My Life: Humdrum but Useful

 Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupThis post is by M. K. Waller

Where do writers get their ideas?

More to the point, where do I get my ideas?

When I blog, most of them are drawn from my life–things I’ve done, seen, heard, read about, or been told by trusted sources. It may take a while to choose one from the chaos that is my brain–my topic changed four times while I was composing this post.

But experts say, “Write what you know.”

So I do.

I’ve blogged about

a pebble changing the universe

extremism and the cat under the bed

pajamas and the Google fiber men 

Pajamas © Kathy Waller

no-cow branding

the life of an artist, parts I and II

hansel, gretel, cuthbert, and me

a parboiled goose

IMG_2679 (3)
Biting cat © Kathy Waller

a cat bite

eye of tot and toe of tad

feral chickens

my weird husband

Weird husband. © Kathy Waller

petting zoos and Methodists

girdles and teeth

going to Paris

starving in Paris

squirrels and seduction

W. F. Ward

a kiss

Everything on the list comes directly from my life. Humdrum as it is, it supplies little anecdotes I can share–even the errors, falls, parboiling, and girdles.

But my fictional characters are different.

They lurk in trees, find Mama cooking with ground glass, set fire to buildings…

I have never done any of those things, thank goodness.

Where did those ideas come from?

I don’t know. I’ll deal with that in a future post.

As soon as I’ve found the answer.


M. K. Waller aka Kathy Waller, writes short stories. Her latest, “When Cheese Is Love”, appears in Austin Mystery Writers’ second crime fiction anthology, LONE STAR LAWLESS. She blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly.

16 thoughts on “My Life: Humdrum but Useful

    1. Thanks, Neva. After my first two stories were published, I realized that both main characters faced an issue that I had once faced, although their emotions weren’t mine. I had also proudly passed out copies to a great-aunt and a bunch of cousins and people I’d known for years–and had given them a fine opportunity to psychoanalyze me. I wanted to go around saying, “I liked my mother, and I never found her adding ground glass to pie filling.” As for my mind–chaos.


  1. I guess that holds true for me. I was a Civil War re-enactor in the 1970s, so when I write about the life of a Confederate soldier, I know what it’s like to wear a hot uniform and eat era food, shoot a musket, etc. For the rest, I do a ton of research to recreate the era in my novel. As to my fantasy novels, that’s a bit different. I did research the roman and medieval eras for the settings, and have read a ton of fantasy books going all the way back to college days. My short stories sometimes mirror memories from my younger days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re brave. I’m reluctant to write historical fiction because I’m afraid I’ll assume something and so not research it, and that readers notice and tell me they noticed. So far I’ve used a lot of things I remember, but they’re mostly settings and details, like how a door in an old, empty house will scrape over the floor when it’s opened. Fantasy must be fun to write, since you get to make up other worlds. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the post. Where do we get our ideas? Sometimes I think I must be one of a few who dream up strange ideas. And, like you, it’s usually something I’ve read about or heard about and done more research for. As long as the news keeps coming we should be fine. I like the
    “weird” husband. He looks like he’s having a good time!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t remember dreams either, Mike. I’ve read not remembering is due to lack of vitamin B-12. Years ago, took B-12, suddenly began remembering dreams, didn’t know why, then read about the B-12. I guess I should start taking it again.


    1. Thanks, Linda. When I was in school, I hated to write. The teacher always told the class we had plenty to say, but I didn’t have anything to say about anything. It took me years to realize I don’t have to know everything when I begin. I’ve gotten over that, however. I think the weird husband is having a good time. He likes that description, anyway.


  3. I get ideas all the time, but most of them don’t make it past a little note here or there. Like when I was in the Sauna and I was the only one there. The light was not on, but the heat was all the way up. I thought if I died or was killed, how long would it be before someone found me and what kind of condition would I be in when they found me. LOL Cher’ley


  4. My writing comes from my life as well. Mostly because that is what I know. I don’t write fiction, I just don’t seem to have knack for it. Maybe it goes back to childhood when I was punished for making up stories. Maybe I have so many true tails to tell there isn’t room in my brain for fiction.


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