The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (2023)

What are the three best ways to generate ideas for a writing project?

Whether you're thinking about writing your first book or can't find your eighth novel, coming up with ideas for writing projects can be difficult, but it's something everyone has to grapple with.

Luckily we have the secrets! We know the top three ways to jumpstart your creative process and get those fresh ideas onto the page.

table of Contents

be present and observe

please investigate

Try to prewrite

brain dump


character work

things to remember

1. Be present and observe

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (1)

A great writer (contrary to popular belief) shouldn't always be in his own head, making up worlds andMagic Systemsunlike anything this terrestrial land has ever seen. No, a writer knows that all writing essentially boils down to further explaining the human condition.

To do that, a writer must first look at what it means to be human. Many ideas for books can come from observing the world around us.

(Video) Creative thinking - how to get out of the box and generate ideas: Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma

See where you work, shop or spend your free time. Pay attention to how people interact. Think about how you would describe these people. Once you feel you have a solid observation, you can move on to more dream-like thinking. Ask yourself, "What if this was in outer space?" or "What if goblins suddenly started running through the halls?"

Part of observing and being present is being prepared to write down ideas as they decide to fall like manna from heaven.

For this reason, many writers carry a small notebook and pencil with them when inspiration strikes. Sure, the Notes app on your phone can do the trick, but it's easy to miss. Having a notebook completely dedicated to ideas keeps them all together and waiting for you like a pack of puppies waiting for a treat.

Idea generation can come from anywhere as long as you are present in your daily life and pay attention to things going on around you. One of the most famous authors, Ernest Hemingway, wrote:

Now is not the time to think about what you don't have. Think about what you can do with it.

The world is full of content for your new writing project; you just have to look for it (or just look at it).

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (2)

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2. Do your research

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (3)
(Video) 3 habits that boost mental clarity

Research can be seen as boring or ineffective, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are talking about coming up with ideas and it is probably the most fun way!

Let's say you want to write a novel but feel like you're running out of ideas. You've been paying attention to the world around you, but you just can't find that gold nugget. How are you?

Researching for a writing project may seem like a number of things, but one of the most useful things you can do is read because, after all, you can't write if you can't read.

Take your favorite book and dissect it with a writer's eye. In each book there are so many ideas that have not been thoroughly analyzed or overwritten. What do you like about the book? What do you think the author would have expanded on?

Good ideas lead to good writing, which leads to good ideas, which lead to good writing. Don't be afraid to borrow some ideas from popular books. I mean, if there wasn't onepride and prejudicewe would never have onePride and prejudice and zombies.

before i wrotemistbornBrandon Sanderson did his own research. About histhe blog, he wrote:

I had looked at themlord of the rings books...and I felt that a lot of people would use this paradigm even more because of its popularity and success... So I thought, "What if the dark lord won?"

Read books, watch movies, play video games. Do the things you already love to do, but look for related ideas. Find your book idea by asking questions and digging into ideas that seem to have been left alone.

Another type of research that helps in the idea generation process is story reading. Human history is a treasure trove of stories. And they can be just that, stories. You do not need to read in-depth analysis in academic articles.

Think of the number of books related to the fall of Rome or Greek mythology. This is only a small part of what humanity has experienced.

You could write a novel based on Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants! You could learn about the history of a culture you are unfamiliar with and incorporate those ideas into your story.

You will soon discover that the media you consume is begging you to give it new life. He wants you to take his tried and tested ideas and reinterpret them.

3. Try to pre-write

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (4)
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So at this point, you've looked around your world, at your art, and you've found a few things.couldgive rise to stories

Before you even start the first sentence of your novel, try some of these pre-writing techniques. You will surely generate ideas and turn them into stories from seeds.

brain dump

This technique follows the ideas ofstream of consciousnessWrite and it should help you explore your idea. All you have to do is visualize what you want to write about and pour it onto the page.

This type of writing must be a total disaster. Just type anything that comes to mind and keep asking questions. What does this character want? What happens when these people fight? Write everything.

If you feel like you've exhausted one of your themes, try another. Then read what you wrote. There is definitely something there. Even if you don't like most of what you wrote, you can try again with the parts you do like.

If you find only one idea that you wrote down, repeat the exercise with that idea in the foreground. make it fun!


Schematics aren't for everyone, but if you have a little baby idea, feeding it and letting it grow into a meaty Conan the Barbarian idea can help.

For the outline, you can go simple or in-depth. I recommend starting with Basic. Think about the general beginning, middle, and end of the story.couldand

Then develop some of those ideas. Perhaps you want to delve into your beginnings because there is something that you like a lot. Take this new idea and incorporate it into the rest of your outline.

