Inspiration Stew: Find Ideas for Writing in Your Kitchen
Maybe it’s time to cook up some Inspiration Stew in your kitchen.
Whether you’re struggling with writer’s block, want to liven up the next scene in your novel or just fancy trying something else for a change, you’ll be surprised at what a feast of ideas for writing you’ll find lurking in your cupboards!
Pick & Mix
Get a friend to pick 10 unrelated items from around your kitchen, then include at least five of them as ingredients in a story. Or try this list of 10 items from my kitchen: jar of mustard, sellotape dispenser, glass bowl, invitation to a Hawaiian Luau party, Monopoly game, antibacterial spray, brass door handle, highlighter pen, spaghetti, car keys. (Okay, okay, I’ll tidy up tomorrow!)
Take a look for interesting phrases around your kitchen. Fridge magnets and mugs may have witty comments to start off your next idea. Items on your pinboard, advertising leaflets and food packaging may give you inspiration, too.
What if you had just won that competition on your cornflake packet? What if your character looked on the refrigerator and saw a magnet that wasn’t there before, with a strange message? What if you looked at the ingredients on your favourite food and found it contained something revolting, or something you’re allergic to? How would you cope if all the labels had been removed from your food cans?
Family celebrations are often centred around a meal, but eating isn’t the only festive fun. Could your memories – good or bad – of preparing meals for Christmas, Hanukah, etc. make the basis for a story or poem? Do your hopes for happy festive cookery always turn out the way you hoped?
Imagine your character has agreed to cater for a big family event and disaster strikes – the cooker stops working, they have a broken arm or their home is burgled the night before – but they can’t cancel or pass the job to someone else, so they just have to do their best.
How old is your kitchen? Has it always looked like this? Who might have cooked in here before you lived here? Who might move in after you’ve gone? What changes might they make?
What was food like in the past, and what might it be like in the future?
Borrow an idea
Remember Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, a family of tiny people who live secretly in a house? When did you first realise that Borrowers lived in your kitchen? Or are you a Borrower? Who else knows? How might they be in danger?
Or imagine you are a modern-day Cinderella (female or male) – what items in your kitchen would your fairy godmother use to create your transport, and where would it take you?
Give yourself one minute to look inside one of your kitchen cupboards or drawers and take in every detail. then close it and write a detailed description – what’s in there, in what order, what colours and shapes? How accurate were you?
A new look
Imagine you’ve walked in and found your kitchen looking the way it does now – only, last night, you’re sure it was completely different. How did this happen? Have you gone mad, or is there another explanation?
Or imagine you’ve won $100,000 – but it all has to be spent on your kitchen. How would you use the money?
Do you have some yummy suggestions for ways to generate writing ideas in your kitchen? Share them in the Comments section!
Emily Lock is a freelance writer and blogger about the ups and downs of trying to evolve towards a better life.
Her Emily the Dodo blog has ideas to inspire you to make those changes, quizzes to help you decide what you want and planners so you can figure out how you’re going to get it, along with life hacks to make it easier. Come and join Emily on the journey to a happy life.