Sometimes, it’s hard to find things to write about.
But, if you examine your day-to-day life closely, you can find dozens or even hundreds of story ideas in a single day.
People always say you should write what you know. What could be more familiar than your own daily life and routine? Make some time each day to soak in the world around you and examine what you see closely in order to come up with fresh topics and ideas.
Find inspiration in your daily routine
At first, it might seem like eating cereal and buying light bulbs are just part of the tedium of life, and things no one would ever want to read about. But many people share these daily experiences, and shifting your perception can help you come up with a constant stream of fascinating story ideas.
Of course, it’s all a matter of how you present things.
An article about being bored waiting in line at the grocery store might not draw in readers (unless it’s a humor piece), but you might be able to place a story about things to do while you’re bored and waiting in line.
Are there any simple exercises you can do without attracting a ton of attention? Ways to organize your day or reinvigorate yourself with a few idle minutes? Great games to play on your phone? Consider writing stories that can help people navigate their day with “hacks” or tips to help improve their routine.
Search each day for story ideas
Let’s look at a sample daily routine and mine the day for story ideas.
Early in the morning, your alarm clock goes off, or perhaps you wake up naturally. You could write about the best ways to wake up (naturally vs. different types of alarm clocks) for a health and wellness publication. You could examine alarm clocks and how they work, new models, or review an upcoming alarm clock launch for a tech publication. Are there alarm clock apps you could write about?
If you delve into a topic, you’ll find dozens of possibilities for story ideas.
Are your pets scratching at the door ready to go outside? Pet publications are always looking for insightful ideas. Consider writing about how to get a new pet into a daily routine, the best pet-related products, toy trends, healthy food options, popular breeds and more.
Next, you start getting ready for the morning. Do you hop in the shower right away? What types of products do you use? You could write about people’s hygiene habits or dermatologist recommendations on how often to shower and which products to use for healthy skin.
Take a look at your beauty and hygiene products. Could you write about them for a health and wellness magazine and help people select the best products for their needs? Could you examine how the products are made or perhaps the environmental impacts of various products? How about an article on how to perfect your eyeliner or new makeup trends?
Now, it’s breakfast time. You can carefully examine your eating habits to come up with a wide variety of ideas. Do doctors have specific recommendations about the best times to eat? What are the best foods to eat? Are there new breakfast trends? Is there a new breakfast restaurant nearby to write about (perhaps with a fascinating owner)? Do you have great breakfast recipes?
Where does your food come from? Do you get your eggs from a local farmer? Consider farming magazines focusing on a profile of the owner, best practices for your climate, or the challenges and rewards of being a small family farmer. Consider local publications, farming, food, health and wellness, natural living, parenting, and trade magazines.
Do you have kids to get ready? Parent-focused publications could use content on tips to get kids ready on time, motivate sleepy teenagers, master homework routines, not forget things when running out the door, the best bedtime habits for happy mornings and healthy breakfasts, just to name a few.
Do you exercise in the morning? Whether you jog, practice yoga or enjoy another fitness routine, you can find plenty of ideas to pitch to health and wellness publications. And be sure to think broadly. If you practice yoga, consider writing about a local yoga teacher, a controversy in the yoga community, a new type of mat, how to find the best style of practice, how to introduce kids to yoga or even a story on pet yoga.
How does your work day begin? Do you head into an office or work from home? Consider pitching stories on commuting, workplace fashion, business, entrepreneurship, working from home and freelancing. How do you get to work? Do you drive? If so, consider pitching automotive publications about new navigation technology or upcoming vehicle improvements. If you bike or walk, consider pitching health and wellness, sports, women’s or men’s interest publications. Use public transit? Write about some of your experiences or local characters you meet along the way for local publications.
If you try this technique throughout your whole day, you can find dozens of story ideas each hour — if you think broadly enough!
Look for ideas online
Your search for inspiration and story ideas isn’t limited to your own experiences each day. Look online for even more ideas.
Sign up for email listservs and newsletters to get the latest releases in whatever fields you write about most often. Read the newsletters and emails you receive and spend time on social media and news sites.
See what people are talking about, and use these trends to develop story ideas. Is there a news development you’d like to write an op-ed about? An issue you’d like to examine more closely?
Sign up for Google Alerts to receive notification of topics and keywords that you select. This is a great way to track developments in certain fields, keep an eye on companies, and even search for your own name or business.
With these ideas, you can turn even the most mundane day into dozens or even hundreds of ideas.
Can you draw writing inspiration from your day? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.