Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?
There are times when all creative people need to step away from the work and breathe in new inspiration. While it may feel daunting, you must remember that the insights and ideas come through your imagination and your world. Sometimes you just have to open the door.
Many writers say they want to write but they don’t know where to begin. This may indicate that your mind is not open to new things, but with practice you’ll hopefully soon find motivation all around you.
Here’s a list of 50 ideas to help you spark ideas or assist in finding creative inspiration for articles, character development, background, or whatever you’re writing.
Sometimes it just takes a simple idea to get yourself going. Writers often need to get out of their own heads… so relax, have fun, and let yourself be inspired.
When you are actively seeking inspiration for your creative writing you must employ your writer brain. Don’t just open your eyes, but open that part of you within you that takes that image to the next place~~ the one that flows with imagination and flies beyond the ordinary.
Where Do I Find Ideas to Write About?
Check out Social Media. (1-12…)
- Twitter or X–whatever it’s called now… Trends–check out what’s trending. It can be pretty bizarre sometimes and get your mind working in a different direction. This can be helpful for letting your imagination take off and also for acquiring some characters.
- Read Quora–this is a Q and A forum. There are specific sections dedicated to all facets of life. Read through the answers. Consider the questions. I’ll warn you it a bit of a rabbit hole sometimes as your imagination begins to take off.
- Scroll through Reddit–this is also a Q and A forum but with a much younger audience. There are sub-reddits (kind of like sub-genres) for every category. The rabbit hole is real here too. There’s fascinating, kinky, real, emotional, naive, curious… a bit of everything including inspiration for your writing.
- Facebook #1 –We all know Facebook. It’s a staple in many people’s everyday life, but have you explored? Have a look through market place. What are people selling? Why do you think they’re selling? Why are they asking so much? What’s the story behind the thing for sale? What motivates them?
- Instagram #1–This is probably my favorite social media platform. I find so much inspiration for my writing there. Do a search of writing prompts or writers or what to write…just type in what you’re interested in and members pages will come up.
- Facebook #2–Do you ever read posts from people you know or follow and then shake your head. What were they thinking? Oh my, if you’re asking that about a post then you’ve probably got a character there that you need to develop. Ask yourself why do people write this stuff? Why do they tell me so much personal information? What’s behind all that?
- Instagram #2–Take a look at the Reels. These are short videos of everything under the moon. Many are silly or contrived but there are also a whole bunch that are just real people in situations. As you watch, do so with the eye of a writer. Ask yourself how they got into that situation. Does one of the videos tug at your heart stings? That’s an indication that you may want to think and ponder on the situation, setting, and character a bit more.
- YouTube–For some reason, youtube is something I don’t use very often. I don’t know why. The content is endless and fantastic. You can learn so much. Again, go to the search and start plugging in anything and see what comes up. If it’s something that catches your attention great.
- Twitter #2–Scroll through the different forum. Look at the profiles and the pictures.
- Pintrest–This is another one of those sites where you can disappear into it for days and come out with a hangover. There’s a lot to see and read there, so finding some creative inspiration is a definite possibility. Remember to keep that writer brain wide open.
- Go back and read old texts–let the memories wash over you.
- Look at saved candid pix–candid pix are a great way to capture spontaneity and fun. They’re also a source of inspiration and emotion when you look back on them.
Check Out Your Home (12-24…)
- Look through old photo albums. Check out the older pictures of your grandparents. Imagine what their life was like.
- Read through an old journal. Do you remember the person that wrote it?
- Stand in the center of the room. Close your eyes and imagine it’s all gone…everything–what do you do? Where did it go?
- Study any pictures on the walls. Where are they? what do the colours convey? Can you imagine yourself there?
- Read a book… any book.
- Who was the last person to walk through the door? Describe them as a character.
- Watch TV with an aware and open writer brain. Why were they written like that?
- Read an old letter.
- Close your eyes and ask the room what it’s story is. What’s happened there before?
- Read the back of a cereal box. Who eats that stuff? who packed it? Write a story of the person working in the cereal factory.
