Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (Holly Schindler)

This is by far the most frequent question I get from students during any kind of Q&A.

The thing is, ideas are the easiest thing to come by. Ideas, in short, are everywhere.

Mostly, I think what they’re really asking is: How do you recognize an idea? How do you know it could actually be a book?

Adults ask the same thing, to be honest.

The best thing you can do is start to keep an idea journal.

Don’t worry about whether or not it’s big enough to be a book. Don’t worry about whether it’s been done before. Just write it down. All of it. Cool characters you meet in your daily life. Funny tidbits. Thoughts you had. Feelings. Places you went. Keep your notebook with you—in your purse or back pocket. Or type it into your phone (but be sure to put that file somewhere accessible—the whole point is not to lose it)!

Just write. Write it all. Play. Write titles. Write short poems. Play with what-ifs.

As you play with ideas, you’ll find some of them merge. Some of them follow a line of thought.

Some of them begin to form the outline of a story big enough to be a book.

And the beautiful part is, the more you write your ideas, the more you play with ideas, the more you’ll realize: ideas really are everywhere.


  1. I've been doing the notebook for years. This is a great reminder that everything and anything has the potential to become our next story.


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