If you are a writer, you’re probably discovering that inspiration can be found anywhere. Seriously, it can be found at any moment of the day in any situation no matter where you are. I’ve found inspiration at family gatherings and even riding the bus to work. Everywhere inspiration is found. One place you can find a ton of material is where you work. Don’t believe me? Let me tell about my typical work day.
During the day, I used to work as a barista at a coffee shop. At first, I looked at it as just a job to bring in extra income. I have to admit that I even looked at it resentfully as time away from my writing. This especially became true when I was given more responsibility there. But eventually I found a ton of material presenting itself at every moment while I was serving coffee. Stories were hitting me left and right.
Need character material? I found a ton at work. I found so many different character traits. There was the one customer who didn’t like anything made for her. From her, I learned how to describe her facial expressions and physical actions. I also learned how to word dissatisfaction. She gave me the material I needed to appropriately describe how someone like that in one of my books acts. Shoot, she had helped create a character or two.
Then there is the businessman who is all business and is rude with a cell phone on his ear Monday through Friday but on the weekend is an entirely different and relaxed man. He walks up and refuses to order his drink. He will put up his fingers showing a one or a two. That means he will either be just getting his drink which is customized or getting his wife’s as well which is also customized. During the week, he is not exactly a pleasant man. But I know how to describe a character now who is like him.
I’ve changed jobs since then and still finding so much in the way of material. I work in an office now managing inventory and arranging some transportation of goods. I interact with co-workers in the office and many remotely as well as with trucking companies, import brokers, and our suppliers both domestic and foreign. Talk about a plethora of material for my writing! I have the drama queen in the cubicle next to me who can take anything small and make a disaster out of it. I’ve learned to describe her antics quite well. Things happen that could becomes stories like the time something stunk up one of the trucks. They pulled a pallet of product aside and found the source, what looked like a dead snake. Later we found out that it was a piece of rotten bacon that had been wedged in a groove within the truck and pulled up when the pallets had been pushed in. So many story possibilities.
No matter what you do on your job, you can get material for your writing. Characters are there for the taking. Scenarios are there for you to pick up and run with. I had a great one come out of the blue when inanimate objects kept seeming to have a life of their own. A plate dropped after a cup did without anyone touching them. My boss picked up the plate and had it ‘talk’ to me is a sassy manner. It hit me like a bolt of lightning. What if the objects in the café came to life after dark and talked about the customers and employees? That would be so cool. Thus a short story was born.
Look around you at work. Take a scenario or a person and write a story about them. It doesn’t have to be a novel. Write a short story. It can be fun and very therapeutic.