Soon you'll have at least an outline of what your story could be, and if you don't like it, try again! The more you write, the more you think about the idea, which can only help it!

Some character work.

The latter can be very difficult for some people, but it definitely has the potential to make for great stories. This technique can also be used after the others to further develop the story.

For this exercise, take any idea you have and try to connect it to a character. Make one character embody the idea, and then create the opposite character.

Maybe these are the ancestors of your antagonist and protagonist, but imagine their interaction, write their dialogue, and see what happens.

(Video) How To Build a Daily Writing Habit

things to remember

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (5)

This is one of the best parts of writing! Don't get discouraged as this is a skill that can be learned just like anything else in the field.

If you do these three things, you will surely come up with your next great idea. Remember to check out the other resources we have here at Habit Writing to help you along the way.Diplomathis novel.

Let the creative spice flow!

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (6)


Gavin is a fantasy writer, short story enthusiast, and outdoorsman. When he's not reading, writing, or exploring the outdoors, he's probably playing. His board game collection is probably too big for someone who lives in a small apartment, and he has enough unplayable video games to last a lifetime. His favorite book is The Name of the Wind. His favorite author is Edward Abbey. His favorite game is Dark Souls III and he would love to spend the day talking about backstories, bosses, and gameplay.

The 3 Best Ways to Generate Ideas - Writing Habit (7)

Project 111: A writing course for busy people.

Our 84-page book planner and 111-day writing course.

(Video) GET ORGANIZED : Build Your Writing Habits - 3


Are 3 useful ways to generate ideas for writing? ›

The methods we'll discuss for idea generation will be: Brainstorming. Freewriting. Think Alouds.

What are three best ways to generate ideas? ›

How to Generate Ideas
  • Ask questions: Foremost, idea people are curious people. ...
  • Write Your Ideas Down: Creative people keep lists and notes. ...
  • Think Associatively: Many ideas are the result of associative thinking. ...
  • Put Ideas to the Test: Innovators know the importance of experimentation.
Apr 19, 2022

How do you generate ideas for writing? ›

Techniques for generating topic ideas
  1. Talk it out. ...
  2. Brainstorm. ...
  3. Free write. ...
  4. Don't feel you need to work logically. ...
  5. Work from general to specific. ...
  6. Maintain momentum. ...
  7. Let ideas go. ...
  8. Choose a topic that interests you.
Nov 17, 2014

What are the 3 main types of writing? ›

Your audience and writing purpose will determine your writing style. The four main types of writing styles are persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive.

What is the 3 3 writing process? ›

The 3×3 writing process is comprised of three major groups of three tasks. The major groups are Prewriting, Writing, and Revising. The three key tasks or steps under each group will be broken down with more detail later in this article.

What are the first 3 things you do when you get an idea? ›

So once you've settled on your idea, follow this three-step roadmap for taking action.
  • Good Ol' Market Study. The first step to validating your idea is to study the market. ...
  • Build a Team. ...
  • Get Going and Execute.

What are the four methods of generating ideas? ›

Creative PR: 4 Idea Generation Techniques
  • Preparation: loading up your mind to be creative.
  • Inspiration/Insight: the process of generating ideas.
  • Incubation: the process of refining and iterating ideas.
  • Verification: the process of validating ideas.

What are the five steps to generate an idea? ›

Stages of Idea Development
  • Brainstorming.
  • Mind Mapping.
  • SCAMPER technique.
  • Reverse Thinking.
  • Collaboration.

How do you teach students to generate ideas for writing? ›

Here are a few ways to generate ideas in your classroom:
  1. Mentor Texts. Mentor texts are any piece of literature that is used as a model for students to emulate in their own writing. ...
  2. Conversation Starters. ...
  3. Heart Maps. ...
  4. Listing Possible Topics. ...
  5. This or That. ...
  6. Rolling the Dice. ...
  7. Love it or Loathe it! (
Aug 9, 2019

What are the 7 ways good writers write? ›

  • 7 Things Good Writers Do. If you find out what good writers do, you can do it too. ...
  • Work on their intros. Making a strong first impression is crucial. ...
  • Edit and rewrite relentlessly. ...
  • Keep their egos in check. ...
  • Write every day. ...
  • Avoid clichés and 'fluff' ...
  • Write specifically. ...
  • Get their writing read.
Dec 14, 2019

What is significant writing habit? ›

Write something every day. Write every day, that way we will never lose focus, and becomes a habit eventually. Every morning make a goal to write at least 10 mins or 200 words in a day. Think about it, if you write 200 words in a day it will be 1400 words in a week and 6000 words in a month...

