Do You Have Great Story Ideas Hiding in Your Own Life?

Carol Tice

By Eric Summers

Coming up with ideas for a story or an article can be a struggle. Fortunately, there is a great font of story ideas that you can always tap. It’s called “your life.”

A good deal of non-fiction writing deals with solving problems. This is why niches like weight loss and getting out of debt are so lucrative for many writers – they deal with solving problems most people face at least once in their life.

Unfortunately, weight loss and money may not be the only problems that we face in our own lives. Although our problems can make life stressful, they also give writers plenty of material.

If you are struggling to come up with something to write about, then focus inward and look at the problems you are personally facing. See if there are any story ideas lurking in there. For instance, I recently realized there are three pretty good story ideas in my own life just waiting to be written:

  1. I had a close friend get sued by a debt collector. I spent weeks helping her handle this situation before I realized it was a great story idea. Debt collectors are an unfortunate part of many people’s lives, and those people need help knowing what their rights are and how to prevent unscrupulous collectors from taking advantage of them.
  2. I have been struggling for months trying to figure out how to buy a new home when I already own one. This is a critical problem for me because I need to buy a new house before I can get married. With the economy as it is and the housing market still in a slump, this turned out to be another great story idea. I hit the folks up at HARO for insight and got expert advice to use in both my article and my own life.
  3. I have a daughter who is 11, and I am always worried about whether or not she is ready to be left alone at home and if so, for how long. This is a big concern for a single parent and chronic worrier like myself. By talking to other parents, teachers, and safety experts, I have enough material for another story.

As a freelance writer, you spend a lot of time writing. You can make that freedom work for you — use your reporting skills to not only help others solve their problems, but solve a few in your own life as well.

Have you written a story that came from your own life recently? Tell us how you turned your life experience into a salable story.

Eric Summers is a freelance writer from Southern Indiana. He can be found over at Professional Writing Services.


  1. Tyrell

    I like to hear stories but I mostly like to read them myself because they sound good.

  2. Jim Syyap

    Good idea. Instead of resisting what is, write it down. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Debra Stang

    Wow–my most recent book, HOSPICE TAILS, tells about my work as a hospice social worker observing how patients/families interacted with their pets. Although the title may sound depressing (who wants to think about hospice, right?), the stories themselves are full of fun and written to make people love their furry friends all the more.

    • Carol Tice

      Great example of how to think even bigger with your life experience, Debra.

      FYI I loved your linked post above, but I can’t figure out where the RT button is on your posts…get that Tweetmeme girl!

  4. Laurence

    I totally relate. I am a type 2 diabetic. I came across a job wanting 30 articles on diabetes. This was only a couple of years after I had been diagnosed and I did not think I even had enough knowledge to write 30 but I accepted the job.

    500 articles later, I have learnt more about diabetes, weight loss, diet and how it all affects my personally as well as the world in general. I have become a bit of an expert and I also write a few for other clients on the same topic. I was also able to write 2 ebooks on the subject, both from my own personal experience.

    I encourage people to dig deep and share their experiences because we soon learn we’re not the only one facing those issues and then they become somewhat easier to handle.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Laurence –

      Thanks for adding your great story! Once you develop the knack of spinning story ideas from a topic, it’s amazing how many you can come up with, eh?

  5. Reesy Floyd-Thompson

    Great piece and very timely. I struggle with coming up with ideas. For me, it’s been the worst part of this freelance venture. It’s as if my brain doesn’t work as an idea lab. But, I’m happy to say that over the past week, I think I stumbled over two viable ideas from my life. I sent queries though HARO and received a ton of feedback. I feel like I might finally be on the right track.

    Thanks Eric and Carol. ~Reesy

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