I have a fantastic idea jar that I received from one of the best people out there, Mary Buckham. She gave it to me when I was on a trip to the Seattle Area years ago and I still use it to this day. It’s a standard Mason jar but it is filled with so many bits and baubles. The purpose is to shake it up and hopefully have something spark in my brain to give a new twist to a story or to start a story, a thread, a new direction. Help in creating a moment in my book that just isn’t coming to me.
My jar has a rose petal, shells, poker chips, beads, a whistle, a movie ticket, an eight of diamonds playing card, a lollipop, a pencil, a pen, a cookie cutter and so much more. Buttons, a shamrock, safety pins, sand, a wine cork, a jingle bell. So when I’m stuck in the writing process or need a boost, I simply pick up the jar, turn it over a few times and then spy something that I have to write about. It doesn’t have to be a key component of a scene. It doesn’t have to do more than show up for a second, but it can get me moving.
Why does he have a plastic whistle in his pocket that he clenches when things are getting tough? Was it a gift from a child he’s no longer allowed to see? Does she have buttons in her purse because she’s constantly losing them off her cuffs and she wants to present a professional image at a job interview, though she feels anything but? Does he often walk around with a pencil tucked behind his ear? Does the heroine remind him that it’s there and then kiss him for his absentmindedness?
What kind of everyday things can you put in a jar to season your writing or get you writing? Think about it and start collecting!