Stealing Ideas sol#16

If you’ve read Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, you know that nothing is really our own idea.  Every idea we’ve ever come up with was born somewhere else by someone else, somehow.  We can put a new twist on things, but honestly, a totally new idea is rare.  Old wine in new bottles.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magictells the story of how she believes there are these ideas floating around out there and they decide who to land on.  When you feel inspired with an idea, that’s the idea angels, fairies or whatever you want to call them.  If you don’t do something with that idea right away, it up and takes off from you and goes to someone else.  Gilbert documents a true story that proves this to be true – in her life.

Well, my truest inspiration, if I’m honest, comes from other writers.  I love when that little nudge from someone else’s writing whispers, “Try this, Shari!”  Sometimes it’s an idea about content because a memory is triggered.  But, what I find more beneficial is when I discover a structure because I can use it not just once, but again and again.  A writing structure is like a tool that can be pulled out anytime.  The more you use it, they easier it is to remember and to whip something up from it.  In the last few days, I’ve found quite a few structures that I intend to steal and try out – with a must of giving credit to my inspirational writers.

Elisabeth Ellington at the durigible plum, wrote in her sol today about small gratitudes.  Loved it.  I’m stealing it.

Here goes ~

I am grateful:

For the morning snuggles that keep me in bed too long

For the lab with a sprained leg that lies on the couch with a wagging tail as I walk to the kitchen to make coffee

For the scale that shed one pound the last time I stepped on it

For the deep dark Caffe Verona Starbucks beans that wait to be ground for my coffee

For the clean pair of jeans that beg to be worn

For the fresh inch of snow that blankets the ground (not)

For arriving at school before most others, savoring the quiet and preparing for the day

For the conversation with my soul-teacher-friend, drinking our coffee, before kids arrive

For Grace, who enters my classroom first, with a giant smile and a full wrap around the body hug because she is happy to be here

For Wonderopolis, because we wondered about four leaf clovers and St. Patrick and all things green and Ireland

For will power to refrain from the bars and desserts in the staffroom

For gratefuls.  Because once you start looking for them, they bombard you and you cannot document them fast enough

For Elisabeth Ellington who always seems to do something in her writing to inspire me

For the gumption to write a post today

For writing. Period.

Shari 🙂




10 thoughts on “Stealing Ideas sol#16

  1. This is great! I think reading stories from others is inspiring. Sometimes when I’m having a hard time with a blog post or I can get something just right, I turn to the words of another. It often sparks an idea and I’m able to get back to work. I love that an isolated activity, such as writing, can open up that way.


  2. I love this, especially the idea that if I don’t use the ideas I get then they will go find someone else. Maybe this will help inspire me to do the work when inspiration comes instead of procrastinating!


  3. So true. “A writing structure is like a tool that can be pulled out anytime. The more you use it, they easier it is to remember and to whip something up from it.” I think sharing with our students that we find structure helpful as well allows them to see it as a tool rather than a ‘crutch’. (And I love Wonderopolis too!)


  4. I love your grateful post. I have been hearing so much about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, that I feel like I MUST read it! It is great to have mentor authors inspire you- I assure you, that you, in turn have passed it on, because this is (the gratitudes) something I would like to try in my writing too. I was speaking to my class today about how I can see their slices are influencing each other, which is lovely, as everyone tweaks things to make it their own.

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  5. I love that you were inspired by another writer and stole only the floating idea from the air. Seize whatever idea you can while you can! I have to check out that Gilbert book but I recently read an article in which Prince said nearly the same thing about music. Totally ties into the concept of that. Also, Wonderopolis? I want to go to there!


  6. So glad that post provided inspiration, Shari! I am honored by your words here. I love what you say about writing structure. I have been having this feeling about writing structure that I haven’t been able to put into words, and this is exactly it. And yes, when we start looking for gratitudes, they are everywhere. I need to make this part of my daily practice.


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