From where to get ideas for writing?

The question which didn’t allowed me to write until now.

Photo by Juan Marin at Unsplash

One of the most common questions asked by beginners is related to inspiration for writing. Some people often want to write but couldn’t, because ideas won’t come. The reason for not having as many writers as aspirers is the lack of ideas. It’s natural to feel this way, all the writers were once beginners, and believe me if you have started to write and are not succeeding, it’s at least better than writing nothing. In the contemporary world, when technology has comforted every sector of human life, it is believed that how much expensive typewriter you have had, without a genius mind or inspiration you cannot write a better piece than writers of past who wrote with a quill. Due to this uniqueness and originality of ideas, Shakespeare is standing alone as the greatest writer of all time.

Ideas, the inspiration, is the most important part of the writing process. Ideas come naturally and freely sometimes and at times you have to work on your mind to set it to work but sometimes, whatever you do no ideas come into your mind often called writer’s block. If you are facing a problem with coming up with ideas for writing, this article is probably going to work for you as it worked for me. Whether you are facing writer’s block or have no inspiration for writing, these ways are advantageous.

From where do ideas for writing come?

The ways to get ideas in case of lacking inspiration or enduring block are many. At least one of them always works for me and I can write whenever I get enough time.

  • Brainstorming

Brainstorm for ideas, we all know what brainstorming is but we don’t follow its actual definition. To search and consult for the ideas and writing them without editing, without thinking it’s good or bad, without further entertaining it. Whenever you come up with an idea, you have to stick with it to prove it right or wrong but brainstorming is not about getting the best idea. It’s about getting more and more ideas, refining and molding is the next step. Jot down as my ideas as you can. Don’t bother about perfection, quality, or pros or cons. Quantity matters more for brainstorming sessions as compared to quality. A mind-mapping which gives you a number of ideas is favorable than two or three ideas having better quality.

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have dozens.”

~John Steinbeck

  • Experiences and Occurrences

From your experiences, you get tons of ideas. We all face different circumstances, life is easy for some people without even trying and some people strive for getting a better life and stood where they were. Just like people think differently amid different cultures and, they may or may not experience same things as their fellow humans. Strangeness is a thing that humans find attractive. We all want to blend with the crowd and whosoever experiences something different can withstand unusualness and distinction. We have our way of encountering life, and we can get inklings from those things which we think others may not have undergone.

Childhood memories

The child is the father of the man. Childhood is the innocent, original, and best time anyone can have. Choosing childhood memories to have a way in writing would have a lot of fun.

  • Commonplace book and observations

Even the strongest memory is weaker than the palest ink.

One of the fastest and easier methods for remembering ideas, observations, and experiences of each day is making notes in a commonplace book. A place for everything and everything at its place, so you only have to skim through the notebook to have your way. My biggest inspiration for writing is my commonplace notepad. I write every single idea which comes to mind and over the course of time work on them. When you read an experience of your life after sometime you come up with more better ideas. Memoir, biographies, autobiography all are based on memories of past.

For example, Stephen King’s book On Writing, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and a great many other books.

“Ideas can come from anywhere and at any time. The problem with making mental notes is that ink fades very rapidly.”

~Rolph Smith

  • Curiosity and novelty

Sometimes, satisfying the need for research leaves us with useful ideas for writing. Having more interest on what’s happening will increase the odds of getting ideas.

“We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

~T.S Eliot

  • Nature

Nature gives us lessons and inspires us to admire and praise the one God, Who has beautifully and systematically created everything which tempts us into thinking. The very thinking can lead to ideas for writing. The biggest example is the ardent lover and worshipper of nature, William Wordsworth(poet).

“Look and you will find it- what is unsought will go undetected.”


Image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

  • Relaxation

Sometimes you strive to get what you want out of your mind but don’t succeed and when you feel exhausted and give up on ideas, they come of their own accord in the time of relaxation. Just before sleep and in dreams sometimes you get the idea. So, relaxation does have something to do with ideas. When fail to get an idea, give it a rest or probably try to sleep on it.

The process of creative activity displays striking features. One of the most frequent is the occurrence of flashes of insight outside the hours of regular work, during periods of physical activity, or at odd moments of reverie or relaxation when the mind is daydreaming.”

~Lancelot Law Whyte in Explanation

  • Reading

Reading opens up a new world in front of us which may give us ideas. It’s not about copying the writer’s phrases or manipulating them, it’s about opening your mind to new ideas and usualness.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. Simple as that.”

~Stephen King in On Writing

  • Using Writing prompts

Using prompts can open you to alternate ideas as well. Use prompts to determine your interest and to get original ideas. God has gifted us with ingenuity and everybody has it’s own way of analyzing different things.

  • Specify time and place

Everybody has a productive hour or day in a day as well as a place where minds work well. Schedule to have your way in that time and place after determining which time and place works best for you. That time will get you started!

  • Giving yourself deadlines

Deadlines are what ask us to do work in time. Run the clock by working in time. If you fail on ist deadline try another!

I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rules.”

~Herman Wouk

  • History

Historic books and experiences can work as a great prompt. For example, many of the books use facts related to the influenza virus days. The records and facts can sometimes be the best option.

  • Emotions

Sentiments and enthusiasms have a role in mental activities. Different sentiments leave us with different experiences. Being vigilant and manipulating emotions for ideas can be a good option.

  • Relationships

Each relation has its way of making difference in our life. Even a small baby of few months gives us tons of suggestions. It’s again about being watchful.

  • The world you’d like to live in.

Most importantly, writers write because they need a new world just like readers. Analyzing what you’d love to have in your life and what you’d be like in the new world will bring out original ideas.

So, almost everything around us is asking for attention and a vigilant eye, it’s the best way to get ideas. Gone are the days when only a few people could write well. The more you observe and note, the better ideas you’d have. Happy Writing!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Fiza Ameen

A nyctophile, truth-seeker gravitating towards human nature| Writing is my way of unlearning the patterns.