Creative Writing Topics

Finding and choosing the right creative writing topics is often the most challenging.Before we can write we need to have something to write about. John Dewey stated it perfectly when he said there is a big difference between “having to say something and having something to say.” So how do we go about finding the right topics?

Here is a list of various techniques that you can use to come up with interesting creative writing topics.

  • Enthusiasm Map. Start with your name in the centre of the page. Branch out by brainstorming everything you can possibly think of that interests you. Use topics, sub-topics and super sub-topics. Find different and unusual ways of linking these different topics. Keep adding to this list regularly and refer to it whenever you need an expository topic. You can write about why you like something, describe how to do something, persuade other people to like something, compare something you like to something you hate or simply write a narrative about it.
  • Frustration Map. Start with your name in the centre of the page. Branch out by brainstorming everything you can possibly think of that frustrates you, ticks you off, things that you simply think are wrong or things that you dislike or hate. Add any horrid or frustrating experiences or attitudes that bug you. Keep this list updated regularly and refer back to it often when looking for creative writing topics.
  • Best/Worst List. Keep an updated list of your “best” and “worst” experiences. Example your best restaurant and worst restaurant. A best holiday and worst holiday etc. These provide excellent starting points for essays in a wide variety of genres. Try some of these best/worst list possibilities to get you started: birthday, restaurant, holiday, present, amusement park ride, class subject, Christmas present, outing, outfit, sport, book, movie, car trip, food, game, field trip, school project etc.
  • Spheres of Interest List. Think about your spheres of interest and influence. Imagine placing yourself at the centre of concentric circles much like those of an onion. The next circle is your own personal interests and family members or people who fall directly into your everyday lives. Move outward into the area of your extended family, school and local community. Dig deeper and move into areas that you have come into contact with nationally, and then internationally (areas such as climate change, global warming, terrorism etc.) and finally philosophical or metaphysical areas such as space. List them as follows: Personal: books, swimming.......
  • Ongoing Topics List.  Look for topics everywhere that you find interesting and write them down.  Newspapers, magazines, books, movies, daily experiences etc. may provide some sources of inspiration or ideas. Make a habit of adding new ideas to this list on a weekly basis.
  • Bulletin Board. Keep a bulletin board in a central location at home, work or school. Keep adding a variety of different newsworthy and topical articles and editorials to the board. You can also add inspiring photos or prints.
  • Personal Credo.   Brainstorm a list using the prompt “I believe......”  Delve into different areas of your life such as your values, religious beliefs, interests, frustrations etc. The statements can be serious or silly, general or specific, real or imaginary. For example: I believe that Dumbo’s Pizza Parlour makes the best pizza on this planet. This list can provide a selection of topics or be combined into a single essay.
  • Free-writing. Set yourself a time limit or page limit and write continuously without stopping until your goal has been reached every day.  Write down everything that comes into your head however random and unimportant it may seem. No censoring and no thinking. Stories real or imaginary, sketching or poetry is allowed.

Use one or all of the ideas above to provide you with an endless source of inspiration for your writing activities. If you have used these techniques effectively, you will have a surplus of interesting creative writing topics to choose from.


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