Do you ever feel like your life isn’t much of a story? That your everyday experiences don’t really offer much in the way of creative content? Maybe you wish something interesting would happen to you—if only so you’d have something to write about. Well I think you’d be surprised at the gems that are hiding in your mundane routine. Those situations don’t seem like stories to you, but sometimes writing into the woods is the only way to find out what the trees look like. In order to inspire some creative nonfiction writing, here are 21 writing ideas from your everyday.
1. Earliest memory
Write about the earliest thing you can remember. Who’s present in that memory? What are you doing?
2. Cultural background and how it has shaped you
Write about where your family is from. Are your relatives proud of their cultural heritage? How has this affected you?
3. How you might be different if you were born somewhere else
Imagine you were born in a different country, state, on the other side of town. What might your life look like?
4. Impactful relationship
Write about someone who has impacted your life. Was it an unexpected or surprising relationship? How did they impact you?
5. Influential person you admire
Write about an influential person who has inspired you. When did you first hear about them? What is it about them that stands out to you?
6. One person you’d want to meet and why
It’s like the famous lunch question. Who would you have lunch with? (Although you can leave out what you’d eat.)
7. Describe your city to someone who’s never been there
When you’re familiar with a place you start to glance past its detail. Describe the city you live in to someone who doesn’t know it. What are its defining features?
8. Favourite place
Write about your favourite place (city, park, street, country). What makes it special?
9. Somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit and why
What location is at the top of your bucket list? Why do you want to travel there?
10. Favourite movie/book/song and why
Dive into the why behind your favourites. Does a certain book remind you of someone? Does your favourite song make you feel nostalgic?
11. A book you can’t forget
There are some books in life that just stick with us. Write about a book you can’t forget—whether for good reasons or bad.
12. The best author you’ve read
This is pretty much impossible to narrow down, but start somewhere. Do you have a favourite author?
13. Why you write
This one’s a gold mine. Have you always wanted to write? Do you write to inspire, teach, as a form of catharsis?
14. What you learned from your first job
Firsts are always huge learning experiences. What did you learn from your first job?
15. Creative bucket list
Do you have a list of creative projects you’ve always wanted to try? What makes your bucket list?
16. Vivid dream
Whether you believe in the power of dreams or not, the subconscious can tell us interesting things at night. Do you have any really vivid dreams?
17. Recurring nightmare
You’re constantly running from something you can’t see. You’re always waking up in public with no clothes on. Do you have a recurring nightmare?
18. Daily habit
It could be big or small—what’s something you do every day?
19. First thing you do in the morning
Stare at your phone? Wish it wasn’t time to get up? Write about the first thing you do each morning.
20. Last thing you do at night
Are you a night owl or a fan of early bedtimes? Write about the last thing you do at night.
21. Hardest thing to give up (something you do regularly)
You wouldn’t actually die without coffee, would you? Do you have any regular traditions or habits you’d have a hard time giving up?
Want a copy of this list to keep handy for when you’re stuck for ideas? Download the writing ideas checklist.