Christopher Cheng

Writing Ideas

Stuck for Ideas


Often I am asked if I can give hints on how to become a writer and so here are a few hints that just might help you. Write, write and write. Read lots of different books and then when you do write – don’t give up. Sometimes the best books might take years of crafting. When you have written your story don’t forget to read it out aloud – to see if it works … and lastly, keep practising.


When I was teaching it wasn’t unusual for my students to pop out of their seats and run to our notice board and write words or phrases on the pages that were stuck to the wall. This was their Ideas Wall (we weren’t allowed to write on the walls so huge sheets of paper worked very well). They used it if they were really stuck for writing ideas – in my class no one was ever able to say that they had nothing to write about.


Sometimes they wrote their ideas down in their ‘Ideas Book’ so that no one else would see their ideas. Most places I go I carry a book with me that I can always whip out and scribble ideas on – and you could also do that. And if by chance I don’t have the book with me then there is often paper nearby – bank slips, shopping dockets, paper table cloths, paper shopping bags – all of these make good places for scribbling ideas on and I have used them all.


I also try to write something everyday. It might be a letter to a friend. It might be something that really stuck in my mind about the day. It might be an entry into my diary. Or it might be the story that I am working on now. Every day I try and write something down. That way I am always working at my writing, trying to make each one better than the one before. Photographers practise taking photographs – and when they are taking magical photos they often try a different technique to make their photographs even better. Artists who create paintings and drawings, when they have painted brilliant pictures often try a different style or use a different medium. And that’s how I see writing – always trying to improve.




Writing Ideas


Until you get your Ideas Book in operation, filled with things to write about here are some ideas that you might want to use.


Some things to write about:


  • Things that you know
  • People you know
  • Your family and all their intricate behaviours and the things that they do
  • Something that you are passionate about … your family, your best friend, your collection of shells, your trip to school, injustice, bullying.
  • Take a picture with a camera, then write
  • A description about the process taking that picture
  • A description about the picture
  • A procedure about how to take the photo
  • Your interpretation of that photo
  • About what comes next
  • Something you remember when you were very young
  • What it would be like to …
  • Ask “What if …” and then write about it
  • How an object works … do some research and then write about it. Then try writing about it in a totally different situation or with different ways of operating
  • Write a description of your room as seen from a different point of view, for example if you were a spider on the ceiling or maybe an ant on the floor
  • The life of a paperclip. They have the most amazing lives!
  • A snail. Such wonderful creatures are snails eating through the foliage in our gardens, leaving silvery trails, getting squashed by human feet or eaten by blue tongues.





Copyright © 2019-2023 Christopher Cheng