21 Proven Ways To Find Inspiration For Your Stories

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Bonus tip: Bookmark this story for future inspiration!

Yesterday I was chatting with my friend Prithviraj Pillai and he was asking me how to find inspiration to write stories regularly on Medium. I thought it would be a great topic to write about!

For the month of January, I was aiming to improve my writing capabilities and figured that by writing one story per day, I really should be improving.

But to be honest, I was afraid I would not really know what to say. I thought that after one week, my inspiration would run dry.

I could not have been more wrong!

Turns out I have much more to say then I thought I would. Back in mid-February, I was starting to lack subjects and took 3 days off. When came time to start again, I was overflowing with ideas.

But I didn’t understand how.

So when came time to answer his question, I dug deep into what inspires me to write what I write and I came up with this pretty exhaustive list.

I hope this will help you find inspiration for your next story!

(The ratings I put below are about how frequently I use a trick to come up with stories. 1 means not frequently, and 5 means very frequently. This will be different for everyone. Feel free to make up your own rating.)

Answer A Question

1. Any Answer You Give To Someone Verbally

During your day to day conversation, almost inevitably, someone will ask you a question to which you’ll have an answer. Pay attention your own answer, and if it is insightful and useful to the other person, chances are it probably is interesting for your audience too.

Just don’t write about your answer to directions to the toilets, it’s not a very interesting topic!

My rating: 6/10

2. Write About A Great Answer Someone Gave You

One of my favourite story from MR. Molly Maguire is The Best Piece Of Advice I Ever Got. It’s a genuine story about great advice he received from his Trading Advisor. If you receive great advice from someone, pass it along to your readers!

My rating: 3/10

3. Answer A Question From Your Audience

I’m very often inspired by questions or comments I receive in the comments section. People tend to have good follow up questions to things you’ve written in your story. I’d say about 20–25% of my inspiration comes from that.

My rating: 8/10

4. Browse Quora For Questions To Answer

Quora has an incredible amount of great questions waiting to be answered on any topic. If your answer is in long format, consider moving it over as a Medium story. I believe that’s how Nicolas Cole started, and look where he is now.

My rating: 6/10

Be Aware

5. Pay Attention To Your Conversations

I like to think that I’m a good listener. When people talk to me, I try to genuinely get what the other person is saying and take mental notes on the key points of a conversation. Frequently enough, even in regular conversations, a good topic comes up that’s worth writing about.

My rating: 5/10

6. Listen To Other People’s Conversations

Sometimes you overhear people talk about a topic of interest, or argue about something. Without realizing, you make up your own opinion on the subject in your head. Articles with multiple points of views make for interesting stories in my opinion.

My rating: 2/10

7. Just Pause And Look Around You

A lot of my stories from January and early February come from me taking a moment to look around me at The Living Room or at the beach. There’s something inspiring about watching other people do things, or gazing at nature.

My rating: 7/10

Consume Quality Content

8. Read Books On The Topics You Write About

Chances are, almost everything you highlight in a book is a good topic for a Medium story. There are too many good books to mention, but I’m currently inspired by Tribe Of Mentors (Tim Ferriss), Willpower Doesn’t Work (Benjamin P. Hardy) and Principles (Ray Dalio).

My rating: 9/10

9. Listen To Podcasts On The Topics You Write About

Again, big shoutout to Tim Ferriss on that one. His podcast, his guests and his questions are just that good. Again, a lot of my January stories are inspired by answers provided by his guests.

My rating: 9/10

10. Start With A Quote

When I started writing, and even to this day, whenever I read a story that has a quote that inspires me, I write in down in my quotes collection. Back in January, I made a compilation and shared here: 41 Short And Powerful Quotes To Make You Feel Unstoppable

Any of these quotes is a good starting point for a story.

My rating: 7/10


11. Re-write An Older Story Your Previously Wrote

I often write about my 3 new skills a month approach. I try to come up with a different perspective and with new ideas on the subject, but ultimately, it’s just the same story, packaged in a different, and hopefully more interesting way.

My rating: 4/10

12. Write On A Topic You Read From Another Writer

I started reading on Medium 6 months before I started writing. Every day, I would read stories from Nicolas ColeAnthony MooreBenjamin P. HardyZdravko CvijeticElle KaplanTom KueglerTim Denning and more. A lot of their stories inspired me to write my stories.

My rating: 7/10

13. Talk About A Relatable Story From Your Past

You’ve lived a more eventfully past than you think. Did you grow up in a weird/different family context? How was high school? How was going to college? How was your first date? Your first kiss? Your first job? Chances are you’ll find a few interesting things to write about.

My rating: 3/10

Do Things

14. Attend Events

There are tons of great events in pretty much every city in the world. I usually find them on meetup.com or through Couchsurfing. When you attend events, both the topic and the people you meet will inspire you to write.

My rating: 2/10

15. Practice Physical Activities

Back in January, I started getting more serious about fitness. I was obsessed with it. To some degree, I still am. I wrote a few stories on workout routines I’ve tried and worked or didn’t work for me. Physical activity is a hot topic and many people are looking for new things to try all the time.

My rating: 3/10

16. Travel

As I’m writing this, I’ve been the top travel writer on Medium for almost a month. I have traveled quite intensively and my travel stories resonate with a lot of other travelers. Same with my nomadic lifestyle. Anyone who travels a lot will have a few stories to share. By the nature of it, traveling tends to be quite eventful.

My rating: 6/10


17. Give Your Top Tips On Things You’re Good At

I don’t like bragging and saying I’m good at things, but sometimes I’ve got good productivity advice worth sharing with my audience. I even did talks on the subject. You can get audio to my latest talk: here. If you’re good at something, share it. These stories tend to do really good.

My rating: 5/10

18. Talk About Things That Worked And Things That Didn’t Work For You

I experiment a lot with activities and skills. Sometimes the experiments work great, but sometimes they’re epic failures. A good example is Tim Denning’s story from yesterday where he failed a public speech. It’s personal, emotional and shows his vulnerable side. Readers love that.

My rating: 6/10

19. Talk About Your Hard Skills

Are you a skilled graphic designer? Guitar player? Programmer? Tattoo artist? Cook? Any hard skill you have is an interesting subject for your audience. You don’t have to be the best in the world at it either. Be honest, and give your best advice, with no pretense that your tips are the best in the world.

My rating: 1/10 (I don’t currently write about my programming skills)


20. Listicles Just Work

Don’t know what to write about? Just make a list about pretty much any subject and people will read it. With few exceptions, listicles tend to do much better than the rest. I think the reason is because they tend to be bite-sized and easy to read. Most of my top stories are listicles.

My rating: 4/10

21. Quotes Are Powerful

Building upon “Start With A Quote” and “Listicles Just Work”, assemble a series of related quotes and write a story around them. People love categories, and when they’re about quotes, it’s powerful. People smarter than us have written started things then us, take advantage of this. My top highlights are always quotes from other people.

My rating: 5/10


I hope some of these inspirations will work for you as they did for me.

Now it’s your turn. Be the writer you’ve always wanted to be. Stop looking for topics to write about and start writing thanks to these tips!

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)