Real Life can Inspire New Ideas

How art imitates—or inspires—your next big story

Over the last few weeks, I’ve explored how writers get ideas for their stories.

I tackled why that’s such a daunting question for some writers. Then, we explored various ways writers (or any kind of storyteller) can harvest new ideas. I even provided a few practical tips and tactics you can use to make sure you never miss a moment of brilliance.

Where can you get ideas for writing? Everywhere!

The biggest hurdle I see from newbie writers is that their idea for a story just isn’t original. “But it’s been done before!” is their common refrain. My friend, yes, it’s been done before. But not by you. If you want to write and finish a story others will hopefully enjoy, you have to let go of that fear.

Because, honestly, it’s just an excuse not to take the plunge.

Once you get over that, you have an entire world to explore for ideas. Even then, it might be hard.

Let’s start with what we know best: what’s really happening around us.

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Where Do Writers Get Ideas?

Part 1: The Dreaded Question & Where to Start

Where do writers get their ideas?

People who don’t write often ask this question: where do you get your ideas?

It’s true that, when you look at a finished product, a story appears like magic. This strange person mysteriously came up with out-of-this-world idea that you would have never thought of. Obviously, writers have some kind of special power that allows them to conjure up endless ideas for their stories.

But that’s not really what happens.

Like all forms of art and creativity, writers write because they love it. Or they should—there are always periods of burnout. What inspires me to write is my love of story and the incredible notion that I too can do what people like Tolkien, Gaiman, and Clarke do.

I, personally, think writers don’t like the question, “Where do you get your ideas,” because that’s so far and away the last thing we even worry about. We already have the ideas percolating in our heads. The real challenge is, you know, actually writing them out.

Writers work so hard trying to take their ideas, put them on paper, and have them come out in a form that’s not only understandable, but at the same time relatable and unique, and entertaining. It’s not an easy task. So, when someone asks us the dreaded question, it’s almost insulting.

Because an idea is literally just the beginning of the journey.

Continue reading “Where Do Writers Get Ideas?”