ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Journaling - Story Ideas Incubator

Updated on October 3, 2016

Story Ideas - Journaling Through the Seasons

Your personal reflections on the weather, the seasons, your reactions to them, the holidays and events connected with particular times of the year, family traditions and unusual occurrences all can make their way into your idea journal. Never be without a story idea again.

The Seasons - Metaphor for the Human Condition

The ebb and flow of the seasons is often used as a metaphor for the human condition. May-December marriages refer to a couple, one partner of whom is much younger than the other. When we suffer from a bleak period in our lives, it's called "the dark winter of the soul."

Whether your favorite season is just past or you are eagerly anticipating its arrival, the fact is that seasons, like aromas, stir up emotional recollections. Think of holiday cookies baking in the oven, or fresh garlic and herbs sautéing on the stove to be added to stuffing.

I encourage you to begin a seasonal journal where you can record reflections on weather and events, bringing clarity and insight into this cyclical journey we make annually. Journaling can be a great revealer of truth, but don't analyze as you write. Simply set down your reactions, feelings, observations and facts. Record temperatures, forecasts, activities, the impact weather has on your psyche, plans, family and friends. Feel. Observe. Record.

Making Sense of Your Journal Entries

Making sense of what you write uses a different part of your brain and best occurs after several months (a year is better). Then is the time to analyze. You will be alternately embarrassed by some things you've written and startled by the occasional profound insight.

During a particularly difficult time in my life, a wise friend had this to say:

While you are in the throes of a tough situation or a crisis in your life is not the time to try to make sense of it. Why, you may ask? Because trying to figure everything out during this period will yield only speculation. It is only with the perspective of time, and long after we are on the other side of the crisis, that we can BEGIN to come to terms with what happened and seek the answers to why? and why me? and why now?

The same holds true for journaling. Insight comes with perspective. And perspective comes with distance. Think of an artist sketching in a scene. First comes the outline of the "big picture." Then come the broad strokes of laying in color. Once those are done, only then is it time to start working on the details.

When we're in the midst of "something," we're surrounded by, absorbed in, and otherwise unable to see anything else but all the details of that "something."

Your journal will record all the details as they happen, and your reactions to them. After some time, you can begin to see patterns, note where things are linked, start to recognize some nuggets of truth. But only when you see the big picture is this possible.


Summer represents playtime, endless days of swimming or golf, travel and relaxation or unforgettable adventures. The "dog days" of summer, that sultry, fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk, a seemingly endless season with no hint of breezes--these are indeed "dog days." As temperatures soar, frequent power brown-outs and water rationing add to our discomfort. Thunderstorms and tornadoes increase the drama. A fortunate few retreat to cooler climes.

Take away:

Brainstorm an ideal summer, then a series of disasters, possibly humorous, to upset your plans. What is the lesson learned or unexpected byproduct?


Like spring and summer, fall has two aspects. There is a briskness to the air, a particular shade of blue to the sky, and autumn leaves add their splendor.

Ah, but these give way to cold raininess, sodden leaves underfoot and barren trees. Air that was cool can quickly turn cold as the wind bites, and most people head indoors.

Take away:

Get wild and crazy with this one. Brainstorm sci fi or fantasy scenarios. Write about aliens unprepared for a change of season or animals (think "Redwall" saga or "Watership Down") preparing for winter, to comment on the human condition.


Winter never really begins until the first snowfall or heavy frost, depending on what part of the planet you live in. Long johns, parkas, scarves and gloves are standard attire for the most part in the Western Hemisphere. Folks stock up on sidewalk salt and seriously consider getting a snowblower, based on the number of woolly worms. Skiers and lodge owners pray for cold temperatures.

Snowbirds head south -- all this before the first snowflake falls. And then once the snow starts, it may not let up for two months. Mountains of dirty snow in parking lots, axle-breaking potholes on highways, sub-zero temperatures, counteract the picture-postcard views of snow-covered landscapes. Cabin fever abounds. And then just when it seems winter will never end…the cycle begins again.

Take away:

Create a fairytale, or invent a legend or myth within another story, that uses winter as a metaphor.


When my family lived in Germany, I had difficulty getting through the frigid winters that didn't even offer snow where we were, only sleet and icy roads. But, oh, when Spring rolled around, it was like another world entirely. Everything bloomed. Literally every plant that could bloom DID bloom. It was a glorious riot of color, a picture postcard scene around every corner of the countryside.

So even though the winters were difficult for me (I suffer from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder because of the reduced daylight hours), after that first spring, I had something wonderful to hold onto, a profusion of blooms that immediately lightened my heart. And the longer daylight hours also made a positive difference.

C.S. Lewis wrote about an endless winter caused by the Evil White Witch. And then the spring came. Such dramatic climatic occurrences are the stuff of great stories. Add the human element, and then write like the wind.

The Essence of a Season

The essence of a season evokes emotional reactions. From the sharp tang of freshly-cut grass in spring to the mouth-watering scent of a backyard barbecue in summer, to the smell of burning leaves in fall, to the aroma of mulled cider simmering on the winter hearth, the seasons exert their power over us, oppressing, distressing, enriching or inspiring.

There we can find story ideas if we listen, observe and live. Our observations, the truths we discover, the experiences we learn from, not only define us, but help make sense of our world. Start that journal today, no matter what the season. There's always next year to fill in what you've missed.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)