Jul 25

Finding Inspiration for your Writing Out and About 1

Finding Inspiration for your Writing

Out and About


There are all sorts of places to look for inspiration when you are out and about.

(But do remember to carry a notebook!)

Airports  and train or bus stations: Look at the people around you. Observe what they are wearing and their facial expressions. Where is the smartly dressed man going? What is on the mind of the little old lady? Who is going to meet the harassed mum and her children? What will the nervous looking person do if there is a long delay? Who will sit together, talk to whom as they wait and as they travel?Bollard, Rope, Pier, Port, Investors, Anchorage

Jetties and ferry ports: Who is coming in? Who is waiting? Is the ship bringing what they are hoping for? Where have the passengers been/come from? Are they enjoying their trip? Has anything gone wrong?


In the supermarket : Observe what people buy and think about who is in  hurry, who is taking their time? Is the guy who appears to be shopping for one single, or is his wife/partner away; if so where and why? Do the people with overfull trolleys really need all that shopping at once?


Cemeteries: Look around at the gravestones and see what people have put on them. Imagine the person and their life, taking clues from the dates, their ages and the tributes. Benches with plaques have become a common memorial item too. Why did the person particularly like that spot, why did the family choose it over others?

Headstone, Cemetery, Death, Halloween, Gravestone

Even car parks can provide ideas for stories: Why is that car so dirty when the person getting out of it is so smartly dressed? Why did that person park and then get in another car with someone else, where are they going? How do they know each other?


When you are waiting somewhere, perhaps having a coffee, watch people entering and leaving places and note their expressions when they go in and when they come out; the dentist’s, the doctor’s, the salon, the betting shop, the gym, the lawyer’s office…..


Don’t forget to notice the buskers and the homeless people. How did they come to be there? What is their story? Look for some distinguishing feature, their hair or shoes, or an unusual pair of ear-rings that you might focus on in the opening of a story.

Busking, Begging, Saxophone, African American, Homeless

Objects too can provide a stimulus. Where is the child whose lone glove is sitting forlornly on the side of the road? What happened to the person who left a half finished drink in a paper cup beside a wall?


Just being observant and asking yourself a few questions will provide you with hundreds of ideas for writing practice, characters, short stories or even novels.


Category:Advice and Info. Tags:Observation, practice,sources

1 comment

    • Harry Dunn on July 25, 2016 at 8:22 am
    • Reply

    Hi Sue,
    In a true happening, a writer watched as an old woman dragged a large wheeled suitcase across Times Square in NYC. He decided it would be a good way of removing a body and wrote a full length novel on the strength of that one thought. Magic!
    Sending my best wishes to you and all at Writers’ End in Lanzarote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.