A Creative Cache to Inspire Your Writing Ideas

One question I am often asked when I give talks on writing is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Ideas for writing come from a plethora of areas: through prayer (my number one resource), from situations I’ve experienced, from things I’ve read or heard about, through things I see on a walk or from places I’ve visited, etc. But I learned early on that sometimes I need a bit of help to spark those ideas. And that’s when I came up with my Creative Cache.

What is a Creative Cache?

Actually, a Creative Cache is just a fancy name for an Idea Box. This is where you store all those little (or big, if you have the room) items that will inspire your upcoming stories. I think every writer should have one.

Inspire your writing with a creative cache--picture of wood box and its contents

I found a small, unfinished wood treasure box at Michael’s art supplies that I currently use for my Creative Cache. And what do I keep inside? I have a piece of coral that looks like a rose, a weird-shaped rock that looks like a heart, fragments of colored glass from old bottles, some little shells, some bits of old pottery, some interesting rocks, and a little stick that reminds me of a shepherd’s staff.

The coral came from a friend who vacationed on a tropical island. Some other items were from visits to ruins of old towns. The shells, of course, were from a trip to the beach. These little collectibles are my story starters. They are little sparks of an idea that will bring a mystery or an adventure to life.

How a Creative Cache Can Help Your Writing

When friends and family go on trips, I encourage them to find me little out of the ordinary things that I can use for inspiration. I tell them it can be anything, even an old button or a bottle cap they find. And I keep them inside my Creative Cache. Then, when I have time to write a new story or when I’m trying to fight a bout of writer’s block, I can open my little treasure chest and pull out what could be the start of a grand adventure.

Having a visual “something” really helps stimulate my mind. A rock or a piece of glass or a bit of cloth is tangible, and it helps me to imagine what “story” that item was involved in.

For example, the coral “rose”? That unique piece of God’s creation sparked a fun idea about a couple of kids solving an old family mystery. And the heart-shaped rock? That will become a mystery story about a pioneer family heading out West. And the colored pieces of glass? Well, with a little bit of thought, I will have to see where that idea will lead me.

Making Your Own Creative Cache

More creative cache box types to inspire your writing--image of different shaped boxes

If you don’t already have your own Creative Cache or Idea Box, you may want to start one. You don’t need a super extravagant container, or even an expensive one. A shoe box or a small storage container will work. The choice is yours. You might even consider an old cigar box, which, by the way, did inspire another story idea for me.

Consider adding a bit of personality to your Creative Cache. Paint your box, add colorful stickers, or glue on some inspirational quotes. I haven’t decorated mine, primarily because to me the inside is more important than the outside.

A Creative Cache is a fun way to ignite your imagination and give your writing a fresh burst of creativity.

What would you put in your Creative Cache?

Catherine L. Osornio has written inspirational articles for a women’s ministry newsletter, over 200 leveled reader stories for a school’s reading program, fiction and nonfiction articles for Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z, plus various work-for-hire projects. A former elementary school librarian, Catherine is passionate about sharing the love of reading. She enjoys cartooning, illustration, and reading kids’ books. Email her at CLOsornio@verizon.net or visit her at www.catherineosornio.com.

5 thoughts on “A Creative Cache to Inspire Your Writing Ideas

  1. Catherine, I love this idea! I’ve never started a creative cache, but I plan on doing this now…my very own treasure chest for writing! One thing I’m thinking of adding is tiny book that’s just 1-inches tall and that I’ve been adding some of my favorite names for Jesus in. I think that will give me lots of inspiration. And yes! Welcome to our blogging team!

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