Category: Advice for New Writers

Where do you find your writing ideas?

No matter what you write about, at some point you’ve probably been asked by someone, “Where do you find your writing ideas?”

I’ve read and heard interviews with best-selling authors who generally have a great gag line they whip out to respond. Some suggest they buy their ideas from sources they can’t disclose. Others say they routinely harvest ideas from the idea bushes in their backyards.

I was asked that unexpectedly by my son (he was 6 or 7 years old at the time). His question was something like, “Why did you use those words?” My response was a quick, witty, “Huh?” Something like that. I honestly never thought about why I used “those words” in the writing he saw me doing instead of “some other” words.

But back to the point of this rambling. Where do you find ideas for your writing? Whether you’re a copywriter doing something about a revolutionary (?) new acne treatment or a poet digging deeply into your soul, or a cheesy blogger like me — where DO you get ideas? Does the idea fairy visit you regularly and replenish the juicy stuff between your ears with exciting, heart stopping best-sellers? Do you flip through magazines and newspapers for thought provoking story ideas?

I did read a question exactly like this about blogging on a forum I frequent. The person honestly wanted to know how bloggers could possibly find something fresh and interesting to post about on a daily (or more often) basis.

Here’s a technique I often use for finding ideas when I need to write an article or a blog post. I go to somewhere like, Wikipedia, or even, and write down on paper (yeah, really “low-tech” stuff) the top “sellers” or most frequently searched/read terms as in the case of Wikipedia’s home page has all sorts of new, trendy, current, trivia stuff that often gets what’s left of my creative juices flowing.

If nothing else works, I fall back on the old fundamental “automatic writing” exercise: Set your watch or clock where you can see it, or set it as a countdown timer, and force yourself to take a blank computer screen and simply type/ramble through anything that comes into your mind for a set period, say 2-3 minutes, without taking your fingers off the keyboard. I guarantee you’ll come up with SOMETHING to write about. It might be off the wall odd, or something entirely different than you were seeking — but you’ll find something to write about.

If that doesn’t work, well, then try some of the ideas bloggers/writers reading this are going to leave for us in comments.

You are going to leave a comment and tell us where YOU get your writing ideas aren’t you?

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