I have to be honest. I have more ideas than I have years left in my life, even if I live to be 90. The reason is because I have a file called “Writing Ideas” and I keep throwing notes in it. This is not because I’m so brilliant and proactive.
It’s because I’m anxious and uptight: what if my books take off and everybody wants more? (I should be so lucky, right?)
I get ideas for short stories every now and then, too. I’ll be having my morning coffee and surfing around the news on the Internet when something will occur to me. I write it down on a scrap of paper and throw it in the “Writing Ideas” folder. It might come to nothing, but I might decide to pursue it.
I think you have to do this ahead of time if you want to have a writing career. Watch what grabs your attention repeatedly. Are you curious about bank robbers, people who live off the grid, poor people, rich people, lottery winners, serial adulterers, famous sports figures with secret lives, crooked politicians, polygamists, people who live in trailer parks and win the lottery, CEOs who lost their jobs in the Great Recession and become poor?
I find sociopaths, women who stay with abusive husbands, and rich people who lose everything fascinating, just for three. If I see anything on these topics that lights me up, I’ll cut it out, print it out, or make a note and throw it in my folder. I might do a bit of just-for-fun research on it, and that becomes part of my file, too.
But nothing’s ever going to happen if I don’t apply the BIC* protocol. So gotta run!
*Butt in Chair