How do you develop creative ideas? 5 Best Tips

Creativity is a crucial element to many different types of work. It takes creativity to develop new ideas, solve problems, and come up with solutions. Creative people are always looking for ways to improve their creative skills so they can be more successful in what they do. But how exactly do authors develop creative ideas that they use in stories and books?

Authors develop creative ideas through various exercises such as rewriting a story in their own words, writing prompts, brainstorming techniques, free association exercises, describing an actual event with a twist and many other ways. Doing these can help make creativity second nature.

In this article, we will discuss creativity and some tips on developing your own creative ideas so you can share them with others through your writing!

Ideas word in paperclips with a lit bulb

Why is creativity important for authors?

As most storylines have already been done, being creative is critical for authors because it helps them develop these ideas in new and exciting ways to make them unique.

For example, someone might have a great idea for a story about two mountain climbers, but then they decide to add more elements, such as one of the characters is blind or has some other disability. This is an example where being creative can really make the story stand out from others.

  • Creativity is necessary for authors because it allows them to come up with new ideas
  • Creativity helps an author write better, more exciting stories
  • Creativity will help an author create a unique voice that readers won’t be able to forget about once they’ve read one or two books by that author
  • Authors need creativity in order to make their books stand out from the rest of the competition and find success in a crowded market place

Creative people are always looking for ways to improve their creative skills so they can be more successful in what they do.

When you are creative, your brain is constantly thinking of new ways for things to work or how they might be better than before. 

This creativity can be used in many ways to develop story plots, new characters, or solve problems that arise during the writing process.

No matter what kind of writer you are, being creative will help you think outside the box when tackling the many challenges that come with being an author. 

Creativity is a necessary trait for all authors, so it’s essential to nurture this skill so you can use it easily when you need an idea or solution.

In the end, creativity will help give your story an edge that readers might enjoy more than something else they come across.

Spending some time improving your creativity can make any author better at their craft!

Think of creativity as a muscle that needs to be exercised. Creativity is a skill that can continuously be improved with some effort. The more you use it, the better and stronger it becomes.

Creative exercises that can help you develop your own creativity

What’s the best way to develop creativity? The key to developing creativity is to continue exploring and learning new things.

Let’s look at a few exercises you can use.

Using Other Inspirations

It is easy to sit looking at a blank screen, getting frustrated trying to develop new ideas. Sometimes, the best way to improve is to step away from this process.

You can do this by taking art classes, reading books on a topic that interests you, going outside, reading random websites or watching YouTube videos on a topic that interests you.

While you are away from your writing doing other things, try to pay attention to any activity for little things that could become sources of inspiration for your writing.

Odd events, interesting people, places or landscapes, and even the sounds you hear while doing something else can boost your creativity.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, so be open-minded and think about things in a new way and you might be surprised what pops up!


Another example of an exercise to develop creativity is brainstorming. This can help with many things, from coming up with story ideas, character names or descriptions.

To do this creative exercise, get yourself comfortable somewhere where you’re not going to be disturbed for about 15 minutes.

Then come up with a list of at least ten ideas related to a topic you are interested in writing about.

For example, if you’re brainstorming story plots, develop ten different plot lines or settings. Just write anything that pops into your mind, don’t judge them yet.

Any idea can inspire another, so just let them flow without thinking about them too much. Then, read the ten you have and repeat the process a few times.

Remember, evaluate them later. For now, just write down anything and everything.

It is incredible how many ideas you can create if you are not judging them at first.

This just helps train your brain and get it thinking creatively, so it’s ready when needed.

Use this list later to prompt you to conjure up more new ideas.

Writing Prompts

Try using some writing prompts for a push start. A writing prompt is something that gives you a starting point, like an idea.

Many websites can give you some random writing prompts or prompts related to a specific genre or topic.

This is an excellent way for authors struggling with creativity, writer’s block or general lack of inspiration.

These prompts will get your creative juices flowing and help you develop new ideas in no time!

Here are some examples that might be helpful:

  • Write about something green sitting on a table
  • Write about a rainy day.
  • Describe your favorite childhood toy in detail.

You can also try writing prompts that are related to particular genres or themes like romance, horror or fantasy:

  • Write a story from the perspective of someone who is feeling betrayed by their best friend.
  • Imagine you’re on a date with a zombie.
  • Imagine you’re sitting in a graveyard and your headstone is next to someone else’s.
  • Write about what it would be like if people could turn invisible whenever they want.

The possibilities are endless when you think creatively!

It is important to remember that these prompts can be used for any type of writing, not just novels or short stories!

Writing Prompts are great exercises to help you develop your creativity and come up with new ideas.

Free Association Exercises

Free Association is when you start with a word or two and then follow it up with the first thing that comes to you without censoring your thoughts.

The goal is not to consciously think too hard about what you’re writing.

This is an exercise in becoming more present and aware of thoughts, feelings, memories, and sensations.

It’s a way to break out of our habitual thought patterns or mental blocks by not censoring ourselves from the first thing that pops up in our heads.

A way to do exercise is to sit in silence for a few minutes and then start writing whatever comes into your head.

The great thing about this exercise is that you don’t need to use any of the ideas if they seem too challenging to develop into something more concrete later; you can use them as prompts that give more valuable ideas.

The more opportunities you are open to, the greater chance of finding something that inspires your creative process.

Rewriting What You Like

Another good creative exercise is to read lots of other authors’ books and imagine what the story would be like if it was told from your point of view.

Start with what you know and twist it into something new. It can be something as small as a single interesting action scene that you just put into your own words or add a little twist.

  • First, read the original story scene
  • Next, write the same scene in your own words and style from memory. No referring back. That’s cheating!
  • Now change one significant aspect and write it again.
  • Last, change another two essential items such as the characters or location and write it again.

You are likely to find that this exercise is not as easy as it looks, but it is VERY powerful.

The more you do this more it will become second nature to you and you will be able to use this skill without thinking about it to create new ideas in your own writing.

The main goal of this exercise is not just to get ideas but also to become more confident in writing your own characters, plots and scenes.

The more you rewrite, change or twist it up the better your creativity will get in the long run.

This is an excellent way for authors who are struggling with creativity, writer’s block or general lack of inspiration and can lead to some really awesome ideas for stories.

More Tips for developing your own creative skills

Still having a hard time?

Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Write about a favorite hobby explaining it to someone new to it.
  • Image a favorite character suddenly placed into your life. What would they do?
  • Take a class in creative writing. Sometimes being in a structured course with others in the same place can really help get you started.
  • Look at art in a museum or on TV and try to describe what you see with your own words.
  • Reread what you’ve previously written for other projects. What didn’t you like? Rewrite and change it.
  • Join a writers group and get together with other writers regularly: write together. You can feed off each other’s ideas.
  • Gather some friends and write a story together face-to-face.
  • Take on the persona of someone you admire or know personally, then create that person’s life from scratch. What would they be like? Where would they live? Write it all down as if it were real!
  • Pick up an object in your home and make up a story about it. What does the object talk or think to itself?
  • Create an alternate history of one event in your life, such as where you grew up or went to college.
  • Look through photo albums and write a paragraph about each picture.

Creativity is a skill that can be practiced and improved. With practice, you will find it easier to come up with new ideas and see things in new ways

You may not know the perfect idea for your next story, but by doing these exercises, you can find inspiration to use as a starting point.

Try out new things that you are not used to doing or getting outside of your comfort zone!

It is essential as an author to continually challenge yourself and push past what typically limits you.

Do you have an exercise that you found works for you? Let us know below so we can all try it!

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