesday!  Not a good start to the day.

Listen to sports recap from last night on the news.  ISU beat Kansas. Hawkeyes up to # 3.  Did I see that right?

School closings beginning to scroll across the bottom – Hmm. . . How bad is the weather?

How much time do I have?

Dog out. Less than a minute, barking. Dog in.

Coffee done. Poured.

What am I going to write?

Where do ideas for writing come from?

Yesterday I shared some possibilities for sources of ideas for writing.

heart map

Heart map

map of home penny kittle

Map of home – Penny Kittle


That anchor chart of “We can write about . . .” in our classroom.

But what am I going to write about today?

Weather again, first state fair act (how to buy tickets)Dierks Bentley, town hall winner (CNN comments), ESPN comments, . . .

Oh, yeah, and what/where is this year’s RAGRAI route?

FOCUS – REMEMBER, That was last year’s #OLW!

(Stern self talk!)

Where do ideas come from?

Today, it was total stream of consciousness!

What do I do when I am stuck and it’s time to write!

I write.

What do I write?

My thoughts.

My actions.

I write.

I try not to correct.

I try not to delete.

Gently, without any self-criticism,

I write!




What do you do when it’s time to write and you are stuck?

How do you share your “getting unstuck” ideas?


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


30 responses

  1. I wrote about this same topic in another blog post. Here’s the post. https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/did-someone-say-more-cowbell/
    I don’t know if your an SNL fan, but this is how I kind of got out of blgogger’s block. Although, you did quite well yourself. 🙂 Great post!

    1. Thanks, Lisa, for your post and the SNL reminder. Right now they are pretty darn political! I try to avoid opening another tab or twenty when writing. It so distracts me! But does entertain me! 🙂

      1. I hear you Fran! The Internet can be a huge distraction. I’ve found myself getting pulled away when I’m writing, too. Especially, if I’m doing “research!” LOL! I hope you’re having a great day!

  2. You always have the knack of bringing your readers to your moments! I love this slice. I must say I write my posts after a long day at school on a Tuesday (my time zone makes it seem early morning to you). I do not think I could do it before school!

    1. Erika,
      Just hearing “long day at school” makes me want to start next week’s post. I’m not coherent after a day of school, so I love my early morning writing. (Just REALLY love it some days more than others!)

      Isn’t it great that there are so MANY ways we can work and write!

  3. This Slice is a keeper to share in a mini-lesson!! Your honest record of all that is going through your mind, wondering what to write, kept you writing! Thanks for sharing so honestly. Stay warm and safe in Iowa today.

    1. Been thinking of you when my cousin said 3′ of snow in Leesburg. No school til Wednesday for you?

      Thanks, Sally! The timing was perfect after 3rd grade writing scoring yesterday – 493 papers read twice!

  4. As I read the beginning, I found myself thinking, “Hey, I thought Fran was writing about were ideas come from. She doesn’t seem to be having any problems getting started here!” I love how you circled around to stream of consciousness as being a way to jumpstart our writing juices. I think you’re brave to share your stream of consciousness writing. I don’t know that I would have the courage. As always, thanks Fran!

    1. Kim,
      I would NEVER have had the courage without the support of #TWT and the whole #SOL community. This is such a safe place to share!

      We can’t all get unstuck the same way. Do we know how we do it? How do we share that with our folks?

      Thanks for commenting, Kim! What you don’t know is that I like to have my slice drafted the night before. Revise mentally as I fall asleep. . . that so did not happen! ❤

  5. I love stream of consciousness writing…it’s fun and there’s often an idea in there somewhere. I have a hard time getting my high schoolers to try this because they think “real authors” know exactly what they are going to say and that every word comes out perfectly.

    1. Deb,
      I saw a Kate Messner post on FB this last week where she commented on the fact that she had written 1500 words (or more) that day, but only liked 150 of them. It’s so critical that everyone understand that authors spend a TON of time revising!!!

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. You kept me reading, hoping that your last line would be, “Snow day!” That would be something to write about! But, I enjoyed your post just the same. When I’m stuck, I start with one thing I’m grateful for. It’s just a habit, like brushing my teeth, and always gets me started.

