Perhaps one of the hardest things about writing is coming up with new material. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, having a good, salable idea is everything. So, where might these ideas come from? Here are just a few starting spots that might spark some creative flow.

1. Real life!Take a good look at your family, your friends, your co-workers, even yourself. You’re bound to find humor, human interest, and perhaps even horror material right in your own backyard!

2. Strangers. If your family and friends aren’t quite interesting enough to provide you with writing material, become a people watcher. Hang out at the mall, your kid’s school, the airport, etc. It won’t take long for ideas to start popping.

3. News sources. What’s hot right now, and from what angle has it not yet been covered? Start seeing news from a fresh perspective and add your own twist to it.

4. Your children. Talk to your kids and listen closely to what they’re really saying. Chances are you’ll learn a lot about what’s important, or at least interesting to their peer groups. Even if you’re not writing for children, getting their perspective on issues can help you see things from an entirely different viewpoint.

5. Travel. In your mind, that is. Mentally go to another country, another culture. If you don’t know much about that country, do a little research. Use the differences in culture and setting to generate ideas for either a fictional story or  a nonfiction piece on history, people, climate, activities, etc.

How about you? What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever gotten a writing idea from?

For specific help using writing prompts, check out Imagination Prompt Generator and The Story Starter.