You’re struggling with finding things to write about—that much is clear.
And you’ve decided to make that jump. You’ve finally worked up the courage to write a book. Congrats!
Now the daunting question of what you’re going to write rears its ugly head.
What on earth can you write? What would people want to read?
You find yourself at the first stumbling block, also affectionately (not) referred to as writer’s block.
Here are 8 ways to find things to write about:
- Write about your passions
- Fiction or nonfiction
- What you’re an expert in
- Write about your experiences
- Get ideas from friends and family
- Find inspiration to write about online
- Brainstorm what to write about for a day or two
- Collect a large list of ideas to write about
8 Things to Write About and How to Find Writing Inspiration
Well the good news is that all of us could write a book or two about something!
Figuring out what to write about simply takes some self-reflection, brainstorming, and research.
Follow these next steps and you will surely find at least one future book topic!
#1 – Start with your passions
The best place to start is with what brings you joy. After all, you’re going to enjoy writing your book a lot more if you enjoy the topic.
Furthermore, you are more likely to really sell an idea and convince your audience of something if you’re passionate about it.
Here are a few questions for finding what to write about:
- What’s one thing you enjoy most?
- What do you lose track of time doing?
- Where do your thoughts go when you’re not paying attention?
- What do people describe you doing often?
These things to write about could be as simple as bike riding, home organization, or cooking. It could be something more technical or complex.
Take out a pen and paper, and make a list of all the things that you really love.
Write them all down, whether they’re big or small. You will draw inspiration from this list, so write down everything that you can think of.
#2 – Choose to write fact or fiction
Once you have a good, working list of all the things you love, you need to decide something important: will your book be fact or fiction?
There are so many different book genres out there that it can feel overwhelming. Hence, it’s best to get an idea of this before you start the writing process.
Your passions list will really help you narrow this one down.
Perhaps your love of cats could make you want to write a fiction novel about a cat who goes on adventures. Perhaps your love of home gardening could make for a great how-to book to help others who want to grow their own food. Maybe your love of ghosts could make for a good horror book.
Whatever it is, your passions are there waiting to be turned into a book idea.
Your specific genre can be modified as you begin to write. However, deciding whether your book will be fiction or about your real life, like writing a memoir, is something you need to decide before beginning the brainstorming and writing process.
#3 – What you’re an expert at/in
Everybody is an expert in something. Do you believe me? Most people when they hear this go “oh no, not me!” After all, we are often our own worst critics.
However, that’s where everyone is wrong. Each of us is an expert in something.
The truth is that you don’t need a million trophies or some fancy title to be an expert. Furthermore, books written by experts don’t always sell. People love getting advice from ordinary people just like you! After all, if you can write and publish a book, so can they.
You can find your expertise through a brainstorm.
Much like your passion list, make another list! On this one, I want you to write down all of your work experience from the last 5-10 (or more!) years. I’m talking everything that you can think of such as employment, volunteer work, hobbies, and unique experiences.
After you’ve spent some time on this list, start to look at the patterns:
- What things keep popping up?
- What do these things have in common?
- Are these things related?
This list might help you see that you really are more of an expert in something that you can write about.
You might not have been the boss of the company, but you might have learned more than you think working in public relations or even answering phones.
#4 – Pull things to write about from your experiences
Your future book inspiration doesn’t solely come from professional experience. It can come from personal experiences as well. With this, you’ll want to create another list.
However, this one will be more of a brainstorm of different life experiences you’ve had.
If you can’t just start making a list, start by mapping out your life.
Jot down a few of these ideas to write about:
- Where do you live?
- Where are you from originally?
- Who are your family members?
- Who are your friends?
- Where have you traveled to?
If you answer all of these questions, you will surely start to think of “that one time I …” or other memories.
Write down all the words, thoughts and images that come to mind. Write down how you felt in these moments and how they affected you and you’ll have plenty of things to write about.
When you brainstorm, let your creativity flow! Don’t worry about writing the words in a perfect list. If you feel inspired to draw, draw.
These brainstorm sessions are for you and you only, so let them be as crazy as you want!
#5 – Get writing ideas from friends or family member
Those who know us best often see things about us that we cannot. They have the perspective of seeing our lives from the outside.
If you’re thinking of writing a book, speak with someone you’re close to.
They simultaneously know you best and want the best for you.
Take them out for a cup of coffee and tell them that you want to publish a book. If you already have a few things to want to write about, you could run them by this person.
If you don’t, you could simply ask them what they think you should write about. You might get responses like “I would love to read about your experience with _____” or “I think you could really tell this story well.”
You’ll either narrow down your list of ideas or have a few new ones to add to the list!
#6 – Turn to the Internet
The Internet is a great place to find inspiration for what to write about. First and foremost, you want to ensure that someone hasn’t already written about what you want to write about.
If it’s a broad topic such as “how to travel the world,” surely at least several people have already beaten you to the punch! However, this isn’t the end of the world.
When searching, you can see how these people have written their books and think about how yours would be different. Since no one on earth is exactly like you, you certainly will have your own unique perspective to bring to the table!
Only you can be you!
In addition to a general Google search, use both Instagram and Pinterest to your advantage.
These two social networks will bring your inspiration for what to write about—not to mention give you book marketing opportunities when you do write the book. When searching on Instagram, make sure to look at related hashtags such as this #writerinspiration one.
#7 – Leave all the brainstorming and discussion for a day or two
After you’ve brainstormed and talked with a close friend or family member, put it all down.
Simply go about your life as normal going to work or school or whatever your normal routine is.
You are sure to come up with more ideas or more details to add to your existing notes at the most random times. When something comes to mind, record it right away!
It might be good to have a notebook with you at all times or start a note on your phone.
You can actually use an app like Evernote for this very purpose.
After a few days of a break, come back to all your notes and decide on what you want to write about.
#8 – Create a list to work from
A lot of authors feel like pressure when picking their book topic. It is kind of scary to pick an idea and then write several hundred pages on it.
However, remind yourself that choosing an idea to write about does not obligate you to write an entire book about it.
You might start by writing the outline or the first few chapters and realize that you’d rather write about a different topic. That’s okay!
Get out that notebook and get to work!
The best time to get started brainstorming your perfect idea is now! Don’t wait around and let fear get the better of you.
Get out your notebook and start making these lists. Write down every word, thought or image that comes to your mind!
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