10 ways to generate story ideas

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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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.

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