People ask writers how they find ideas all the time. I always thought it was a reasonable question, so I was pleased to learn that these pros apparently think so too.
Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Daniel Ariely on JournalistsResource.org.
Ariely: So the first thing I want to ask you is: How do you pick your topics?
Gladwell: I don’t really know — I mean, desperation? … I see things and I collect them, and I think they might be interesting. But there’s no theory or system. I go to the library sometimes, and I just sort of roam around; or I go on the databases and I just type in things at random, or I get articles and read through the bibliography…. But there’s no rhyme or reason. Someone will say something to me interesting, and I’ll follow up on it or something. To be a writer I think you’re kind of constitutionally disposed toward optimism.