How To Come Up With An Idea

Mmmmm… that feeling. The feeling of being stuck on a writing assignment. The feeling of writer’s block. The feeling of wanting to do something new and interesting (because you are bored) but not knowing what to do.

This feeling of being “stuck” is not a good feeling. You can get this feeling in many circumstances for many reasons, but it all boils down to one thing: not being able to come up with an idea. It’s pretty tough when you have a writing assignment due tomorrow or you need to finish a short story but you have the worst case of writer’s block. Or when you are bored out of your mind, and you want to start something new and interesting, but you don’t know what to start!

Those ideas won’t come up with themselves! So, let’s get to it.

  1. Stop. Take a break. Staring at your computer screen hoping an idea will come to you is not going to work. Do something active. You can try:
    1. Taking your dog for a walk (or just taking a walk)
    2. Jumping on your trampoline (if you have one)
    3. Doing burpees, jumping jacks, or pushups
    4. Play tag with your siblings!
    5. Run around the block as fast as you can!
    If it’s not too cold, try to go outside. The fresh air will help. Although the goal of taking a break is to let your brain refresh and stop thinking, you should avoid these activities, however much they might entice you if you really care about getting an idea:
    1. Searching the internet for random stuff or reading gossip websites – the internet is extremely distracting and should be avoided!
    2. Playing video games or watching TV – it is easy to get “sucked in” and you will end up playing Apex Legends for a lot longer than you anticipated.
    3. Text or meet up with a friend. Since you don’t want to spend too much time taking a break (you have to get back to work at some point!) chatting or hanging out with a friend is not a good idea because you have to set a time limit for your breaks, and leaving at this exact time will be a challenge if you meet up with a friend because they will be confused and hurt if you just randomly get up and leave them.
    4. YouTube. We know that this kind of falls under the “watching TV” category, but we thought it needs its own category. Now. YouTube is a lovely time waster. A great place to spend hours on end at, getting more and more distracted, your eyes turning square from staring at the computer screen, watching your favourite YouTube channel’s new video. And like we said before, you can spend hours on YouTube. So don’t do it! Don’t watch YouTube, at least while you are trying to come up with an idea.
    5. Read a book. Now usually KidMag encourages reading! We love that kids read because it is a much better way to entertain yourself than YouTube or video games. But, books can actually be just as distracting as video games because they keep you on the edge of your seat so that you have to read more to figure out what Harry is going to do next. Reading is a time waster too, so if you are serious about coming up with this idea, then put the new Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book down!
    Remember that you should only spend about 15 minutes on your break, or you will stop making any progress altogether.
  2. Don’t think about it. This is pretty vague, but basically what we mean is ignore the fact that you are stuck. The idea will come to you more easily if you just let your mind run wild.
  3. Ask yourself these questions:
    1. What could I do that is different from what other people would do? Do something that is not just coincidentally different, but purposefully different.
    2. What kind of idea are you coming up with? Get your brain in the right place. Focus it on what you are trying to do, because if you just tell your brain to “come up with an idea”, it won’t be specific. Tell your brain what to do.
    3. Why do you have to come up with this idea? Is it because you have to do it for school, or is it just because?
    4. Is there anything significant that happened in your life recently? How did you feel during this event? Channel that feeling and use it to help you.
    5. What would you do as a five-year-old?
    6. What are you trying to get out of this idea? Are you trying to get a good mark on a school project, or is it something else?
  4. Ask someone else what they think you should do. Two heads think better than one! You could ask your mom, dad, friend, or if it’s a school assignment, a teacher! They will often have great ideas and cause you to think about things in a whole new way.
  5. Play the, “What’s the first word that comes to your mind?” game. Grab a friend or family member and ask them to say a random word. Then you respond by saying the first word that comes to your mind when they say that word. And they do the same thing. Let’s say you asked your aunt to play with you. This is how your conversation could go:
    Aunt: Peaches.
    You: Orange.
    Aunt: Red.
    You: Blue.
    Aunt: Sky.
    You: Clouds.
    Aunt: Plane.
    This process could be inspiring and help that idea come to you!
  6. Write a journal entry. If you don’t already write in a journal, then start one! Write about your day, or the busy week ahead of you, or whatever you want as long as it is about your current life. Writing in a journal will make you think about things you have done in the past (which could help you think about what to do now), relax you, and inspire you!
  7. Sometimes all you need is a dash of inspiration! Try looking at KidMag’s 52 Inspirational Quotes.
  8. Brainstorm! Get out a sheet of blank paper and just write down anything that comes to mind. If you already kind of have an idea, elaborate on it. Title your page “Ideas” and bullet point any ideas that come to mind, even the ones you hate. The ideas you hate could be used for inspiration later, or they could be turned into something similar yet totally different!
  9. Have you ever done a picture prompt to write a story in school? It probably helped you a lot, because chances are, once you saw the photo, you already had a story idea brewing in your mind. Try using photos, in the same way, to help you come up with an idea!  You can look at old family photos, or look at the interesting pictures below:
    heart shape multicolored stand
    Photo by Simon Matzinger on
    orange white and pink smoke digital wallpaper
    Photo by on
    person wearing white shirt standing
    Photo by Thorn Yang on
    feet legs animal farm
    Photo by Gratisography on
    sunglasses woman girl faceless
    Photo by Gratisography on
    woman posing sideways
    Photo by Ike louie Natividad on
    citrus close up fresh fruit
    Photo by Lukas on
    Photo by Public Domain Pictures on

    If you want more photos: you can check out our “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” article.

    Hopefully, you have figured out what your idea is going to be. If your writer’s block or boredom hasn’t been cured, try repeating the steps over again. Sometimes you will notice something new that you didn’t notice before if you do something again…

So, did you come up with your idea? What was your idea? Let us know using our contact page!