How to Trap the Ideas You Don't Realize You Have

Are you the kind of writer that struggles for every measly idea? Do you wonder what you're doing wrong when other writers share that they can hardly keep up with the multitude of ideas that strike them daily? You can be one of those writers. Because ideas are a lot closer than you think.

In fact they're often right in front of you.

Ideas in Unexpected Places

I used to think I was the kind of person who just didn't get ideas. I was unoriginal, not made for creating. I would literally sit at my computer, my fingers frozen to the keyboard. I couldn't make myself type a single word. After thirty minutes or so of that self-torture, I would give up and close the laptop.

I wasn't meant to write.

Meanwhile, throughout the day, I couldn't focus on what I was doing. I would constantly daydream about anything and everything.

From the skinny lady I saw pushing her grocery cart past me (boom, she was a hermit who had been left at the alter after her husband-to-be ran off with her only friend) to the guy who was paying for his gas (bam, he was a serial killer who had gotten away with hundreds of murders and had a woman in his trunk right now),

I was always looking at people and making up stories about them. Still do.

I'd also imagine a better life for myself. If I was doing chores, I was suddenly a shapeshifter dedicated to anonymously saving others' lives. If I was home alone, there was someone behind my shower curtain, waiting to kill me. Okay, so having such an overactive imagination isn't always great.

The point is that I didn't realize just how many ideas I was generating every single day. I thought they were worthless. Dumb. Not worth writing down and turning into a story. A way to have a little fun.

How wrong I was.

Take Off Your Blindfold

The things and people you see are great sources of inspiration for novels, poems, and short stories.

One piece of writing advice says to write the book you want to read. No one wants to write a book about the kind of life they already live.They want to step into someone else's shoes.

So step into someone else's shoes right now. Look around and find someone if you're in public. Pretend you're that person.

What do you see? How do you feel? What life-changing events turned you into the person you are today?

Also look at the people you already know. Think of the five quirkiest, outspoken, unique people you know. Or the shyest, most average ones. Take a snippet of their personality and inject it into one of your characters to make them more life-like.

Nick Thacker recently wrote a great post about using your experiences to get inspired. Check it out for more ways to use the things in your life to get writing ideas.

Great ideas are all around you, waiting to be caught. Pay attention to them and value them. Look around at the interesting people surrounding you.

Look at yourself. imagine a more glamorous or dangerous life. The kind you wish you were living.

Don't let those ideas go. Jot them down or sit down and write the story, allowing it to take you where it wants to go.

Next time your imagination runs wild, let it.

There might just be a gem in there.

And if you don't have a wild imagination, it's time to start. Look around you. Who do you see? What's their story?

Where do you get your ideas? Did this method work for you?

Thanks for the photo, CrazyFast