82 Things to Write About: Exploring Creative Inspiration
Maybe you’re feeling mentally or physically exhausted, or perhaps you’re just not feeling all that inspired. It could be that you have lots of ideas but lack focus. Whatever the case, when colliding with a case of writer’s block, it can be tough to eke out some creative inspiration for what to write about.
Read on to find 82 things to write about with suggestions for getting your ideas out of your mind and onto the page.
How do I find inspiration for what to write about?
Before we sit down to write, however, it’s essential to find some writing inspiration. Here are some suggestions for getting your ideas flowing:
- Reflect on a childhood memory. What event, place, visual image, smell, or past conversation conjures up a powerful memory? Where were you at the time, and who were you with? What do you remember hearing, seeing, and feeling?
- Re-read a favorite book. What is it specifically about the narrative that grabs and holds your attention? What personal connection do you have to the story told? What else about the writing impresses or impacts you?
- Peruse social media for ideas. Is there a particular tweet that stands out to you on your Twitter feed? What is your local Reddit community talking about? What unfolding local drama is happening on Next Door? What are your Facebook friends posting?
- Review a past journal entry. What was happening at the time, and why was it important enough for you to write about it at the time? What emotions come up for you as you read, and how might you use these as a springboard for writing?
- Check out online writing prompts for topics to write about.
Once you have explored some writing inspiration resources, here are some things to write about suggestions for getting your ideas out of your mind and onto the page.
How to craft personal passions into actionable blog posts
Whether you have a blog and haven’t posted in a while or are seeking out an opportunity to contribute to someone else’s, here are some ideas to get you to that polished post! Select a topic that interests you – it will provide you with enough stamina to start and finish your article, and you’ll probably also learn some fun new facts along the way. Additionally, your enthusiasm can hook readers who will want to hear what you have to say.
- Determine your topic focus by doing a quick brainstorm. What topic drives your passion? What expertise do you have that might be valuable to others?
- Hook your reader with a catchy introduction that grabs their attention. You could start with a compelling question, quote, statistic, or interesting fact as a way to draw your reader into what you have to say.
- Create a basic outline as a way to plan before you write. That will help you organize your ideas and save time.
- Determine your audience. Who are you writing for? What will your readers want to know about, and what might resonate most with them?
- Do your research. What do you already know about your topic? What additional information might help round out your foundational knowledge and grab readers’ attention? While the internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips, it’s also important to vet your potential sources for quality, accurate information.
- Draft your article. If you can’t quite find your writing flow, challenge yourself to free-write until you find your writing rhythm. Remember, you can always edit later.
- Once finished, take a break and then return to your blog post with fresh eyes for a round of revising and editing. It’s also helpful to find someone with strong writing and grammar skills who can review your blog post to provide additional editing and proofreading suggestions, or you can use an online program like Grammarly or Scribens.
Quick ideas for things to write about for blog posts
- Favorite local hangout spots
- Life regrets
- Your fears and how you tackled them
- Travel experiences and the impact they had on your life
- Your goals and how you plan to achieve/have achieved them
- Something you are an expert on and insight/advice you can share
- An interview with someone
- A guide or how-to tutorial
- A what if, then post
- A question-and-answer post
Incorporate senses and structure for short stories
A fictional short story can vary in length. More traditional stories range from about 1,500 to 5,000 words, while shorter flash fiction and micro fiction range from five to about 1,000 words. Free-writing, journaling, and reflecting on childhood memories are all effective ways to uncover a story topic. Another strategy is to take a small notebook or audio recorder with you and closely notice the world around you while engaging your senses. When on a walk around your neighborhood, what do you see, hear, and smell? When you eat a specific food, focus on the flavors. Do they remind you of past experiences? How might you describe the flavors if you were to write about them? When interacting with everyday objects, what do you notice about their textures? These exercises might help you find additional short story inspiration.
- Spend some time quickly drafting your ideas as you think through story focus, plot, characters, setting, time, and place. Perhaps spend some more time jotting down observations of things that grab your attention – a captivating snippet of conversation or a colorful or creative outfit someone is wearing.
- Build your characters. What are their habits and quirks? Strengths and weaknesses? Ages, gender, physical characteristics? Write a character sketch that incorporates answers to these questions and their backstory, how they interact with and impact others, their motivations are, and how they have changed over time.
- Come up with a basic story structure that places your main character into an immediate, compelling life scenario, provides quick context for actions your character takes, challenges faced, and eventual steps the character takes to resolve the situation.
