- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
How to Get Past Writer's Block
How to Find Good Ideas for Stories
Writers' Block? Here's How to Find Story Ideas!
Has your brain stalled out on ideas for writing? Are you frantically looking for ideas for a writing contest, or something to freshen up your blog? You could be going about it the wrong way, and you may well be overlooking some great topics that are right under your nose. In any given day, you might encounter several (even dozens, in some cases) things that can inspire a story or article. The problem is, it’s sometimes hard to recognize potential stories. Here are some ways to get your creative juices flowing and go from a blank screen to an engaging article others will want to read.
A Writer's Tips on Inspiration
Where to Find Ideas for Articles to Write
How many times do you see something happen, hear a comment or experience something that makes you think, “Oh, I need to tell So & So about this!” If you just spotted something that might entertain or interest your best friend, spouse, Mom or Dad, or anyone else, for that matter, expand the idea a bit and see if it would be a good article. Did you hear an unusual story from a coworker? Did you see something that touched your heart or made you laugh? Maybe there’s a poem, story or interesting article in it.
What did you see while you were on the way to work, or church, or taking the kids to school? Did the flower salesman on the corner catch your interest? If you spotted something that made you curious, research it a bit and turn it into an article. Chances are, if it got your attention, it will be interesting to others, too.
Pay attention to your surroundings!
Find Writing Ideas in Your Own Neighborhood
What might be ‘old news’ to you because it's in your city or community might capture the imagination of thousands of others who live far away. People love the unusual, human-interest stories, adventure stories, how-to ideas and many other topics. If you’ve heard of something in your hometown, consider writing about it for readers beyond your local boundaries.
Do you have a neighbor who has a unique hobby? Does the local team have a heartwarming story? Did you see a brief news clip on a cute animal? Readers and web surfers want to see those stories, too!
Have you found your muse? Take this poll!
Do you struggle to find ideas?
Write About Your Childhood or Past Experiences
Many very popular stories or articles have been written about something that happened years ago. If there’s a lesson in it, or if the story warms your heart, put it in writing. You can enrich the lives of others by recording them in an entertaining way.
Did you survive something challenging?
Self-help pieces and stories about overcoming challenges always attract readers. So many people have internal struggles; you can reach out to them and make them feel less alone by telling about your challenge, how you felt at the time, how you dealt with it or overcame it (or not), and what you learned from it. What do you know now that you wish you’d learned then? What advice or comfort can you give others?
Challenges come in many forms – some are life-altering situations such as a frightening disease, poverty, being fired or being the victim of a crime. Other challenges might be more subtle – were you incredibly shy? Did you grow up with a fear of speaking in public? Did you fail an important test? Did you work hard to learn a new sport or new skill? There’s a story in every minute of every day.
Change your Approach to Writing!
Perhaps you're trying to enter a contest or publish in a certain venue. Unless a personal anecdote or idea pops into your head instantly, you may be floundering for hours trying to come up with a way to fill your blank computer screen (or a sheet of paper, if that's your preferred way of writing). Change your strategy and come at it from the other side.
Rather than scratching your head for an idea that fits a venue (a magazine or website), start with the idea first and then find the right place to publish it.
Use the above tips to come up with ideas (you have a ton of them; you just don’t realize it yet), and then look for publications or sites that use that sort of content. You'll save valuable time by going about it that way. And you won't waste time by trying to retrofit and idea to fit a venue.
Did you see something interesting related to animals or pets? Search for venues that market to owners of dogs, cats, animals and other keywords related to pets.
Even if you don't find a venue right away, start developing the idea into an article or blog post. You'll find a good home for it, before you know it!