I read short stories in magazines and set myself a project to write for a particular magazine. I take note of the variety of writing styles, the genres and how the twist stories work. I enjoy the challenge of tackling a project outside my comfort zone. If you usually write murder/mystery try a twist.
Scanning the newspapers is a good trigger for writing projects. Headlines can spark up an idea and letters to the editors can get you asking questions. What if that person against junk mail deliveries decides to take matters into their own hands and it backfires? Read what gets up people’s noses; be those characters – the ones with the gripes or the ones being ‘griped’ (I just made that word up) about and see where your story takes you.
Visit writing forums online. The aspiring writer is keen to improve their writing skills (Aren’t we all?). If I can answer a question because I’ve travelled that road and found a way to overcome a particular writing dilemma, I set myself a project to write an article to submit to a writing magazine. (And yes, if I can help in the forum, I do.)
I drag out stories I wrote years ago. I revamp them with fresh eyes and what I like to think the capabilities of a more experienced writer. Sometimes a change in point of view or adjustments in the plot transforms it into a better story, but more often than not a major overhaul is required.
What do you do to get yourself started on a writing project?