Thursday, July 4, 2013

Secrets of Kidlit: Ideas in a Jar

As a writer, I often get asked where my ideas come from. My answer is lightning bugs.

Catching lightning bugs is one of my favorite summertime activities. I love every step—find the perfect jar, poke holes in the lid, wait as the sky fades to a deep purple, and watch for the first flicker hanging above the grass. It takes a bit of work, but a jar full of lightning bugs has a special magic.

Like lightning bugs, my story ideas aren’t created. They are lovingly collected. Instead of a jar, I have a notebook. But a jar would work just as well. Every time something sparks my interest, I put it in the notebook. These things don’t have to be full ideas, but just little bits of light that bring me joy. I know that soon, a few of those flickers will develop their own story-shaped glow.

I hope that you will start an idea jar of your own. Or a box. Or a notebook. Anything to collect glimmers of the things that interest you and make you happy. Soon, as if by magic, a story will light up. Then you can set it free by writing it down.

Do you use a notebook, too? Tell us about your idea catchers in the comments! 

-- Jean


  1. I do have an idea notebook, it's kind of a mess because I have terrible writing. It's fun to read it from time to time and see what I was thinking a year, five years, or ten years ago. Thankfully, many of the ideas never took hold, some are quite strange. LOL

  2. I do have a notebook, and also a file on my computer called "Grab Bag". I like the idea of a jar, though. It has a sort of special ring to it. I may try one.


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