Choosing a topic/idea for a novel, non-fiction book, newspaper/magazine article, short story can be difficult at times.  It’s like going to a grocery store and trying to pick out the things that are just right for you. There are so many things to choose from. There are also so many things in the world to write about. You need to sort through it all and find what is right for you.

Ideas can come from other books or articles you’ve read.  Maybe something funny or sad or scary happened to you when you were growing up. Start with that event and build from there. What are you interested in? What hobbies do you have? What are your dreams?  All these things can lead you to a story idea.

When I first thought of writing a book I was going to write a non-fiction work on single women reaching retirement age. I chose that topic because I am a single woman reaching retirement age. I was going to interview several single women to find out how they were handling the situation. While talking to a friend of mine about my idea she said she would rather read a novel about a woman going through the issue, than a documentary.

A novel? The more I thought about it the more fun I thought writing a novel would be. My protagonist would still be a single woman facing retirment, but I’d have her plan something she never did before. Why not? Life doesn’t end with retirement from your job. It opens doors to a whole new life.

More about my novel in later posts. Do you want to write but can’t decide what to write about?  Look around you. The world is full of topics. Search your soul. Is there an idea floating around in your head just waiting to get out and onto paper?

Did you read about something in the newspaper today you’d like to research a little more? Newspapers are also full of ideas which could be the basis for a novel.

Remember that funny thing your child did last week? Write a story for children about it.

Observe people. They are walking, talking story lines.

View nature. Write a short story about a worm. Develop an article about your garden.

Just sit down and start writing. Ideas will flow right through that pen onto the paper or through your fingers on that keyboard.

Still stuck?  Write out a bunch of nouns, verbs, adjectives on individual little slips of paper. Mix them all up in a bag or bowl. Randomly, pick three or four, then see if an idea comes for a story. I’ve done that for a couple short stories.

Go to an art museum. Study a painting or sculpture which catches your eye. Start imagining what would happen next in that picture. You have the beginning of a story.

I could go on and on with ways to stimulate those thought waves. I think you’re getting the idea. Topics/ideas surround us. Reach out and grab one.

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