As writers, our brains are constantly taking inspiration from our own lives and using this to create stories in our own voice. However, it is inevitable that once in a while, we will get stuck in the vortex where ideas just can’t seem to flow. Here are 15 ways to find inspiration for your writing in the world around you.

1. Read books from your favorite author

Reading a lot has always been the key to being a good writer. If you love a writer, you probably subconsciously emulate them. Reading their work will only make your work better.

2. Read a newspaper

Newspaper stories cover the best of the best and the worst of the worst in our society. And what a coincidence—books are about that too!

3. Read magazine covers

Magazines, especially the kind near the grocery checkout counter, are fantastic at making up stories about all sorts of characters. When you think you’ve heard it all, they’ll be there with more.

4. Listen to music

Written lyrics often hold a musician’s life and soul in them. One of the reasons we love our favorite songs is because we connect with these situations.

5. Watch movies

Although movies can sometimes be formulaic, they often hold good dialogue or specific scenes to take for inspiration.

6. Look at art

Art, whether it is paintings, drawings, or even sculpture, holds the same feelings as music can. Use the emotions you feel in your writing.

7. Look at photographs

Photographs can work the same way as art—however, since these are real life objects instead of created material, a different kind of inspiration can be created.

8. Study history

History is so exciting it doesn’t even have to be made up. Base a story on real life historical heroes, villains, or set a story in a historical period you find interesting.

9. Talk to people you know

Your friends and relatives experience things differently than you can, and the only way to know how other people understand situations is to get it straight from them.

10. People watch

Not only is watching complete strangers a good way to pass a time while waiting, but it is a good way to get inspired with ideas you would have never thought of without standing in line at that Starbucks.

11. Go outside

Plants, animals, and fresh air are great for inspiration and also for getting away from the computer or paper pad when you’re stuck in a case of writers’ block.

12. Find writing prompts

The internet is full of prompts to get your creative juices flowing when you can’t think of an idea on your own. Go check them out and just write for practice.

13. Look in your journal

If you are writing a daily journal, there could be inspiration just waiting to be used inside the pages of the seemingly random writings you have already created.

14. Reread your old writing

There are probably some things you’ve written that you are a little bit embarrassed to go back and look at. However, these writings can be good inspiration for trying these ideas again from a different angle or even just going back to the editing board.

15. Relax

Sometimes the best way to get inspiration is to turn everything off. Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable place, and simply let your mind go wild. You never know what will come out when you least expect it.