Finding Your Big Book Idea

February 26, 20223 min. Read

Find your Big Book Ideas

If you asked a published author how to write a book, the first thing on your mind is probably where great ideas come from. Spoiler alert: even seasoned writers sometimes wonder about this. Creativity is a slippery beast; sometimes there’s an endless flow of plots and characters waiting to come alive on the page, and sometimes a blank screen is all you get. 

Giving creativity a chance is easier than you might think. Remembering that writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, can help you tap into your imagination and turn a germ of an idea into a bestseller.

Inspiration Everywhere

There are many ways to find that next book idea:

  • Dreams. The unconscious mind is working all the time, and many writers find that paying attention to dreams pays off. Keep a notebook and pen close to your bed and jot down anything you remember before it gets lost.
  • Creative writing prompts. It’s easy to find online writing prompts, so take advantage. Browse for a while and see what strikes you. Set a timer and write for 30 minutes, and a terrific plot may take shape.
  • Write from experience. Personal experience counts, but current or historical events, strange happenings in the news, or even a favorite poem or fairy tale can be a springboard for story ideas. 
  • Observation. Writers love people-watching. Any conversation, interaction, or argument can spark creativity. Keep your eyes and ears open while shopping, commuting, or sitting in a public place for that next plotline.  

Completely Stumped?

What happens if you still haven’t found the idea that moves you? Don’t despair! Writers sometimes get in their way by overthinking or getting anxious. Ideas don’t have to be perfect from the start. That’s why editing and revision exist. A few more ideas to unblock your process include:

  1. Freewriting. Uncover exciting characters, events, or emotions by setting a timer for a few minutes or an hour to write. Forget spelling, grammar, and punctuation; just let thoughts and words flow. Then let it rest, and after a few hours, look at it again and see what’s there.
  2. Museums. Art is meant to evoke reactions, so wandering a museum and studying pieces that catch your attention is a way to spark ideas. Portraits, character sketches, pottery, and furniture evoke thoughts of people’s lives in the past, and a suit of armor can conjure a tale of palace intrigue.
  3. Daydreaming. The act of letting your mind wander can lead to some great ideas. Although modern life has little room for daydreams, you can reap the rewards for your writing if you allow yourself to cultivate a practice similar to meditation.

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