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How To Find New Ideas

August 16th, 2019

First, thanks to Peter for last week’s post. I hope he is enjoying his Art Of Writing Poetry Course and finding it inspirational.

Many people struggle finding new ideas to write about. Well, first and foremost, it’s good to realise that nothing is really new. No matter what idea you come up with, someone else will have already thought of it, or something very much like it. That’s just life. So, it’s not always about finding new ideas, it’s about making an old idea fresh – finding a new angle.

But before we get to that point, you need an idea to work with. So, here are ten ways to give your imagination a creative kick! 

  1. Listen to music. Song lyrics and titles can be a great source of ideas. You can either listen to the song or go online and use song lyric websites for inspiration. And, if you enjoy listening to music while you write, you can combine work and pleasure.
  2. Travel is great for broadening the mind. And it doesn’t have to be some expensive, overseas destination either. A day out at the seaside or a trip to a local beauty spot can be just as inspiring. Sometimes a simple change from your daily routine can boost your creativity.
  3. Eaves Drop. Yes, we all know that it’s usually considered rude to listen in on other peoples’ conversations, but things are different now. People often discuss their private business quite loudly in public, especially on mobile phones. All you need to do is listen and remember any interesting bits of the conversation till you can jot them down.
  4. Watch TV. You may think watching TV is a waste of time, but it can be useful. And don’t forget the multitude of programmes and films online – the variety on You Tube never ceases to amaze. Be careful not to pinch plots and storylines but there’s nothing stopping you from taking basic ideas and giving them a new twist.
  5. Read. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many budding writers don’t read. It doesn’t matter what you read – newspapers, novels, non-fiction books or magazines – they all have potential to supply you with inspiration. (And at the same time you’ll be sampling different styles.)
  6. Browse the internet – you’ll be amazed at what you find. But it’s wise to put a limit on this kind of searching or you could find yourself with no time left to write.
  7. People watch. Look at how they are dressed, watch what they are doing, see if they are displaying any unusual body language and watch how they react to other people. Put two and two together and make five! You might not get a full plot out of it, but you could get some great descriptions for your characters.
  8. Day dream. This is another of those things we’re told is a waste of time. But, allowing yourself some personal time to let your mind wander can be a great way to boost your creativity. Some of the greatest writers, including Wordsworth, were prone to day dreaming.
  9. Talk to people – but make sure you’re really listening to their answers. Use social media, too, though the same warning applies as in point 6.
  10. Network. Being amongst other people, bouncing ideas around, can help enormously with creativity. You could join a writers’ group (or a reading group if the former makes you feel nervous), you could visit writers’ conferences, literary events or book yourself on a writing retreat. Even if it doesn’t bring immediate results it will, hopefully, make you feel less isolated as a writer and inspire you to continue.

And don’t forget… when you have a good idea note it down immediately or you risk losing it.

Many writers can’t wait to be successful enough to give up their day job, but my guest next week, Amber Phillips, looks at how your ‘day job’ can have a positive influence on your writing.

Author: Diana Nadin


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