10 Great Sources for Story Ideas
We’ve all been there, we’ve got to write something, but we have no idea what to write about. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I sit down to write, and it’s the easiest thing in the world. Other times my brain is so tired, or freaked out by the task of writing that it feels like there’s nothing going on in there. For any of those moments where you feel that nasty writer’s block, here are 10 great sources for story ideas.
- Newspapers – Don’t use the huge headlines that are on everyone’s radar. Look in the smaller sections of the newspaper, like the local news section, and find a headline that grabs your attention. Then use either the headline, or the story that goes with it to inspire a piece of your own writing.
- Old Magazines – Same idea as with newspapers. Clip inspiring stories, images, and headlines and keep these in an old sketch book to leaf through when you need inspiration.
- Photos – I have a stack of old photos from other people’s personal collections that I acquired from flea markets and antique shops. I’m always so drawn in by the stories these images seem to tell. What inspiration can you draw from your own family photos? Ask your parents and grandparents if they will let you look through their collections too. Snap pics of or get someone to scan the images that speak to you.
- Keep A Notebook – I always try to carry a little pocket-size notebook and something to write with everywhere I go, in case inspiration strikes. You can always make notes with your device of choice too, just make sure they are safely backed up. I flip through my notes if I’m out of ideas and something usually jumps off the page.
- Public Spaces – People-watching is a writer’s favorite past time. Sit back and take a look at people when they don’t know you’re watching them. Create characters and stories based on real people that you spot, or conversations you might overhear.
- Song Lyrics – Take a line from your favorite song and use it to inspire a story or a poem of your own. I love this idea for journaling too. I take a line and write about a moment in my own life when I could relate.
- Poems – This works the same way as song lyrics. Use a line from a poem to inspire your own writing. You can also get creative. Take a line, or a series of lines, from any poem and re-arrange them. Or write your own version of a poem, with your own words, matching the rhythm and style of the poem you’ve used as inspiration.
- Classic Stories & Fairy Tales – Why not write your own twist, or updated version of a classic? Like a version of the Ugly Duckling set in a prestigious high school, or a modern take on a Shakespeare play? A Midsummer Night’s Dream set at a music festival?
- Other People’s Stories – Everyone has great stories to tell. Some families are filled with stories that are almost hard to believe, they are so fantastic, or tragic. Take a story from your own family, or someone else’s real-life story that has impacted you emotionally and write it in your own words. Change the names to protect identity, or create fictional characters inspired by the people from the actual events. Fan fiction is all about getting inspiration from other people’s stories. Using characters from your favorite books, movies, or television shows can be a great start for a story of your own, although these kinds of stories can’t usually be submitted for contests or for publication.
- Social Media – Have you ever been struck by the weight or the emotion in someone else’s Tweet or Facebook Status? Why not use those words as a jumping off point for a story or a poem? See a stunning image on Instagram that creates an emotion for you? A Snapchat Story that looks like a great moment? There’s more inspiration right there. You may even decide to share your creation with the person who inspired you.
Inspiration is all around us. Sometimes all we need to do is step away from the blank page, or the white screen and take a break to re-charge our imagination. What are some of the unusual places where you find inspiration?