Posted by: nancyisanders | December 21, 2007

Author’s Corner

Since my husband, Jeff, teaches fourth grade in public elementary school, his students are always very interested in finding out more about the life of a writer. He’s got 72 students this year since he is now team teaching–something new! Many have already sent in questions for me to answer on my upcoming Virtual Book Tour in February.

One thing students are eager to know is where an author gets ideas. This is important to them, I know, because often they are given homework or in-class writing assignments. It’s easy to stare at a blank page!

I keep an “Idea File” just for that purpose. In the file I collect topics that interest me, pictures from the Internet that caught my eye, and fun titles that popped out of nowhere. When I need a new idea to write about, it helps to bring out the folder, browse through it, and see what sparks my fancy.

Everyone can keep an Idea File! You can write ideas on index cards and store in a filebox. You can use a spiral notebook and fill up the pages with ideas. Or, you can do as I do and keep a filefolder handy to store new ideas as they come to you.

Teacher Tip:
To help students create an Idea File, have them make file folders from a large piece of construction paper folded in half. Distribute blank paper, glue sticks, scissors, and old magazines, calendars, or toy catalogs. Encourage students to cut out pictures that interest them, glue each picture on a piece of paper (one picture per paper), and store them in their folder. When students are given a future writing assignment, encourage them to browse through their Idea File first and choose a topic to write about.


  1. Thanks for the great tip! I rely too much on my overworked brain sometimes and I find I often forget that super idea I had. Or I write it down and then later I can’t find that piece of paper or sticky note. I need to make my own file so I can keep my ideas in one central location.

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