By Teena Myers
If you are a writer desperate for a new original idea, don’t frustrate yourself trying to produce it from nothing. God alone has 100% original ideas that come from nothing. Even the most amazing breakthroughs are combinations of existing elements. We create from what we have. Only God creates from nothing. Sometimes new ideas are things previous generations possessed, but lost and forgot. Someone finds it again, and it’s hailed as original, but it’s only new to our generation.
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
God, the Creator, creates from nothing. We produce original ideas from the knowledge we already possess. Therefore, every conversation, news story and experience contain fodder for a new idea. God often guides us to those ideas through the everyday occurrences of life, which means we can find ideas everywhere.
I was reading a bedtime story about the birth of Isaac to my four-year-old granddaughter, whose family recently expanded to include a baby brother. I told her that God gave Isaac to Abraham’s family, just like God gave Brayden to her family.
She said, “Ah, Grandma, we got him from the hospital.”
That conversation would be a great opening story for a non-fiction essay about the origins of life or a fiction story about adult-child relationships.
As hurricane Katrina neared the shores of Louisiana, the owners of St. Rita’s Nursing Home decided moving the residents posed a greater risk than remaining. The home, built on high ground, had never flooded in previous hurricanes, which made their decision to stay reasonable. Thirty-five residents drowned. National news covered the trial for two years. A pastor told me they went to St. Rita’s Nursing Home weekly before Katrina. He knew the name of everyone who drowned and knew for a fact that they had prayed to receive salvation. I added that tidbit of information to the news story and produced a 1500-word article for my blog.
An experience at Disney produced another article. My husband and I were packing to bring our granddaughter to Disney for her 7th birthday. I left my Bible at home. How would I find quiet time to read the Bible and pray with a 7-year-old bouncing around the room in a hurry to get to the fun?
First day at Disney, I spotted a young girl wearing a camouflaged shirt with “GOD WANTS YOU IN HIS ARMY” emblazoned across the back.
The following day, we were returning from Downtown Disney in the crowded bus provided for Disney patrons. The excited children sitting next to me were having difficulty keeping their bottoms in their seats. After a young girl bounced out of her seat for the third time, I heard a stern voice say, “CHURCH BEHAVIOR!”
The next day we were waiting for the bus and I looked up to see a G and an O in the sky. As the skywriter circled his plane around to begin the next letter, my husband and I debated what the letter would be.
“T,” I smugly announced. “I bet it’s an advertisement for some product. He’s gonna write GOT.”
The next letter was “D”, followed by a plus sign, and then “U” followed by an equal sign, and finally a happy face. GOD PLUS YOU EQUALS A HAPPY FACE.
The next day, I took a nap while Rod and my granddaughter went swimming. An hour later, the phone rang. “There was an unscheduled cleaning at the pool and your husband has moved to the pool in the Casitas area.” I hung up wondering why a strange woman delivered a message about MY husband.
When he returned, I inquired what was wrong with the Lost City of Cibola pool. “Someone pooped in the pool,” he said. “The woman who called you is the children’s pastors at her church. Alicia wanted to play with her daughter so we moved to another pool.”
The last day of vacation, I sat on a bench to rub my sore feet and looked up at the clear blue sky to see a faded “JESUS LOVES U.” The skywriter had just completed “PRAISE” and was working on a “J” which became “PRAISE JESUS!”
Everywhere I went, Christians and messages about God’s love. My decision to put God out of mind for a week proved impossible. And that experience became an article about the inescapable presence of God.
Where can you find ideas? Everywhere. Grab some raw material from conversations, the daily newscast, or life’s experiences and start writing.