- What’s the name of the paint? dove grey? down pipe? Where does htat take your brain
- Ask your kid or partner what you should write.
Around your Neighborhood (25-36…)
- Take a walk late at night after everyone is asleep. Note the sounds, smells, feel…
- Historical Urban Contrasts–Explore the contrasts of urban life—busy streets, quiet alleys, modern buildings against historic ones. Who lived there? Think history.
- Suburbia Speculation— you know what they say about closed doors… so what is happening? Go nuts…
- Yard Talk-– what does the yard say to you? what does it say about who lives there? Create some characters.
- Landmarks and Monuments— Explore any landmarks or monuments nearby. What’s the history v the current mindset?
- Nature Walk— pay attention to the flora, fauna, and changing seasons. Explore the environment and the creatures hidden within it.
- Go to a Shop–browse the shelves of a charming shop. Who buys this stuff? Why is it there? Perhaps the shop is a setting for a story???
- Don’t forget the Book Store–study the covers of the many books, the people, the atmosphere.
- Then there’s the Used Book Store–note the smell when you walk in. Check out sections/genres that you normally wouldn’t. Note the condition of the book, the feel, and the essence… what’s it’s story?
- While in the used book store flip through the books to see if you can find any notes or markers. Is there an inscription in the front? Maybe a child’s drawing? Imagaine the history of the book and who owned or gifted it
- Attend a local community event like a farmers’ market or fair. Make note of the atmosphere, interactions, and emotions you encounter.
- Wildlife Encounters–whether you see a bird, squirrel, deer, or a creepy crawly (think Charlotte). Imagine their world and create a fantasy involving their lives.
Engage The Senses (37-48…)
- Taste–try something totally outside your comfort zone. Describe the experience from start to finish.
- Savor–indulge in something you absolutely love to eat–rich dark chocolate and a sip of rose perhaps… Pay attention and write down the entire experience from head to toe.
- Stick Your Nose out–smell the air, fresh cut grass, an outhouse…. writer a scene.
- Open you Ears–sit completely still. Let the natureal noises/sounds of the house wash over you. Make note of them and include in your next scene.
- Cooking and Baking–experiment with cooking or baking to savor different aromas and use them as sensory prompts.
- Go to a Flower Shop— immerse yourself in the fragrances of various blooms.
- Run your fingers over those Blooms–note their texture and delicate nature.
- Music Exploration— Listen to different genres of music, paying attention to the melodies, rhythms, and emotions they evoke.
- Walk and Touch Nature–run your hands over the bark of a tree, through the grass, or along the rocks. How can you use these textures to describe things in your book or writing?
- Go to your Closet–note the different textures and feel of the textiles, your purse, or a fuzzy scarf.
- People-Watch–Sit on a park bench and observe people’s expressions, clothing, and interactions.
- Really listen to Talk–eavesdrop on a conversation not only for the content but also for the different inflections, accents, and uniqueness of each voice. Weave some of these into your next character.
Don’t Start At the Beginning– If you’re really stuck and can’t figure out what to write, take the pressure off and allow yourself to begin anywhere but the beginning.
Write a scene that unexpected and dramatic then ask yourself how you got there. How and why did the characters act the way they did?
Work backward from your initial idea to develop the character and plot.
Don’t be afraid to push the limits and dig deep into the motivation and sequence of events.
Scene by Scene or One Character Deep Dive–This is sort of two for the price of one.
Get out of your head and sketch out a scene in words. Don’t get bogged down in thinking that you need to produce 50k words. Start with a compete scene. Think of a television show between commercials… that is a a scene.
You don’t need to write the whole show… just that one scene. Do it over and over and then bring it together.
If you don’t want to do write a scene then choose a character and start sketching out who they are. I’m talking a deep dive here. Not just their hair color and looks… I want to know them. What in their wallet? what’s their fave food? Take them through the #1-48 above… put them through their paces! GO!!
Please let me know your thoughts on this post. Did it help? Are you feeling inspired? even a little bit? Tell me….
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