People who know me in real life know that I tend to punctuate most conversations with “That’s a story.” If you tell me about how your next door neighbors got divorced and moved into separate houses on opposite ends of the same neighborhood? Well, that’s a story. If you tell me how your uncle won a hot wing eating competition? That’s a story as well. And your description of your great aunt Lucille who can’t take left-hand turns? It takes Lucille an extra hour to get anywhere because she refuses to turn left. That’s definitely a story.
Everyone is fascinating to a writer. Everyone is a story. Even boring people are fascinating in their seeming-boringness; no one can be boring, so what tumult lies beneath those still waters?
Writers love jury duty and airports. Recently, two members of my family got called to jury duty and I was jealous of them, first because I want to serve on a jury, but also because I, too, want to sit in a room with a selection of random individuals for a few hours, all in the name of civic duty. I want to study the lines on eyes as they squint through glasses, and the curves of mouths as they whisper words into phones, and observe calloused fingers as they punch cracked phone screens.
This post was going to be a list of ways to get ideas for your writing, but at the end of the day, all it boils down to is having the realization that people are endlessly fascinating. And pretty much everything can be a story, if you are waiting for it.