Lisa, thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog. I know you’re aware that you and I have a few things in common – we’ve performed in theater, we’re published writers, AND we’re from New Jersey. How did we get so lucky?!
Seriously, one of my favorite parts of the entire writing process is coming up with ideas for the articles, stories, and plays that I write. It’s like mining for gold or being an archeologist who discovers a first-rate artifact. I find that I’m always looking for new ideas that get the writing wheels churning. In fact, even when I’m away on vacation I just can’t seem to turn off that part of my brain.
So I’ve come up with a type of “itinerary” for gathering ideas that takes writers from the airport, to the plane, to the hotel. Lisa, for me it isn’t work. It’s just plain fun. And a challenge.
Imagine the typical writer. It’s vacation time and we’re schlepping the luggage, screaming kids in tow, gazing helplessly at the departure board with the words “cancelled” emblazoned on them. We gulp down some very bad coffee and down a hot dog as we wonder how we’re going to pay for this “getaway.” But I’m convinced that the writing life, like the Energizer Bunny, can just keep going and going. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you love doing what you do.
It all starts right in the airport terminal. While I’m waiting for my flight to whisk me away, I’ll take a walk around and stroll into those shops that sell magazines - not only regional but national publications. I always have a notebook and pen handy and so I’ll jot down information that I can take home with me. I’ll flip through the pages of some of these magazines and “read” them. I don’t mean cover to cover. I get a sense of them by asking myself “What is the focus of this magazine?” “What sort of stories does it publish?” “Do they accept freelance submissions?” The way to find out the answer to the last question is to compare the names on the masthead to the bylines within each individual article. If the names are not the same, chances are they accept articles from freelancers.
One or two of these magazines may accept the types of stories that are within my expertise. Those are the ones worth buying and taking a closer look at while I’m waiting for my flight to board. Here inside the terminal is also a chance to perhaps find magazines that come from other parts of the world and ones I probably won’t find in my town.
Perusing these publications inspires me. I furiously jot down ideas that are article- and story-worthy. I need to do this right away before I leave the shop because I know I’ll forget. Too much on the brain, I guess.
With new magazines in hand and maybe a candy bar or two, I’ll continue strolling down the walkway and take a look at some of the eateries. Sometimes airport restaurants can be rather unique. I also write food articles so I’ll walk into one or two of them, ask for the manager, and play detective.
I’ll look through the other shops too. Sometimes they stock unusual items or ones that represent the immediate area or region where the airport is located.
So there you have it. I haven’t even boarded the plane and the trip is practically paid for with soon-to-be-pitched writing assignments.
Lori M. Myers is an award-winning writer of creative nonfiction, fiction, essays, and plays. Her articles have been published in more than 40 national and regional magazines and her short stories have appeared in Phase, Absent Willow Review, Holy Cuspidor, Dark Fire Fiction, Fictitious Magazine, Milk Sugar Literary Journal and others. Her story "Maneuvers" was recently included in an anthology titled Off Season now available on Amazon. Lori's plays have been performed in Virginia and Pennsylvania. She is a professor of writing at York College of Pennsylvania and teaches workshops to students who love the written word as much as she does.