    1. I love the “I’m grateful for” idea for a starter. What a positive START!

      Thanks, Susie!

  7. Sometimes that topic is so elusive! I think we’ve all been there, brain searching through the rolledex in our minds of possibilities. I try to be alert all week for my slice, then I relax when I have one tucked in my mind, but then Tuesday arrives and it is time to panic when no moment seems worthy. That’s when I check my photos for a possible topic.

    1. I love your strategy. I have a folder with pictures and ideas that I “tuck ideas” into. But sometimes they don’t seem worthy by Tuesday. Somedays I JUST need to get over that!

  8. I, too, love my early morning writing time. It does lend itself to a topic-less morning. Thank you for showing us what you do. Write through it! A writer I know told me there’s no such thing as writer’s block. When I looked puzzled, she said, “Plumbers don’t have plumber’s block. Do the work. Write.” You lived those words today! Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the validation. Waiting for the “block” to go away doesn’t work on any other tasks I procrastinate over! Love that “Do the work. Write.”

  9. I have faced many Tuesdays when I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to write. I always seek out the Holy Spirit for some kind of inspiration. I start writing whatever pops into my head and go from there. Sometimes it is worth posting and other times it is not. I post anyway. After all, if I were to wait for the perfect post each time chances are good that I would never write or post anything and I would miss out on being part of this wonderful community.

    1. This is so critical. I agree that “waiting” is not a good strategy! And really, PERFECTION is WAY over-rated!

  10. We spend weeks on just this sort of rumination at the beginning of the year, Fran. I think we develop the habit of doing so with practice, and through the help of a supportive writing community. So glad we have this one!

    1. Tara,
      Thanks for that validation. Sometimes this could be more of “expert” blindness as we have our own little tricks that we use but forget to share with students or even those who are still “in search of” better writing!

      Thanks so much, Tara! You are my top commenter and cheerleader! 🙂

  11. I woke up with the exact same thoughts…what will I write about today? I was determined to write a slice today and wasn’t going to let myself off the hook. I enjoyed reading your stream of consciousness. It seems you did have lots to write about and what a great lesson for our kids.

    1. Thanks, Julie. This was less than an hour of my morning but oh, what a great reminder, that some posts are not EASY!

  12. I have had many a moment of panic on Monday night when I write my Slices. I am convinced there is absolutely nothing to write about. Somehow, though, if I keep my butt in the chair… a Slice arrives. 🙂

    I’m sorry to leave you high and dry with no quote this week!

    1. Dana,
      It was good practice. I have some quotes stashed for March. And so true, keeping my fingers on the keyboard (and not going with any and every excuse to whine, squirm, whine, wait….), sounds like the kids . . . LOL! ❤

  13. I thought you would get a snow day! I FEEL this post. I AM this post. Thank you for sharing YOUR writerly thoughts, reachings, worries. Helps to write in community. So glad you are in mine!

    1. Dayna,
      It was that weird science. Ice on the blacktop last night. So treacherous!
      Then a skiff of snow, colder temps, and TOTALLY GONE this morning. (Other parts of the state not so lucky”)

      It’s so easy to share in our supportive community!!!! ❤

  14. I love that you had my heart beating and my voice talking directly to you. You have such a way of inviting your reader into your piece. This is literally a focus lesson on paper –the answer …just write! Love it! Put you pen on the paper and see what happens. Great message for kids. I keep a running post-it note of things that happen that are “slice worthy” on my computer desktop –this helps me gather and choose ideas.

    1. Clare,
      I have a whole folder of “Blog” pictures and ideas (I am a collector after all)! but the timing was so perfect. This is my week for writing assessments: grades 3, 8, and 10. Approximately 1400 papers read twice . . . so the kids are really on my mind!

      My wondering is . . .has my voice become stronger due to more writing or due to more experiences? And my answer is . . . the reason doesn’t matter. Why does voice matter? How does your passion draw anyone into your writer and make them feel like they are sitting EEKK?

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