10 Ways to Get Ideas for Writing a Book

ideas for writing a book

You’re in a bookstore and smile proudly as you pick your book off the shelf…

Eek! The pages are blank!

Phew! Just a nightmare.


But the reality is you know you have a book inside of you…somewhere. And you’re dying to find it!

Read on to learn how to find ideas and inspiration for your next (or first!) book.

    • Take a hard look at your job or career: You’ve spent enough years at your job or career to know more about it than the average person so this means you already have tons of “research” done for your book already. However, don’t think that reference manuals or how-to books are the online kind you could get our of your job experience.Take notes of daily interactions between colleagues, with bosses, clients. These notes can be the base for great characters in your book or maybe be the inspiration for a great story altogether.
    • How’s school? If you’re still in school you will have book ideas springing all around you. A teacher that inspires students, a classmate that overcomes a learning disability and goes on to excel in class, a romance between the gym teacher and the head of cafeteria…
    • What’s your zip code? If you know enough about where you live and would like to tell others about it then you’re in a great place…to write a book, that is. This knowledge can offer very precious details for foreigners wanting to visit. You can offer reviews of local attractions, events, places to eat, what to where, what the local culture is like, and so much more.
    • Your personal story. People are in love with memoirs. They offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with someone they otherwise would not personally know and hear about their personal battles and triumphs. If you have lived a life a bit out of the ordinary -or you have story-telling skills that are, in themselves, out of the ordinary – then you might just have a story people will want to hear.

    • What do you love? Write about THAT. Take a look at what you love to do with your spare time. What are your hobbies, your interests, what sort of books do you like to read. If you write about something you love then words will flow more easily, your book will be more fun to write and you will keep committed even when the inevitable writer’s block strikes. Plus, passion seeps through your words and is absorbed by your readers keeping them glued to your pages.
    • Take notes every day. If you keep a journal and record things that come up from your everyday life you may discover, weeks later, a story idea that you had overlooked when you first wrote about it. Even doodling or random drawings could be the inspiration for a “secret code” in your next thriller or the base for the fantasy creature that comes to save the world in your science-fiction novel.
    • Write what you DON’T know…but want to know. It’s true that in most cases writing what you know is probably the most logical way to go for writing a book. However, if you have always wanted to know how to remodel your own home, for example, then you can set that up as your personal project and write about your experiences and what you learned along the way. The same with learning how to dance, to cook, to live in a certain place, to learn a specific skill. If it is something you feel passionate about, that love for the subject will make you a better researcher and also a better writer for that particular subject.
    • What do you think? Some people are very opinionated. That might be a problem at family gathering but can be a great trait for a writer. If you have a flair for stating your personal views on an array of subjects in an original way you can publish a collection of personal essays.
    • Writing prompts. A Writing Prompt is something that will spark your imagination and get you – hopefully – to write. It can be a phrase or a description of a setting that opens your mind to other story line possibilities. Need a bit of inspiration? Look for writing prompts on the Internet and you will never run out of story ideas again.
    • Give ’em what they want. You can also look at current trends to see what kind of subjects are people most drawn to and write about that. Be careful, though, if you write about a subject you don’t particularly care for and your heart is not in it, your writing will show it.

Useful resources:

Writer’s Digest – Creative Writing Prompts

Writing and Keeping Journals

Filed in: Planning Your Book

4 Responses to “10 Ways to Get Ideas for Writing a Book”

  1. Jimmy
    November 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    This list is definitely inspiring. I think we all think we have to dream up the next big storyline but actually if we look around us our family, friends and acquaintances are living great stories everyday!! We just have to harness those experiences and tell them in an interesting way.

    • Melissa Contreras
      November 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      You’ve got it Jimmy! 😉

      There are great stories all around us. They can be obvious ones that inspire biographies and non-fiction stories, but also things that spark our imagination for wonderful poems, novels and short stories.
      Keep all your senses open and carry that notebook with you always for when the muse pays you a visit!

  2. Tracey - Life Changing Year
    November 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Oh dear. I’m in big trouble. I’ve started two books at once and kinda stopped on both as life has gotten in the way! And now I’ve discovered YOUR site! If I spend the next week reading every single post how will I find time to keep writing? lol. Thanks for all this great information. I’m certainly glad you didn’t keep this site inside you!

    • Melissa Contreras
      November 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Lol! Don’t quit now Tracey! Remember, writing takes a LOT of discipline. You must commit to writing at least a page a day no matter what. Even if you don’t feel like it.

      And, between breaks, you can come to my site and check out what’s new! 😉

      Best of luck! Keep coming back!

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