Faye Arcand, My Twisted Writer Brain…

Fifty Ways, Places, or Ideas to Motivate Your Muse.

No matter what kind of writer you are, sometimes it can be a challenge to find something fresh to write about. 

Knowing where to begin can be half of the battle. 

Here’s a list of fifty ideas to help you spark ideas or find inspiration for articles, character development, background, or whatever you’re writing.

Let me know which ones you like.  My faves are 35, 37, and 38 I think.

  1. Shared personal experiences…what’s happened to you? What happened to the guy down the street? Write about it.
  2. Go volunteer at a soup kitchen or Salvation Army. See how others live. What are their challenges? What are your prejudices? How could you incorporate this into your writing?
  3. Observations…we all see things differently. How do you see it? Why aren’t you writing about it? What happens when you’re driving? walking? talking on your phone? Open your eyes.
  4. Opinions or Editorials…do you agree or disagree? What do you think? Watch out for those who like to argue.
  5. Travel…destinations, the act, the prep, going it alone, 5* vs hostel, the people, the food…so much fodder.
  6. Kids…an endless pit of material—whether it’s about play, poop, or birthday parties. What are you waiting for?
  7. Animals—haha…just like kids except it’s all about play, poop, and pedigree.
  8. Church…this could be very personal or from the sidelines. Whether it be doctrine, lifestyle, faith, history, etc., the list goes on.
  9. Holidays…you choose which one. Remember the Editorial Calendar of being six months ahead. Write a Christmas story in May or June and a Halloween story in March. Think about  how society celebrates, or individuals, or what to do with the dog during Christmas dinner.
  10. Traditions…This could go so many ways: personal, cultural, family, school, holiday etc. 
  11. Politics… All yours…I don’t wanna talk about it. Gets me all fired up and pisses me off. 
  12. Sport…Whether you’re playing, observing, or betting, there’s something to write about.
  13. Pop Culture…just google it and you’ll get lost in a maze of wth?
  14. Submission Guidelines…what does a publication want? This is a smart place to start but ended up #fourteen on the list. Go figure. 
  15. Your Garden…flowers, veg, weeds, or weed, I’m sure you could find some inspiration there somewhere.
  16. Twitter…whether you want to read tweets or trending it’s a great source of inspiration about what’s going on and what people are focused on.
  17. Facebook…Whether friends posts or trending videos, it can all be the base of a story. I also have a whole bunch of saved items/videos/recipes, etc., on FaceBook to draw on when needed.
  18. The spa…think about the experience, the history, the products, the cost, the workers—the possibilities are endless. 
  19. Pick up your local newspaper—how archaic—yet still so effective. There’s still plenty of free newspapers to flip through to find human interest stories.
  20. Take a walk—Sometimes you just need to clear your head in order to let stuff in.
  21. Take a nap—This is my go to as it does for me what a walk does for others.
  22. Take a shower—Same idea different mental experience.
  23. Discreetly eavesdrop on a conversation in a restaurant—this can give you plot ideas, character development, and a lesson in real dialogue.
  24. Go to a coffee shop to feel the energy and vibe. What’s the person next to you doing? How do the staff act? How does it smell? Is the chair uncomfortable?
  25. Food—get inspired by taste, smell, texture. Let these fill you and carry you away to a place of genius.
  26. Pick a weekend and go to a bunch of Open Houses. There’s no cost and you can see how others live. Ask yourself who these people are? What do they do? Are they happy? Why are they selling? Where are they going? The possibilities are endless. 
  27. Graduation—from elementary, middle school, high school, or university are huge inspirations whether it be looking back at the journey, the future, the books, the students, the sophomore 15, etc.
  28. Decorations—If you look around at the sparkle, colour, and embellishments what’s behind them all? Why do they exist? Are they real? Are the stars simply sky decor?
  29. Birthdays—whether a milestone or regular birthday what makes them different? Why do we bother? Is it worth it? How much money is spent? 
  30. Shoes—can you be inspired by shoes? I can. I love shoes—the smell, the feel, the bright colours, the height, the shine…ahhh. 
  31. Go test drive a new car—or just go sit in a luxury vehicle and breath in the experience. Do you have a character who drives a car like this? Who are they? How could anyone pay 100K for a car? How do the seats feel? What’s the salesperson like? What does he drive? 
  32. Visit a library. Read a book—what speaks to you? Do a book review or go write a new chapter. 
  33. Go visit a senior citizen…whether in a nursing home or at a coffee shop, they have stories they want to tell if you’re willing to listen.
  34. Look out the window—sounds simple enough. What do you see? And, beyond that? Let it take your imagination.
  35. Go sit in the ER waiting room—not because you’re sick but just to observe and listen. Be discreet and stay out of the way. Can you find some new characters there? Any ideas for articles? New plot?
  36. Take a bath–lean back and relax…let the inspiration flow.
  37. Walk around your neighborhood at one o’clock in the morning—does it look different? Are you nervous? Are you alone? Is someone watching?
  38. Go to a night club—really study how guests, staff, bouncers are acting. What are they wearing? saying? look at the dancing, the flirting, the disgust, the loneliness…
  39. YouTube—Go! We’ll see you in a week when you come up for air.
  40. Go to the movies—listen to the people around you, those that work there, conversations after the movie. Listen to how people talk and interact even at a movie. Smell the popcorn. Oh, and watch the movie—it may spark something in you.
  41. Stroll through a grocery store—what’re people buying? Go talk to the guy in the deli about types of cheese—ask for a free sample. 
  42. Babies. They’re thought-provoking on many fronts whether it be caring for them, buying for them, or making them. 
  43. Weddings—what do you know about weddings. What are the trends? What is something unique that you can address?
  44. Look through old photo albums—especially if you’re looking for family stories or memoir but it can also be great to see the fashion, hairstyles, cars, furniture, etc.
  45. Go to a museum—study the history of a time period in which you’re interested or want to incorporate into a story. Feel the energy of the past.
  46. Visit an amusement park…they’re full of people having a good time but there’s always a story happening in the background. Watch and listen. In the meantime, check out the Fair-Food—omg—greasy inspiration!
  47. Go clean something—what could you write about cleaning styles, products, surfaces, environmental, etc. It’s amazing what you think about when you’re scrubbing a toilet.
  48. Sit back and have a cuppa—Whether tea or coffee there is a lot of branding, flavors, steeping methods, even the cups themselves differ—sip and be inspired.
  49. Go into nature…whether for a hike or into a park. What’s going on around you? What games are the kids playing? Does the grass need watering? Wildlife? Birds? 
  50. Go to Goodwill or a thrift store… feel the clothing? smell the air? What’s different? Where did all this stuff come from? Each piece has a story. And don’t forget to see who’s shopping and what they’re buying? What calls to you?

