Maybe this scenario sounds a bit familiar; you have finally managed to make some time in your schedule to write, but once you actually sit down in front of your computer, what happens? Nothing. The blank page is staring you right in the face, and you just feel totally uninspired. Not a single idea pops into your head, and before you know it, several hours have already passed, and you have barely written anything, and what you have written doesn’t even sound good.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Getting started and planting that first idea seed is difficult for everyone, especially when you’re eager to just get to the finished product already. Good ideas are hard to come up with, and it can be difficult to start if you don’t have any ideas that really rev you up and inspire you to write. If you have this problem, you’ve come to the right place. Here are three tips that will help you start generating ideas, so that the next time you sit down to write, you will actually be able to write, and won't have to spend the whole day figuring out what your story should be about.
1. Get inspired
Even Shakespeare didn’t come up with his ideas out of the blue; he borrowed heavily from existing stories and real historical events. If you want to get ideas and inspiration, there’s no better thing to do than to try and read as much as possible in the genre you want to write in. Not only will this get you inspired, but it also helps you figure out how you can best approach your target audience. Just remember that while it’s okay to be influenced by other writers, plagiarizing or copying is never a good idea, and it will get you in all kinds of trouble. Reading what others have written is a great tool for helping you find out what kind of writing you like to read and want to write, but your goal should always be too keep working at finding your own unique voice and style.
2. Get out there
Maybe you've heard the saying “write what you know”, and it’s actually great writing advice. You have to believe in what you’re writing, and know your stuff, otherwise readers will not believe it, and you’ll come off as fake and maybe even dumb if you pretend to write about a topic you know nothing about. If you haven’t had any experiences in life, how are you supposed to be able to write about anything? Without exception, all writers draw from their own lives when they write. There's a stereotypical image of a writer who sits curled up in their office all day; a hermit who only cares about their work and spends every waking hour in front of their dusty vintage typewriter. However, I think we can all agree on that a dull bedroom wall is not a very inspiring view. If you instead go out, live life, meet people, and go places, inspiration is bound to come to you, often before you even know it.
3. Write down all your ideas
Ideas can come to you literally everywhere and at any time. Make a habit of carrying a notebook around everywhere, or use a notes app on your phone, and just start scribbling down ideas. Whether they are good or bad, intricate developed concepts with mind maps and outlines, or just a cool line you come up with while grocery shopping that would make an awesome opening sentence – write them all down. That way, you can always go back to them later when you have the time and review them. Some ideas might be discarded, some might develop into great stories, and you might even find that you can merge some ideas together to make an even better one. Keeping everything in your head is not a very efficient way to be able to remember them later. Write them down instead, and soon you’ll have a great, vast idea bank with topics just waiting to be expanded on, and when you sit down to write, you can just flip through it and pick and choose which idea you want to start expanding on.
These were my tips for getting ideas for writing, and I hope they have been of help to you. Just remember that once you have your idea, you have to be prepared to put in the work needed to actually follow through and make something out of that idea. Your idea doesn’t have to be outrageously splendid or groundbreaking, but what’s important is that it is an idea you’re passionate about, and that it’s a story you want to tell. What you want to write about, though, is entirely up to you.