There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down in front of your laptop or notebook, ready to write, and having nothing to say. It’s a feeling most people can relate to, and that can (most of the time) be easily fixed.
One of the best ways I have found to cure the issue of writer’s block is to break down all the elements of my story. These are plot, character, conflict, theme, and setting. If you can’t come up with an idea for a story, hone in on one element or create a random mixture of a few and just see where it goes.
Probably the most common way to do this is the internet, but that’s not always the most fun or original approach. I like to find my inspiration in everything around me, and it’s amazing how places you visit every day can become major sources of inspiration just by changing your perspective.
1. Public Transportation
It’s crazy how many ideas I’ve picked up from riding the trolley. Public transportation is full of different types of people, and watching them can inspire characters with more depth. Overheard conversation can turn into story starters and anything you see along the way could be your setting. Be creative and let your imagination turn these situations into stories, the possibilities are endless!
Peoplewatching (from a distance!! please don’t follow people around), is one of the best ways I’ve found to develop characters. Similar to what you might do on public transportation, take note of the people around you and pay attention to the little things about them that make them stand out to you (streaks in their hair, interesting tattoos, clothing choices, mannerisms) and write them down. Another exercise I like to do with this is to pick a person and try to guess as many details about their life as possible, which can lead to the making of a great character with little effort.
Inspiration can even come from the people you talk to every day. Noticing little things about you conversations can help you to create more realistic dialogue, and a topic you’re discussing could spark a story idea. It’s all about paying attention and noticing things that we let slip by us every day.
It may sound cliché, but to be a good writer it’s important to be a good reader first. That’s not to say you should copy ideas from your favorite books, but reading new stories will get you thinking and expose you to the ways other writers go about crafting their stories. Write down things you like, such as how well the character development was pulled off and how they did it, or other things that stand out to you and seem to tie the story together.
5. Get Out of Your House!
Finally, some of the best ideas you’ll find are the ones you get when you get outside and start living. It’s amazing the things you can discover when you go for a hike or even just hang out with your friends late at night; take note of the things that make little moments special and think about how you can articulate that feeling into your writing.
I wish you all the best of luck on your projects, and I hope you find some inspiration on this list!