Short story writing topic ideas
- A deep fear that is holding your main character back from moving forward/achieving something
- End of a relationship
- Losing a loved one
- A life goal or journey interrupted
- A life-altering experience that causes the main character to re-examine his/her/their life
- A dramatic family secret
- Pursuing a life dream
- Supernatural experience
- A near-death experience
- Unexpected fortune
Free-write to discover your inner muse
Free-writing, developed by Peter Elbow in the 1970s, steps beyond traditional brainstorming lists to put pen to paper and write sentences and paragraphs without stopping. Elbow suggests free-writing for a few minutes, selecting a word or idea from the text, and using that word or idea for a new free-write that extends for several minutes. This process can get repeated as a strategy for focusing on and refining a writing topic.
- Brainstorm potential ideas and topics ahead of time to provide a more focused starting point for your free-write experience.
- Time yourself as you write. Adhering to a specific time frame might help you get started with putting words on the page rather than staring at a blank page or screen.
- Write, even if you find yourself repeating ideas. If you have no topics, take a quick look around you and write about what you see. Perhaps it’s the variation of paint colors in a room, the way the curtains blow softly in the afternoon breeze through your window, or the barking of your neighbor’s dog.
As Elbow recommends, repeat the process as a way to extend and refine your ideas.
Free-writing big ideas
- Where you see yourself five years from now
- What you see outside your window
- A time you failed and what you learned from it
- Write a letter to your younger self
- Your first job
- A childhood memory
- A favorite song
- something you are struggling with
- Someone who inspires you
- What makes you laugh out loud
Make your book vision a reality
Always wanted to write a book but don’t know where to start? There are various ways to engage in writing a book, from crafting a meticulous outline to jumping in and free-writing your way through a story. Before you begin, reflect on what type of book you want to write. Will it be fiction or nonfiction? What particular genre interests you – fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, thriller, memoir, a how-to guide?
- Do some prewriting to examine what you are writing and why sharing your story matters. Articulating the what and why will help you construct a basic foundational story frame.
- Draft an outline to organize thoughts, characters, ideas, and chapters.
- Immerse yourself in research. What do you need to know to successfully tell your story? And, your research may look different depending on what type of book you are writing. A fictional novel may involve delving into people, events, and/or places to extract elements to incorporate into your story. A nonfiction piece may necessitate cultural, academic, scientific, or historical research. You may want or need to conduct in-person interviews or engage in experiential fieldwork related to your topic.
- Write your first draft! Find and stick to a writing routine that works for you. Maybe it’s setting aside an hour a day to write, or perhaps it’s participating in a monthly book-writing challenge such as NaNoWriMo. Take the pressure off by allowing yourself the freedom to write something raw and unpolished, knowing that you will revise and refine it later.
- Take some time away from your writing so you can return to it again with fresh eyes and a more detached perspective.
- Review your first draft with an eye to pacing, structure, flow, language, and tone. Make adaptations and fill in gaps where needed. Set individual and specific revision goals so that you can focus on one issue at a time rather than attempt to address the writing all at once as a whole.
- Solicit feedback from a friend, colleague, family member, or professional editor and determine whether you need to write a third draft.
- Proofread and make grammatical corrections after you’ve tackled your final draft so you can make necessary changes.
Book topic/theme ideas
- Dealing with loss
- Overcoming adversity
- Words or actions that inspire hope
- A major life event
- Coming of age
- Power and corruption
- Courage and heroism
Last Updated October 2020
Proven methods to unleash your creativity and brainstorm bestselling, high concept book and movie ideas | By Jessica Brody, Writing MasteryExplore Course
Discover rich story content through interviews with family members
Interviewing a family member opens up a unique opportunity to spend time with a loved one while learning about them. Maybe you’re interested in learning more about your family history or finding a way to connect through dialogue. Whatever the reason, you can use these strategies to frame the conversation as well as your post-interview writing focus:
- Start with broader warm-up questions that are easier-to-answer that may also help your family member feel more comfortable in an interview setting.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage sharing, deeper thinking, and reflection.
- Focus on gathering family stories
- Use memory triggers, such as photo albums, letters, or home videos that capture particular moments in time and provide a visual window to past events.
- Consider audio or video recording your interview session so that you can focus on the conversation and have an accurate record of your family member’s recollections.
- Prepare your questions ahead of time. What are the most important questions you’d like to ask and why?
Some potential questions you might ask for writing about a family member:
- What is your earliest childhood memory?
- What world events impacted you and your family as a child?
- What stories have gotten passed down through your family about parents, grandparents, other relatives?
- What has been your proudest moment?
- Of everything you learned from your parents, what was the most valuable and why?
- What accomplishments have impacted you the most?
- How did you decide on your career path?
- What advice would you give to future generations of our family?
- What are some hard life decisions you have had to make?
- What is the most incredible thing that has happened to you?
Now that you have some creative inspiration and ideas for what to write about, it’s time to dive in and get writing!
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