What are effective writing skills? ›

Effective writing is readable — that is, clear, accurate, and concise. When you are writing a paper, try to get your ideas across in such a way that the audience will understand them effortlessly, unambiguously, and rapidly. To this end, strive to write in a straightforward way.

What are the 4 keys of writing? ›

There are four keys to effective writing: identifying your audience, establishing your purpose, formulating your message, and selecting your style and tone.

What are the 3 C's of writing? ›

Clear, concise, consistent – The three Cs of effective...
  • Strive for clarity. Identifying your key messages—the main ideas you want to embed in your audience's mind—is an important part of communicating clearly. ...
  • Keep it concise. Aim for short, direct sentences. ...
  • Be consistent.
Jan 24, 2020

What are 3 characteristics of a main idea? ›

Finding the Main Idea
  • Must always have the topic (the word, name, or phrase that tells who or what the paragraph is about)
  • Must always be a complete sentence by itself (even if you were not able to read the rest of the paragraph)
  • Must be a sentence that summarizes the details of the paragraph.
Oct 23, 2014

What is the best way to find the main idea? ›

Main ideas are often found:
  1. at the beginning of paragraphs. The first sentence often explains the subject being discussed in the passage.
  2. in the concluding sentences of a paragraph.

What are the 3 Ps of creativity? ›

Theories of creativity have focused on a variety of factors. The dominant factors are identified as the 4Ps — Person, Process, Product and Press.

What are the 3 P's of the creativity framework? ›

ABSTRACT: An overview and perspective of advertising creativity research is offered in a "3 Ps" (person, place, and pro cess) framework to shape future research agendas.

What are the three 3 components of creativity? ›

The Three Components of Creativity Within every individual, creativity is a function of three components: expertise, creative-thinking skills, and motivation.

What is a technique to generate ideas called? ›

For decades, people have used brainstorming to generate ideas, and to come up with creative solutions to problems. However, you need to use brainstorming correctly for it to be fully effective.

What are the 4 principles of creativity? ›

Simply put, the process is comprised of four stages: clarify, ideate, develop and implement. This is a natural human process, not someone's trademarked invention. Look at your own creative process and you'll see that you do this, too.

What are the 7 stages of creativity? ›

7 Stages of the Creative Process – Dreaming and Doing
  • Intention. Your idea is born. ...
  • Incubation. This is the time you begin to put thoughts together. ...
  • Investigation. Here is where you do research. ...
  • Composition. This is the DO part where you begin to compose. ...
  • Compose – Get it Out. ...
  • Clarification. ...
  • Changes. ...
  • Completion.
Apr 14, 2021

What are 3 of the 5 rules of writing? ›

Five writing rules you can break
  • Never end a sentence with a preposition. ...
  • “They” is not a singular pronoun. ...
  • Only write in full sentences. ...
  • Don't split infinitives. ...
  • Don't start sentences with conjunctions.
Nov 11, 2020

What are the 5 elements of good writing? ›

However, there are certain qualities that most examples of good writing share. The following is a brief description of five qualities of good writing: focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness.

What are the 5 keys of effective writing? ›

Five Key Rules for Effective Writing
  • Develop one good idea.
  • Ensure that the idea is useful.
  • Express the idea clearly.
  • Provide supporting details.
  • Speak with an authentic voice.
Jan 21, 2004

What are the 3 most important things to keep in mind when writing an essay? ›

There are three things to consider before writing your essay: thesis, type, and audience. Of these, the most important by far is your thesis, or the crux of what your essay is about. Your thesis, encapsulated in your thesis statement, is the central point you're trying to make.

What is the most important key to writing success? ›

Keep your audience and purpose in mind as you write.

Of all of these considerations, keeping your purpose and your audience at the front of your mind is the most important key to writing success.

What is the most important thing in writing? ›

Ideas are really the most important part of a piece of writing. After all, ideas are the reason writers write. If we didn't have any ideas, we wouldn't need any words to express them. And if we didn't need any words — well, you get the idea.

What are the 3 main reasons for writing? ›

Answer and Explanation: The three main purposes for writing are to persuade, inform, and entertain. In persuasive writing, the author works to convince the reader to do something or to believe in an idea.

What are the 3 reasons writers write? ›

An author's purpose may be to amuse the reader, to persuade the reader, to inform the reader, or to satirize a condition.

What are the main 3 keys of writing a paragraph? ›

Elements of a Paragraph A paragraph is made up of a topic sentence, the developing details, and a concluding sentence. It is important to fully develop and discuss the topic of your paragraph.


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