The best writers see a world full of story ideas. They typically have more ideas than they can put into practice. That’s a good problem to have.

Here are some ways you can generate your own story ideas rather than rely on the ideas of editors, producers or teachers.

  • Break your routine. Drive to work or school a different way.
  • Read a local news site for undeveloped story ideas.
  • Read a book on a topic that is unfamiliar to you.
  • Keep a notebook so you don’t lose story ideas that occur to you.
  • Read posters, billboards, store signs, graffiti.
  • Spend the day with a person whose job interests you.
  • Interview the youngest person you know, and the oldest.
  • Hang around a public place and watch people walking, talking, shopping.
  • Spend an afternoon in a book store that serves coffee.
  • Eat lunch out of the office.

Taken from Help! for Writers, a self-directed course by Poynter's Roy Peter Clark at Poynter NewsU.

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