When it comes to story ideas, there are an unlimited number strategies in coming up with them because writers are highly creative by nature. After writing one or two stories, you will naturally discover new methods to birth ideas for your subsequent stories.

The tactics here will guide you if you’re a first timer looking for a headway or an experienced author struggling with writer’s block.


How to come up with a story idea


Story Ideas From Everyday Life

I am sure you have asked yourself this question before, especially after reading a great book or watching a wonderful movie. A story can be so good that you begin to wonder if the author got the idea through magical means, but that’s far from the truth, the answer lies in every life. That’s right, there is no magic involved. The source of bright story ideas are typically hidden in your everyday activities, you just have to discover them.


You will easily pick up story ideas from everyday life using these tactics:


Watching The News

From the daily news you watch on TV, you can pick out an idea for your next story. The mental image could be from a crime scene, a strange occurrence, a natural disaster, political affairs, or whatever it is that’s trending on that media outlet. So when you’re next watching the news, think of how you can develop a part of it into an amazing story idea.

Joanna Pen hosted an excellent podcast recently about using death, dying and grief in your writing. Check it out here.


Observing People

As you go about your daily life, you will encounter different kinds of people and their way of doing things. Watch people; take note of how they express themselves, notice their manners, discover why they act the way they do and use these deductions to create a story. I’m not saying you should start making people uncomfortable by being nosy, this tactic doesn’t require you to go beyond your normal way of noticing things, just give more relevance to them.


Listening to Music


Listening to Music

As a song plays, understand the lyrics and pick lines that you can elaborate on. Then with your creativity, connect those lines and write down a story idea, using the lines as a source.



Picking Ideas From Your Job or Business

Whatever it is that you do for a living (besides writing), use that as a means of generating ideas for your story. Let me give you some examples:

  • If you’re a doctor or nurse, your patient’s strange illness or inability to pay medical bills could birth a story idea.
  • If you’re a school teacher, an ill-mannered but brilliant student could be a source of inspiration.
  • If you’re a waitress, a customer who always orders more than he can pay could give you an idea. I could go on and on with this job method, the list is endless. Just put on your imaginative hat on your next day at the office and see how ideas start flowing to your mind. Don’t forget to keep a notepad or your phone handy, you’ll need it to put ideas down as they come.


I hope this gives you a place to start from when looking to your everyday life to generate ideas from. If you need further inspiration to get your creative juices going check out my post on writing exercises or my very popular romance writing prompts post. Or if you’re looking for a new book for inspiration, I recommend, A Writer’s Book of Days (my review).


I’d love to know how you discover ideas from your everyday life? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


Happy Writing,




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2 comments on “How to Come Up With a Story Idea: Using Everyday Life

  • This advice to seek out stories based on everyday life is excellent. I would also suggest carrying a small pad of paper to write down the ideas so you have a prompt when you are able to sit down and write. I recommend this on my site.

    Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, got nearly all of his ideas from everyday life. He would act accordingly in real life, but write about what would happen if people acted inappropriately instead! This is what led to the wonderful shows he produced. It also gets the creativity going as you point out.

    Most of the time, we just need an inkling of an idea to get started.

    • Thanks, Ernest. You are so right — all we need is just an inkling to get started. All it takes is one little seed to spark your imagination. That’s a great tip from/about Larry David. It’s all about changing things around, and doing or writing the unexpected, or unimagined.

      Thanks for reading, and I’ll add that about carrying a notebook. Thought I’d put it in there. Thanks!

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