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What Can I Write About?

April 27th, 2012

Emily Blog PicSomething all of our students seem to struggle with at some stage in their course is finding an idea for something worth writing about. It’s one of the questions I must get asked at least ten times a day, and as a fledgling writer myself I can completely sympathise.

Getting Good Writing Ideas

Once the idea is in place, I tend to find that the actual writing part comes fairly easily. The only problem is that finding inspiration can sometimes seem next to impossible when you also have to stretch your time between work and family life.

Over the last few months I’ve often had to force myself to sit down and write something, just to exercise that part of my brain and keep it going. I thought it might be helpful to a few of you if I shared just a few of the tips, tricks and games I use to get the ideas flowing when I’m drawing a blank.

1. Read Something: Read anything. I can’t stress how important it is to keep reading as much as you write, more if it’s possible. Most major magazines and newspapers now also have websites which are free to read so this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Find something that interests you, research it and write an article to offer your opinion. Or find something that you disagree with; the angrier it makes you – the better! Argue against it and exercise your persuasive writing skills.

2. Don’t Suffer in Silence: I’ve never been able to write without music. For me, the idea of a silent room is enough to drive me insane and I’ll soon give up unless I have something to listen to. Try setting your music player to “shuffle” and listen to the first song that plays. What kind of character might be listening to that piece? How are they feeling? Why do they like or dislike this particular song? Write about your new character for a few minutes without stopping to edit yourself.

3. Challenge yourself: Or ask a friend to set you a challenge. Use a random word generator or ask a friend to pick a few words for you. Make a list of five or six of the ones you find most interesting. Try to write a story using as many of these words as possible. Even if only one of them inspires you, you have an idea!

4. Keep Everything: Even the little scribbled notes that make you cringe to look at a few days later. Keep a notebook or a folder with any ideas that don’t go anywhere – you might find that one day you have a use for them!

Emily Ashton has a degree in Creative Writing and English Language from Lancaster University. She is one of our friendly Student Services team and advises students on their choice of course, how to complete assignments – in fact, anything related to the courses offered by the Writers Bureau. Emily can be contacted using studentservices1@writersbureau.com

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