What Should I Write a Book About?
Both new and established authors often have a difficult time asking the quintessential question: “What should I write a book about?”
Finding that perfect topic and theme can easily be one of the most challenging aspects of the process, but it’s also the first step for writing a book. Creating a unique book with your story takes time and insight. You’ll need your big idea before you can carve out time to start writing your book.
But if you’ve spent hours staring at a blank page unsure of where to start, don’t be discouraged! Every author has their own process of finding inspiration.
So get those creative juices flowing, and consider these tips to help you find your own path to discovering your book idea. And who knows… maybe even becoming a bestselling author yourself!
Many authors use their own story to find inspiration, and for good reason! You know your story and experiences inside and out, and you know how to express how you felt about the hurdles you’ve had to overcome. Hence, transferring these experiences to the page can be easier for many authors than creating a work of fiction from scratch.
So look to your goldmine of experiences to find your book idea!
You can start by turning inwards and considering a few helpful questions:
Looking inward at your own experiences is always a good start, but the inner and outer circles around you can also help you find inspiration.
We all live in a unique corner of the globe, which has its own distinctive characteristics, as well as similarities. So start by examining your hometown, or where you currently live, to see what unique stories could possibly take shape. What makes your locale special? What do you think about when you consider your current home or where you grew up? Finding a perfect location can be a great way to build a story based on the setting, the characters, and the unique local flavor that can’t be found anywhere else.
Who in your life, past and present, has made an impression? If you go back a few generations, what family members and events stand out in your mind? We all have those people in our lives who leave an undeniable mark because they are so interesting, and these folks can often serve as fantastic inspiration for your story.
We’ve talked before about the WHY of authoring a book, especially if you own a business or wish to advance your career. But if you’re needing ideas, you might look back at your journey to becoming a business owner, or prominent in your field. This can help you with the WHAT you can write about! Sharing your journey to success, even in the eventual form of a business card book, will serve as inspiration for your book.
Your book doesn’t have to just be focused on your own story and personal events that you are familiar with. Writing a book should be fun, and you need to have a story that you love and that continually interests you to finish it.
So with that in mind, consider some of the more unique aspects of life that may be miles away, but which nevertheless grab your attention.
These facets can include the following:
A favorite vacation spot.
Do you have a place you love that always makes you smile? It could be a great source of inspiration for writing your book, as well as finding your setting.
A place you’ve always wanted to visit.
Remember that you don’t have to be intimately acquainted with a region to write, and a little research can go a very long way!
A period in time that has always fascinated you.
Many writers look to the past to find inspiration, and you can look back in time for a book idea even if you don’t necessarily want to write a historical novel. What about a time period captures your attention? Why do you find a historical event or time period so interesting? The answer can be as broad or as specific as you’d like, and can pave the way for exceptional writing.
A public figure who has interested you.
Just like finding inspiration from a period in history or a worldly locale, a public figure can also be a muse for the story to come. Think about your favorite historical figures, celebrities, or others who you may never have met, but who left an impression. What about their story and life is compelling? What characteristics make them an inspiration or a notable figure to you? Looking at the qualities of others is a great way to find your own hero or heroine, and their eventual journey.
Many writers have transformed a short story, blog post, or other smaller piece of work into a full-length book. So, starting small is a great way to try out a number of different stories before committing yourself to writing a full-length publication.
Start by creating a few blog posts, or by writing a few short stories, and actively seek out feedback on your work and your ideas! Join and in-person or online writing group, or create a website or social media page for your work to share it with the world. By testing the waters with a few shorter pieces of literature, you can both gauge responses and get some guidance well before the full-time writing begins.
Many people can carve out a story simply by asking questions of the folks they admire. So find loved ones, family members, or just people in your community who you find inspiring, and start asking questions! Chances are that in the course of a long conversation, they’ll provide you with a story that’s interesting and unique.
One of the best ways to find experiences to write about is to live them, so it’s time to break out the bucket list!
Start thinking about things you’ve always wanted to do, or try, or that you already love. You don’t have to go sky diving or take off on a global backpacking adventure to find a unique story idea for your book.
Need inspiration? Try even little things like volunteering in your community, taking up a new sport or hobby, or just trying something new – (like painting or cooking). These can give you a new perception, and an arsenal of new ideas and experiences to draw from for your book.
Writer’s block affects every bestselling author in the world, and a good way to get out of your head is to get out of your office or writing space! Take a long walk, or bring your laptop to local coffee shops, libraries, or other destinations that are worlds away from your own space at home. Sometimes, a little difference in your writing setting – even just for a few hours – can unclog that writer’s block and allow you the ideas to come.
Every author finds inspiration from other writers they admire. Thus the more you read, the more you’ll discover different writing styles, character interpretations, and entirely new worlds to inspire your own story.
The key is to mix up your literature. It’s easy to return to an author or a book you love and that you’ll read again and again. But to broaden your horizons, you’ll need to enlist different voices. Join a local book club to find new ideas, or peruse the ever-changing bestsellers list to see what new titles peak your interest.
If you’re on the verge of writing a book, then it’s a pretty safe bet that writing is something you love, and have done many times before. So mine your own work for inspiration! Look back on past journals, diaries, or even long emails to friends and loved ones and see if you find your story hidden in your own words from the past.
If you want to start fresh, you can also simply sit down at your computer and start typing. Known as free writing, or freestyle writing, the exercise of just writing without any thought as to your content is a great exercise. It will spark the creative juices and to find those stories that are buried in your brain, below a conscious level.
Your friends, colleagues, and people you admire may also be able to provide a little insight or advice on what to write! Ask them the same question that you’ve been asking yourself – “What should I write a book about?” – and listen to their responses. By reaching out, chances are you’ll discover a story or theme that aligns with your personal interests.
A book coach or writing coach can be a huge asset when those moments of writer’s block arrive. And especially when you consult an experienced coach who knows the industry inside and out.
An experienced book coach knows the stories and themes that appeal to both publishing houses as well as readers. They can help you take those stray thoughts and ideas and mold them into a concrete idea for your book. A book coach also knows other options than a traditional publisher, in addition to book marketing experience.
Interested in getting a little guidance and professional assistance? You can always reach out to me to explore your options, and get started on writing and publishing your book!
Identifying what you should write about can be a struggle, and it’s something that every author faces from time to time. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a broad outline as soon as you sit down in front of your computer. It takes time to sift through your life, your experiences, and the things – both past and present – that inspire you to find a story that is unique, and wholly yours.
So take your time, and don’t rush the process. Allow yourself to flex your creative muscles, and don’t beat yourself up if your book idea doesn’t magically appear out of thin air.
Now’s the time to start thinking, get writing, and see what transpires! With a little time, effort and inspiration, everyone can find their story.
Do you prefer in-person training and collaboration to learn how to author, publish and market a book? And in fact, it’s the very reason I created Book Bound! I wanted to help aspiring authors find their voice and their purpose and share their story!
Schedule your visit to meet us in Dallas, TX in June 2020 for the Book Bound Workshop. You’ll learn everything you need to become a published author, plus make a new network of authors for ongoing support!
Join the June Book Bound Workshop here. I look forward to seeing you there!