This week’s writing challenge revolves around my favorite inspiration: eavesdropping.

My mother would be horrified at my bad manners. When I hit the wall with my writing and need motivation, I go to my local coffee shop, and listen in on the conversations around me.

At my cafe, I’ve heard some great chats — from awkward first dates, to job interviews, to one-sided cell phone arguments. If a particular tidbit excites me, I’ll use it as a line of dialogue, as the first line in an essay, or as a writing prompt.

Here are a few examples of what I overheard today while I sipped my green tea:

“He didn’t even cry when I told him. I hate him even more now.”

“Cashiers can’t be drunk, but they’re not as strict with the baggers.”

Phone rings. “Hello?…No, you still have the wrong number, and if you call again, I am literally going to go insane.” Seconds later, the phone rings again.

I nabbed the second overheard statement, and used it as the start of a short story. There was no way I could pass it up.

Style and genre are entirely up to you.

Fiction, political rant, photo essay, poetry, personal reflections…the world is your oyster. Regardless of what and how you blog, your inspiration will be the voices around you. Can you hear what the strangers on the train are murmuring? What your coworkers are complaining about in the break room? What your kids are conspiring about when they should be asleep? If a snippet of conversation ignites your fire, take note of it, and use it to rock your next blog post.

If the government can do it, so can you: tap into your inner spy. Listen in on a conversation, and get blogging.

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