Have you ever asked your coworkers what story they want to write?
This sounds crazy right? Some of them we don’t want to talk to even though we are paid to. But let me explain.
I was in a writing slump. We all have them, call it a block, call it a brain freeze, whatever you call it, but I couldn’t put another word down on paper. To add to this, my day job is the least creative thing you could do for a living. It’s in a very conservative field where you would never expect to hear a joke, let alone a dirty one.
So of course, this is a prime place to dig for inspiration right?
Surprisingly, the answer is “Yes!”
How I gathered up enough courage to do this I will never know, but it was an amazing experience. What I found so incredible were the stories weren’t all personal I-learned-a-lesson stories. People had ideas for love stories, horror stories, and fantasy stories, all locked up tight behind the fears of writing.
Not to say it was easy to draw it out of them. The muse is always elusive. But after the first few conversations, I learned we are all a little protective when it comes to exposing ourselves and our stories.
The conversations went something like this:
ME: So, I’m trying to write a story. Have you ever tried your hand at that?
Coworker: No, I’m not a writer.
Me: Well, I’m not much of one either. Just trying to put some ideas down on paper you know.
Coworker: Well, I always thought a story about (blank) would be interesting.
Me: Really? How so?
(Grab my pen and paper and scribble insanely for the next 15 minutes as the muse puts on her performance.)
These formal and proper people had such wonderful insights, it jarred me right out of my slump. Not only did I gain fresh perspectives, I also formed some interesting relationships.
If nothing else, this little experiment proved the saying,
“Everyone has a story to tell.”
Even if your muse is chatting your ear off, take this as a challenge. See if you don’t get a dozen fresh ideas or a few new perspectives. And if you’re really lucky, you might even win over a coworker or two.
*Don’t forget to ask if you can take notes. People like it when they feel you are really listening.
*Ask questions. What you see in your mind’s eye isn’t always correct. A little clarity goes a long way.
*And make sure you aren’t stealing their stories. Most people love sharing and want someone to write their story, but not everyone feels that way.