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3 Tips to Figure Out What to Write About

I’m frequently asked, “I’ve written a book – what do I do next?”  The next most common question I hear is “I want to write a book but where do I start?”  Here are some of the things I suggest people do when they don’t know what to write.

First of all, write what you know.

You don’t have to write your life story, but you could use where you live or where you grew up as the setting for your story.  No need to invent a street when you can picture it in your head as you write.  You could also use an incident from your own life in the story – anything stand out as particularly great or particularly horrifying?  Has anything that happened to you that would capture a reader’s attention?

Second, you could write what you wish could be. 

Set your book in a place you invent – create a whole different world, or make everything happen in the future or past.  It’s your book – you can be as creative as you like.  Describe life the way you imagine it on a different planet, or in a different time.  Sometimes once you get started describing a place you get ideas of what could happen there.

Third, write something to teach another person. 

Every single person knows something that someone else doesn’t.  What do you know that you could teach?  Try writing it to different groups – how would you teach a group of children what you know, how would you explain it to a police officer, and so on.  Once you figure out what you want to teach, you can figure out what kind of audience you want to write to.

Do you have any tips when people ask what to write about?  I’d love to hear them below or at!