Story ideas—they’re everywhere!

This is the world’s most historic Chipotle.

I went to Boston in the summer with my college bestie and, given the history that happened there, I had my eyes and ears peeled the entire time for story ideas for an early American history magazine I write for. I’d see a historical marker (which are everywhere in Boston, BTW) and if the time period fit the one for this magazine, I’d snap a quick photo. In gift shops, I scanned the book section for interesting titles on early American people and events. It was the Freedom Trail Walking Tour we took that gave me the idea for a feature on Anne Hutchinson, who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s, just a few years after arriving from England. There’s a Chipotle that stands on the site of the infamous house where she invited women and—gasp—men to talk about scripture and what it means.

Just before the holidays I turned in my article on Anne Hutchinson and I can’t wait to see it in the March/April issue of American Spirit, which is the magazine for the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Other story ideas have come from my magazine subscription addiction or my travels. Like that time I was driving in Ohio and kept seeing things named “Zane.”

I asked my husband, who was the passenger, to look up who these things were named for. A Wikipedia search later, I learned it was a man named Ebenezer Zane. Now, based on this thoroughly un-modern name, my early American history antenna went up. Sure enough, he was a Patriot who fought in the Revolutionary War—an under-the-radar one at that, and a perfect candidate for an “Our Patriots” profile in the magazine.

Not every idea I come across or dream up comes to fruition, of course. But I basically live my life on the lookout for a good story.