Stream Your Consciousness, by Rich Paschall

Are you at a loss for what to write next? Are you searching for a suitable topic? Are you sitting in front of a blank screen? Do you have writer’s block? Do not worry! The staff at the SERENDIPITY Writing School and Pancake Emporium is here to help. There will be no 30 minutes of reading only to find that we are trying to sell you some overpriced books on the subject. There will be no video sales for a Master’s class by people who have not mastered the class. We have real ideas for your next masterpiece in writing.

When I first came to Serendipity more years ago than I can remember (unless I look it up), I offered a Christmas-themed short story Over the years I have made some minor edits. It is amazing how you can spot little errors or things that could have been worded better when you re-read something a year or two later. If you believe the story is really good, then it may deserve a second chance or even more. Longtime readers may enjoy it again if you don’t run it too often, and newer readers will get the chance to enjoy it for the first time. “A Christmas Surprise,” ran three years in a row before it sat on the shelf for six years. Then we ran it again. Maybe it will run again someday. It is still a favorite of mine.

Favorite songs of years past can be a fun read, especially for those who remember the year in question. I started writing my favorite songs from 50 years earlier a few years ago and have continued each year. It is fun to bring up these old memories and look up a few facts about each. If someone was not alive for the year you are writing about, they may enjoy learning something about it. Think of it as a history lesson with music.

Beware Top Ten or Top Twenty lists. Oh yes, they are a lot of fun to put together, but you may fall down the insidious YouTube black hole. While finding suitable music videos for a top ten list of any theme, you may find yourself watching all sorts of videos that are unrelated. The cruel algorithms on YouTube will start suggesting other videos of a similar nature and all of a sudden you have spent a half hour watching everything other than what you are looking for. Stay focused or your 650-word article with five music video links will take you three days to write. This can also be true for lists of television shows or movies. I always like to look for some scenes or trailers and voila, another detour! If you are lucky, the detour will give you some new ideas.

My Colombian roommate and general pain in my…I mean friend, has been the inspiration for a number of articles over the years. Some of his characteristics and actions have been hidden in some short story characters. Some articles were suggested by him, while others have been all about him. Recently, there was The Christmas Tree Dilemma, which only needed a little embellishment to be complete. You don’t have a funny mate?

Believe it or not, I did not think to write about my travels until Marilyn suggested it to me one year. I usually research in advance, take pictures while we are traveling, and pick up informational brochures along the way. It was an obvious theme. Now a trip can result in more than one article. A recent trip to the Philippines meant an article about traveling Halfway Around The World and the concert we saw there, Ohm-Nanon Fan Meeting in Manila.

Ohm Pawat (L) and Nanon Korapat, a writing prompt?

Book, movie, and television reviews can give you a long list of ideas. I have commented on television shows from the US and other countries. While British shows may be of interest to our American readers, I never thought that foreign language shows would be of interest until I wrote about movies In Another Language.

Last year I wrote about the 12-part Thai mini-series and international hit, Bad Buddy. This was a case of getting a YouTube prompt for short scenes and the trailer so often that I finally went down the YouTube rabbit hole. It caught my interest, as so many of those things do, and I started watching. I binge-watched until I caught up to it at episode 11 and had to deal with the cliffhanger for an entire week. I wrote about that too (So How Does It End?). I would not have thought the several Bad Buddy articles would have done too well, but the #BBS (Bad Buddy series) fans shared the links all around and they became my most-read items last year. Don’t underestimate the value of some social media fans and fanatics.

This past week I decided to add a review of another Thai mini-series, Dirty Laundy, starring one of the lead actors from Bad Buddy. I would not pass along the reviews of foreign series if I had not enjoyed them myself. Readers certainly would not be interested in that. Panning American or British titles is one thing, there would be no interest in bad foreign language entertainment, and I have seen enough of that.

Sorry to tell you, but…

My most-read story so far was the harrowing true story of a boy who was almost beaten to death by his father for being gay. I saw the boy (now an adult) tell it on a YouTube video. I wrote the story, tracked down the subject, and asked for his comments and OK to run it. The video is now recommended for viewing by the “It Get’s Better” organization.

Sometimes looking out the back window can be an inspiration to write about the birds who are Bob, Bob, Bobin’ Along. You may notice that Marilyn uncovers a lot of action just outside.

Of course, if all else fails, you can write about not knowing what to write about. It works for me.

Note: Hit any of the links in blue above to go to that article.

Categories: Anecdote, Fiction, Film Review, Media, Rich Paschall

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10 replies

  1. If you are willing to look, then there is always something to write about, just looking around you gives inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can write about anything. I can also write about nothing. In fact some of my writing about nothing is among my best work. I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block. I can always find something. It may not be brilliant, but I can turn out a solid 800 word post when I’m 90% asleep. Maybe it’s all those years of working at it day after day — when sometimes, I really WAS asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My real enemy is time management. As I mentioned I sometimes fall down the rabbit hole and don’t get much done. In April I will actually return to work at the office 3 days a week. That will kill more time. Half the team was hired during COVID so I will help train. The agreement is if they keep me after that and I agree to continue, I will go back home. I have to budget my time better. I don’t often run out of ideas, just time.


      • I get tired and too busy — and I have a lot of “daily stuff” to deal with including creating a meal for four, feeding birds, I water and take care of plants. I take pictures, process pictures, manage all the financial stuff for the household and place whatever orders for anything we need — and this is every day and I sense it will never end. HOW DID I EVER FIND TIME TO WORK?

        Liked by 1 person

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