Not only new writers want to know how to keep developing ideas. Many writers fear being consumed with writer’s block. When confronting writer’s block, you should consider possible solutions and techniques available. Conference Speakers like Terry Barnes or Debbie Macomber advise keeping a pad of paper on hand at all times, even by the bed. You never know when a great idea may occur. They also tell writers to observe people and things around them. Ideas are everywhere.

Places to Find Inspiration

Good places to begin your search include bookstore shelves, libraries, and magazine racks. Read the newspaper headlines and insert magazines. Watch CNN for story ideas. Sporting events or school concerts can give you inspiration.

People Watching for Inspiration

You can find models for your characters by listening to conversations at other tables while you eat lunch. Pay attention to conversations with family and friends. What are their speech patterns and vocabulary? Does someone have a personality quirk you could use in one of your characters? Get them to tell stories from their own lives. Ask people questions.

Community Activities as Inspiration

Check community calendars for upcoming events. Is there a car show or art exhibition scheduled? What about the city commission meeting? Watch for the county fair or performances. Always carry your notebook with you. Your community may host ethnic celebrations that provide new opportunities for innovative story lines.

Alternative Sources for Inspiration

Watch the Discovery or History Channel. Read the Yellow pages of the phone book. Read old journals or diaries. Movies can generate an interest in a particular subject that could grow into an article series. Children’s books can be a great source of basic ideas. Make a list of people’s interests and hobbies.

Brainstorm Ideas in a Notebook.

Put the notebook to use that we’ve discussed above. You can turn one idea into many. Choose a topic, such as “Pets.” Write twenty ideas that could be written about pets. For example,

  • What fish live the longest in a tank?
  • How to train an older dog?

Other ideas can be generated from asking “what if” questions. What if the South had won the Civil War? What could have happened? What if Lincoln had lived? What if Columbus had perished before returning to Spain? What if the US had not won the Revolutionary War?