This is Part 2 of a two part article. To read Part 1, click: Where I Get My Ideas – My 7 Sources to Keep the Creative Juices Flowing (Part 1)
4. Lifehacker — I am a Lifehacker junkie. I love this site. It can always be counted on for new productivity tips, great new products and existing products used in new and innovative ways. I bookmark at least one article from this site daily. It might not be a wellspring of new story ideas, but it does help me in other ways, by presenting new ways to look at my thinking and the world in general. Like How to Cultivate a Creative Thinking Habit or How To Use Evernote for Writing Fiction. Another feature I enjoy at Lifehacker is the How We Work series, where the Lifehacker staff interviews someone “famous” about their work habits and tools. I always learn something new here that will help me in my writing life, around the house, or to help keep me sane and organized.
5. Mental Floss — Based on the monthly magazine with the same name, Mental Floss is a treasure trove of off-beat pop culture stories that you just will not find anywhere else. These delve into our love of nostalgia (The History of the Trapper Keeper), fun facts about favorite books, movies and TV shows that we all love (18 Facts About ‘The Silence of the Lambs’), and the truly bizarre 39 Weird Books That Really Exist; 10 Very Costly Typos and Where Are They Now? 8 Things That Terrified Us in the ’90s. This site provides just the right combination of interesting and random that often sparks my imagination for a new story, character or setting for a story.
6. The Huffington Post — This offbeat site can be counted on for a great blend of current news, opinion and the random oddball story that no other site would probably would ever come up with, and covering it in depth with good writing. HuffPost also covers the literary, publishing and writing world with surprising depth with articles of interest to writers such as What Even Great Writers Do Badly: How to Up Your Game as an Author or 10 Famous Writers Who Hated Writing along with the oddball motivational opinion piece such as 19 Incredibly Successful People Who Started Out As Failures or How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps.
7. Facebook — While it is true that this site is the most evil, privacy-invading, time-suck with an endless ocean of distraction, game requests, irrelevant sponsored posts, and mundane updates from people you barely know or remember, FB is a great barometer of the trending culture, fads and political gimmickry that just cannot be ignored.
Let’s face it. Other people’s lives are interesting and for every person out there who posts their latest CrossFit workout update, you find another who gives us a honest glimpse into the struggles and small victories of being human in the 21st Century. People encourage you and send you leads during your job searches, and wish you Happy Birthday even though you (well, in this case, I) rarely reciprocate. (Rude, I know… this is one of my many failings…)
They post interesting articles, funny cat videos, and a lot of unverified propaganda that any 30 second visit to Snopes.com can debunk (but yet a lot of mindless propaganda still manages to live long and prosper for weeks and months on the internet despite the lack of facts behind it), and often driven by pure wishful thinking.
The more these thoughts confirm the beliefs that YOU already KNOW to be true–despite all of the evidence to the contrary–the longer they live on. You can always chalk up the contrary evidence as a brainwashing conspiracy of the mainstream media, Fox News, the Koch Brothers, UN jackbooted thugs, radical tree huggers who hate America, or other unknown special-interests with some DC politician in their back-pocket.
FB is a pop-culture juggernaut which has connected everyone and allowed the culture of over-sharing to go viral, and as a writer, you cannot afford to ignore it…
So these are my top secret, well-oiled, cogs in my sinister idea generation machine. What are some of yours? Note them in the comments below.