National Storytelling Week: Finding inspiration and breaking past writer’s block

Storytelling, whether it be writing your own or reading a favourite to others, is a much loved way to share creativity and comfort. How can you get in on the magic?


As a new creative writing student, I find that my ideas for writing short stories or poems come from lots of different avenues. 

I wanted to share some of these with other readers of The Hoot. I hope they inspire you during national Storytelling Week to write or tell stories of your own.

Draw from your surroundings

Typically, my ideas spark from my life, however boring my life is to other people, I find little gems can be used and tweaked into something I can use to be able to write, whether it is a short poem or just a little springboard that I can use to be able to spin a new idea for a novel, even if it doesn’t go that far into being full fleshed out into a semi-decent story ready for publication. 

I draw from my family members for character ideas, as it makes for realistic but strange characters. Even people watching while you wait in a supermarket queue can help you to create new characters and their quirks. 

I also find that story ideas can come from thinking of alternative ways you could have handled a daily task. For example, what if my pets suddenly talked back to me? Or what secrets could my boss be hiding from me? 

You don’t have to start at the beginning

I find just writing a few scenes or interactions with a few characters can be handy in the future, as you already have a place to start or go from and you can just write without the pressure of having to create an idea. I have found myself writing a single scene, inspired by my usual breakfast routine and then it has never seen the light of day since, but if my next story ever requires a scene like that, I already have one stashed away. 

Use the storytelling community

I typically spend a lot of time on Pinterest when I want to write a story. Looking at aesthetics and other people’s scrap ideas, which are ideas they have for stories, but don’t have the willpower or time to write, so they pawn them off on Pinterest for other writers to work with. This is a handy tool to be able to come up with little nuggets of wisdom, but the hard part is to link them together to be a semi-decent storyline with characters that have growth potential. 

Setbacks can lead to breakthroughs

Obviously, there are going to be days where you are just going to have to sit there and take the punishment of staring at a blank screen while the cursor just blinks at you, almost demanding to be moved and help you convey your story from your mind to paper, albeit it electronic paper. All you need to remember on days like this are that it is a major part of your writing journey. 

Just think about all the authors that sit there, stuck in a plot hole, trying to get their characters and story moving again. That is you! You may not be published yet, but it is something that you will have to face and deal with. It’s all in the mindset; If you want to be a writer, you will need to have some coping mechanisms to be able to keep going and not select-all and delete your work. 

Use coping mechanisms

My usual coping mechanisms are writing down my ideas and then walking away, but I try to come back to them. However, they can always be used in another time when another story may need ideas that those notes would very easily fit right in. Generally, there are not many coping mechanisms for writers block apart from submerging yourself in the real world and seeing for yourself what is out there and then a light bulb may appear and suddenly it will all make sense. Plus, having someone that believes in you will always help. 

My advice is, that you can do this!

And please feel free to count me as someone in your corner who believes in you. As, not to be corny or anything, but we are all in this together! 


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