Surprising Inspiration, or, where I get ideas from

It’s not always easy finding ideas and sometimes we all get writers block, but there are ways to get through it. You have to dig around and find the ideas malingering in your mind. But where?

When I get really desperate for ideas I try a few things, and these are some of them

  • The Name Game – Go throught the alphabet, two letters at a time, and invent names e.g. Annabelle Buttler, Charles Day, then mess the names around and try to see if they spark something off
  • Something similar is to write a list of occupations in one column and then an list of hobbies in another column. Cut them up and pick out one from each, e.g. guitar playing, pharmacist or skiing, cook, and see what can be made from them. Combining this with the name game gives you a couple of characters, jobs and hobbies, and you have a start.
  • Facebook is another place to look. Try having a scan down your friends status updates. People are very frank on Facebook, and can sometimes write very odd stuff. Your friends random comments can give you a great jumping off point for an article or story.
  • Short story competitions – look through back issues of writing magazines or on the internet, some have themed competitions for stories and poetry. Take the theme and write, even if you have no interest whatsoever in entering the competition. Last year I found such a competition and wrote a piece, it took me so long, since at the time I didn’t have a computer and had to type the competition entry up at the library, that I missed the deadline entirely. I’ll probably go over it at some point and either enter it for another competition or possibly post it on here.
  • Similarly, go through any old stories/articles and try to look at them from a different angle – play ‘what if’.
  • Paintings, prints and photographs. These capture moment in time -how, why, what, where, when.

Thats a few of my ideas, probably you’ll have your own stratagies, but i hope these help.


Written following a conversation with one of my friends who is currently struggling with writers block – inspiration from and for Ellie. Good luck, chuck.

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