Wordy Wednesday: How to Come Up with Ideas

Before anything else: the Chapter One Young Writers Conference announced our 2015 blog tour today! It’s going to be so awesome, with lots of interviews, giveaways, and insider conference information. Check out the schedule on the Ch1Con site here.

Anyway: I’ve been sitting here (“here” being a lounge in my sophomore year dorm) for over an hour now, trying to figure out what to write about this week. (Also avoiding walking home from class, because my right shoe kind of attacked my foot on the way over here, which means I’m now semi-stranded a mile from my apartment.)

This is one of the worst parts of writing, for me. Finding something to say.

It’s stupid, because when I don’t have time to write, or am already writing something, I suddenly have a thousand ideas. But as soon as I need to write? Nada.

I always do end up coming up with something, though. And that’s something to talk about. So, this week’s Wordy Wednesday writing process post is on how to come up with ideas to write about.

Write Down Your Ideas

This should be the most obvious one on the list: When you have ideas, write them down. Save them for when you don’t have ideas. Even if you don’t end up using exactly what you’ve put down, if an old idea can help inspire a new one, you’re gold.

Write Down Fragments

I have random lines and phrases written ALL OVER THE PLACE. Mostly in my planner and on the notepad app on my phone. Whenever I’m struggling to come up with something, I glance through those. I try to build a story around one or combine a couple to create a character of scenario. More than writing down ideas, I write down fragments, and build from these.

Pay Attention

Another great place to go to for story ideas: your classes/work. I take a lot of literature classes, which obviously help with writing, but I’ve actually found it’s my other classes that inspire me the most. Especially my science courses. There are just so many good story ideas lurking in preexisting facts and ideas. (Bonus: I’ve found that thinking of class as research towards writing something later helps me pay attention.)

Live

Easiest way to come up with ideas: live your life. Don’t sit at home all day, staring at a blank Word document, hoping for something to hit you. Go out and do things. Go to the coffee shop. Go on an adventure.

Chances are, an idea will hit you at precisely the moment you stop thinking about needing to come up with an idea.

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What are some of your tips for coming up with ideas?

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

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