As a writer, I like to think that my radar is constantly humming and my antennae permanently twitching.
Information from a multitude of sources, snatches of overheard conversations and half-formed ideas are all hoarded away with Scrooge-like fervour, each waiting their turn to be sorted, polished and honed into coherent pieces of writing.
We’re all bombarded by information daily, but in spite of that frequent sensation of overload, it’s vital to occasionally pause and look again at something which wouldn’t make it onto your radar.
House makeover programmes have always been assuredly off my radar; they’re just not my choice of viewing.
A programme listing for DIY SOS caught my eye though, as the location was the seaside town where I was brought up.
With unashamed curiosity (and a healthy helping of downright nosiness) I tuned in ‘just for 5 minutes’ to view my old home town through the prism of the TV camera’s lens.
This ‘off-my- radar’ programme had me hooked. The subject was fascinating – the restoration of an old Sussex flint cottage whose age and condition provided an absorbing insight into the particular problems in dealing with houses built in the early 1800s.
Who knows, I may never use the information I acquired that evening, but it was an hour spent totally engrossed in a programme previously labelled ‘not on my radar’.
For a writer, it was a useful reminder: don’t assume that you can’t pitch to this specialist magazine or that periodical because the subject matter isn’t on your radar.
Look again with a new perspective – there could be a rich seam of ideas just waiting to be mined, then honed and polished into saleable articles.