Ideas For Writing Need To Involve Asking, HOW?

Finding writing ideas does not have to be difficult, but it does involve some thinking time. Sometimes using your senses can be a catalyst for writing ideas. Recently, as I sat in my favourite writing space, the sound of my neighbour's lawn mower buzzing and roaring triggered a memory.

I had an idea, but then I had to think about the genre in which I wanted to write. A recount would have been easy, and also a little predictable. As a writer, you have options. In my mind I had numerous thoughts and memories triggered by a familiar sound. The challenge this time was not what to write about, rather how?

Student writers need to engage with their peers and teachers around such ponderings. Once they have identified what they want to write about, what messages they wish to convey, the question of how needs to be discussed.

Last week I found myself in a brief conversation with a young Grade 3 writer who had recently visited the Lerderderg Gorge situated in the Lerderderg State Park less than an hour's drive from, Melbourne. 

Rather than write a recount of her visit to this special place, the writer chose on this occasion, to write a poem capturing the atmospheric aspects of her experience. She wanted her readers to know how she felt while walking in this space and noted in particular the sounds and the smells she recollected as she walked the track. It was a refreshing choice. It was an inspired choice. A brave and thoughtful writer is emerging here.

So, here is my response to the sound of my neighbour's lawn mower. It triggered memories of childhood chores and this little poem evolved complete with paradoxical ending. The repetition of the line, 'mowing the lawn' pays homage to the obvious patterns lawn mowing involves. It can be repetitive too.
Lawn Thoughts
Mowing the lawn
Is clippings in your hair
Up your nose
In your socks

Mowing the lawn
Is smoky fumes
Swishing blades
Aromas of cut grass

Mowing the lawn
Is hugging the edges
Avoiding the cat
Gliding past Mum’s chrysanthemums

Mowing the lawn
Is refilling the tank
Dumping the clippings
Raking and sweeping

Mowing the lawn
Is a summer chore
A neat grassy haircut

-And pocket money


  1. Wonderful hearing about the thoughtful little writer you were in conversation with. And I love your poem!

    1. Thanks Katherine. She was indeed a thoughtful little writer.


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