Post: Inspiration for stories—where can you find it?


Some writers are gifted with imaginations that are almost always in overdrive. There is never a shortage of ideas for new characters and plots in their minds. Most writers, however, need some inspiration for stories, once in a while. They need something to ignite the initial spark, which starts that gentle glimmer, like a warm fire, burning in their minds, that will take form as words to fill the pages of a book. 

If you’re new to writing, you might wonder where the best places are to find inspiration for stories. This post has several ideas to offer. Each idea is unique from the others, and might inspire you to write different kinds of stories. 

Spend an afternoon with an elderly person as inspiration for stories

The older people in our society have lived full lives. They gone places and have seen and met many types of people. Most elderly people have known hardship in life. In fact, many have lived through numerous wars, economic strife and natural disasters. If you spend a day listening to an elderly person as he or she recollects different eras of life, you will no doubt be inspired to write a story.

Find inspiration for stories in a place you have never gone before

When your goal is to find inspiration for stories, one of the best things you can do is take a day or weekend — or longer, to visit a place that is new to you. Try to choose a location that is quite different from any place you have ever been. Your senses will be inundated with new faces, aromas, landscapes and experiences. It’s bound to strike up and idea or two, or three, that you can turn into your next book. 

Choose a genre, then match an activity to it

Decide what type of story you want to write, then find activities that align with the idea, which might spur some inspiration for new stories. For example, if you want to write a mystery story, consider going to a murder mystery theater or a few movies that feature mysterious plots. If you want to write a historical fiction novel, visit some national landmarks, and learn as much as you can about the era that interests you. 

Keep your eyes and ears open in everyday life

Sometimes, the greatest inspiration you can find for your stories is the real-life tales that are unfolding all around you, every day. At work or at home, as well as while you are socializing with friends or watching a ball game. Any everyday life experience can hold inspiration for stories. Listen, look, smell, taste and feel—use your senses in an intentional way. 

Try to view everyone and everything around you as though for the first time. That faucet that drips in your kitchen sink? Really listen to it, and let your mind wander to the stories it has to tell. Children laughing, a couple talking or bickering, even. Remember that sometimes the masterpiece is wrapped up in the fabric of everyday life.