I’ve been missing for a while, but now I’m back with this new series on writing called ‘The Writing Process’ or TWP for short. I don’t know how long this series will last, but I’m looking forward to sharing all my knowledge and experiences. So what’s the first step in writing? An idea of course. But how do you get one of those? Here are some ways to find ideas and inspiration for you writing.
Write it Down
A piece of advice that is commonly given to writers is ‘carry a notebook where ever you go’ this is a good idea because you never know when inspiration will hit and when it does you need to be ready to write your idea down for the next time you need one. Some of your ideas might be for characters or scenarios, settings or plot twists. Some will be a whole story and others will be little bits to add onto another idea. It’s up to you whether you keep these on your phone, your computer, in a notebook or somewhere else completely just make sure you get them written down somewhere so you won’t forget them. I have a folder filled with scraps of ideas that I might someday use in my writing.
Online there are thousands of great writing prompts. I generally use pinterest to find them, I have a whole board full of things that could be useful for generating an idea. Some are character ideas, some plot ideas and some are just random things that I found cool. (my board here). Even if you only write a short story or scene from the prompt you might find that there is some aspect of it that intrigues you and turns into a whole novel.
The Ordinary becomes Extraordinary
Have you ever had a thought like ‘what if I was the only person at my school’ or ‘what if what I ate was monitored by the government’. Those might be nothing, or they could be your next idea. You never know what you’ll come up with if you let your imagination run away with you. Why do you do what you are doing? What would happen if something was slightly different? You are the only one who can tell us what this new universe would be like.
The best place I find inspiration is in my everyday life. Sometimes I overhear something on the bus, or I remember something that happened, or I evaluate my hopes in a situation and that leads to an idea. Be critical of things, ask questions, have crazy conversations with friends and you never know what idea you’ll think up.
Fill the Void
Have you ever read a book and thought ‘I wish there were more books like this’ or ‘I expected more from this book’ or ‘this book wasn’t at all what I expected’? Well you can use that to figure out what to write. If you see a void in the book industry that you wish was filled, then write the book that fills it. If you liked elements of a book then write one with similar elements. If you didn’t like parts of a book then write about the concept without the bits that you didn’t like. If you had an entirely different idea of what the book was going to be like based upon descriptions of friends then write about that idea, or if you thought it would take a different direction then write about that direction. As the saying goes, there are no new ideas under the sun.
Please note that I am not endorsing plagiarism, but other people’s ideas can be a good starting point for one of your own. I find that writing lists of what elements I did like and which I didn’t can help me to figure out what I want to write about. This idea can also be applied to other art forms like paintings or poems. This method is great if you are looking for an idea, because most of the others are just what you should do if you come across an idea. This one is a bit more active.
The Writing Process Series
What other methods do you use to get inspiration? Let me know down in the comments.