Finding New Story Inspiration


Shutterstock / Andrea Danti © inspiration

With the festive season now behind us, I thought I’d highlight how you can find inspiration in the simple things — like upcycling old Christmas cards.

Card upcycling

What is upcycling?

Essentially, it’s the creative reuse of an item into something of value or worth. With Christmas cards, recycling can be an issue if they are covered in glitter, glue and other artificial embellishments. But they can be upcycled in numerous other ways.

Gift tags – you can cut up your cards and attach them to next year’s gifts.

Bookmarks – fiction lovers no longer have to put up with dog-eared pages as old cards can make perfect page guides.

Decorations – if you are craft-minded, you can assemble your cards into next season’s festive gift boxes, baskets and tree decorations.

Fiction upcycling

Quite often on the Fiction team, we’ll receive messages from writers saying they are struggling to come up with ideas for stories. Fiction Ed Lucy’s Writing Prompts is a good place to start if you are looking for visual inspiration.

You can also use images and verses on cards as writing catalysts. At this time of year, you might think that’s all well and good if you want to write a Christmas story. But it doesn’t matter if the story matches the original source or not.

After all, the imagination is least effective when studying an item. Instead, it benefits more by engaging the senses around it.

When I send images out to writers, I always say to them that the goal is always the finished story, regardless of what inspired it in the first place. You can find more information here.

So, before you dispose or recycle this year’s Christmas cards, pause and see if you can do anything with them first. You never know – a new decoration or story could be waiting to be discovered.


For more fiction advice from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.