In Search of Inspiration and New Ideas

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

It’s been a few years since I blogged about where to get inspiration for your writing. One suggestion I gave for engaging readers back then was to relate to current events and the cultural issues they illicit. But times have changed and maybe that isn’t such a good idea in the current climate. So then, where does a writer go to find inspiration and gather ideas?

I know I’m not alone in my desire for relief from the chaos in the world and here at home. Writers have the privilege to deliver uplifting antidotes.

Find inspiration in these wise directions:


“…whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).


Generate ideas from sources such as these:


Read a book by an author you haven’t read before.

Pay attention to the subtle differences between the authors’ use of words and descriptions to spark fresh ideas. Nonfiction writers, read current books on your general topic to brainstorm an angle not used before.

People-Watch, especially in places where your target readers gather.

Jot down specific observations in your notebook. Does someone strike you as a potentially interesting character? Note mannerisms, facial expressions, speech, movement and stride, and any unique characteristics. This matching is important because agents and editors can spot traits that aren’t in sync with the character as you develop him or her.


Step away from your writing desk and do something physical to muster those endorphins. Take a little voice recorder or writing tablet with you and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Observe. Listen. Smell. Record everything that hits your senses; don’t trust your memory. Refer to your notes when you’re setting a scene to help readers feel like they are right there with the action.

Plan regular time for searching.Ideas

The seasons affect each of us differently. Have you noticed a pattern in the seasons you seem to be the most creative? It’s logical to assume that spring’s burst of new life or autumn’s harvest are the most productive seasons for creative writing. But looking back at your own personal experience, maybe that isn’t true for you. Maybe the abundance of sunshine in the summer is your sweetest writing season, or the quiet dormancy of winter works for you. Capitalize on your most productive season by blocking off ‘retreat’ days to search for inspiration and new ideas.

It’s nearly impossible to sustain creativity in a vacuum. So get out there and turn your five senses loose to absorb input and spawn ideas. Use them to make your story come alive with inspiring characters that readers will appreciate and want to emulate.

What works for you to stimulate ideas? Where do you go for inspiration? What do you do to get beyond staring at a blank page?


Writers, are you stuck searching for inspiration and new ideas? Here are a few suggestions. Click to Tweet.