Here are some things to do when you’re stuck for inspiration. I know I’ve addressed this topic before–so these are mostly different ideas.

Wikipedia, of course. Spend some time wandering around on that vast plain of knowledge and you’ll find your head is stuffed with ideas.

Read the news. Connie Willis maintains that there are more story ideas in a single newspaper than in any writer’s head.

Read bad fiction. There’s no motivation quite like “I can do better than this!”

Talk to people. It’s embarrassing to start, but it gets easier with practice. You can say, “I’m a writer. Want to tell me your story?” As long as you don’t hint that they may end up the villain, many people will be delighted to tell you about their lives. No life is wholly boring.

Daydream randomly. Many good ideas come at the edge of sleep, or when you’re staring at nothing. When you’re free of the inhibition of story-shape, of making it coherent, images and ideas can come in a flow that might just have something useful buried under its surface.

Observe. Look closely and carefully at the world around you. Sit in a mall and watch people go by (not recommended on the last weekend before Christmas) and from their expressions, clothing, conversations, social configurations, tell yourself their stories. Whether accurate or not, what you come up with may inspire you.

Stories are all around us. The harvest is up to you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. leafless
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 13:51:54

    I came up with a lot of good ideas while taking showers. It sounds very strange, but it works well for me.

  2. asherose
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 19:39:02

    Yes, this is true! It’s funny how many great ideas come to you when you’ve no way to record them…

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