You’re limited only by our imagination. 

9 thoughts on “Fifty Ways, Places, or Ideas to Motivate Your Muse.”

  1. #5 – travel for articles. I love foreign cultures & customs. I’ve had extraordinary adventures in new places. #25 – food – so many associations, from good times to disaster. #23 – eavesdropping – yep, if you’re sitting next to me, I’ll listen.

    1. Hi Aggie. Yes. I love to eavesdrop too. Can definitely here some great stuff that way. And, travel…it’s an endless bucket isn’t it? Whether you’re looking at food, people, climate, customs…the list goes on. Enjoy. Stay inspired and keep writing. xo

  2. Such a great list. So many lists are just topics (many of which any given writer won’t personally relate to) rather than activities, places, personal experiences that will motivate a writer to dig deep and discover what he or she really is passionate to write about. Thanks for this list! Awesome!

    1. Hi Norma. Thanks for your kind words–they’re very much appreciated. Yes, to be able to get away and experience different sensory things is so inspiring and we as writers sometimes forget to just ‘get out there’. Glad you enjoyed. Stay inspired. Keep writing. xo

  3. Thanks for this! #49 is my almost-daily go-to, and #50 is always fun, especially poking around the book section. #35 is an interesting suggestion, but I’ve spent way too many awful hours in hospital ERs to want to do it again by choice. And #47 dovetails with my day job, since I clean homes for a living. I DO get inspired by scrubbing bathrooms and contemplating the lives of others….

    1. Hi Marion! Thanks so much for commenting. I appreciate it. I’m glad some of my suggestions resonated with you. I love #50 too. Poking around in thrift stores, Sally-Ann, or even the used book store…it just makes me question where it all came from and the journey it’s been on to end up where it is. Keep writing. Stay inspired. xo

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