How to Create an Idea Stash in 30 Minutes a Day

Have you ever wished you had an idea stash?
Writing - How to Create an Idea Stash


A stash is something stored away, usually in a secret place, for future use. Imagine you have to write a story, so you dip into your magical stash and grab a few ideas. You need to write an article or query for a magazine with a fresh angle, so you sneak into your idea reserve and develop an outline from one of your many choices.

In fact you can do it in less time than it takes to prepare one of those supposed-to-be-30-minute-meals.

You will need some sort of timer. If you’d like to use a simple online timer, try You can use any combination of hours minutes and seconds with this timer. Writing - How to Create an Ideas Stash

On Monday: Brainstorm

Think of five subjects you’d like to write about. They can be general.  For each idea, think of some subtopics.

For example: Food articles
Sautéing vegetables – Slurping spaghetti – Frying eggs like a pro – Burning water – Crying over spilled milk – Getting kids to eat vegetables – Being a cake boss – Cooking for two (or one, or sixteen)

Don’t qualify the ideas at this point. Just jot down as many topics as you can that interest you and would interest the target audience. Do this for a full 30 minutes.

On Tuesday: Titles and subtopics

Take some of those ideas and subtopics and brainstorm titles. Start refining at this point. Write out as many titles as you can in the first 15 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, see if you can create 5 workable titles that you know you can develop into some solid points.

For example:

How to Help Your Youngsters Enjoy Asparagus (and Other Veggies)

Can Anyone Become a Cake Boss?

Smart Meal Planning When Cooking for Two People

That last one is the title of an article I sold. Keep at it for 30 minutes. If you finish early, see if the ideas you’ve come up with will spark some additional ideas.

It’s Wednesday: Begin outliningWriting - How to Create an Idea Stash 2

Today, take three of those titles and develop an outline of 3 to 7 ideas that could become the basis of your piece. For example:

How to Help Your Youngsters Enjoy Asparagus (and other Veggies)

Make it the easy choice by making them accessible for snacks

Invite vegetables to the table so they are an expected part of weekly meals

Help your kids develop a taste for them by eating them yourself and setting an example that kids will want to follow.

Get them in on the act by letting your kids prepare meals when possible. Writing - How to Create an Idea Stash 30 minutes a Day

For Thursday: Flesh out the subtopics

Take your best two to three ideas and continue to flesh them out. If you are going to use them for a blog post, keep working on it until the time runs out. If you’re using it for a query, you can develop it enough that you can get a feel for the length and flow of the article and then begin to work on the query if you want to (30 minutes).

Friday: Polish your gem

Polish the one idea you want to use next. For 30 minutes, work on making it shine. If this is a query, prepare it so that it is submission-ready. If it will become a blog post, continue refining it. Work on writing it in your voice and gearing it to your audience. If this piece is an article, start to work on transitions, arguments, openings, and closings.

By Saturday: Pat yourself on the back

You still have 30 minutes today if you need it. You’ll have one solid idea close to completion; but the best part is you’ll have 5 to 10 leftover, topics, titles, or even fuller outlines begun for another day. Now that’s motivating. This method is adaptable for stories, scenes for a play, or even books.

A bit of effort and planning, for 30 minutes a day, will give you a range of ideas for all types of writing projects. If you’ll give it a chance and use this method on a regular basis, you might find that it does seem like you have a magic sack full of ideas at your disposal right when you need them.

If you found this helpful please help me pass it on, or leave a comment below.

Keep writing.

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9 comments on “How to Create an Idea Stash in 30 Minutes a Day
  1. Loena Araya says:

    This is so helpfull! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Max Arthur says:

    I hope I can make it in 30 mins. Although doubtful.
    Max Arthur recently posted…myTonic.netMy Profile

  3. KL Wagoner says:

    I don’t have a problem with my fiction, but I’ve been drawing a blank with blog posts lately. I’m so going to try this method. Thank you!

  4. Jerilynn says:

    There are some great ideas here…something for everyone! My question is the next step. I have notebooks full of assorted writing and seldom lack an idea, but once I have written, I don’t know what to do with it! I have stories, memories, poetry, etc., but I have not taken it past that.

    • Hi Jerilynn, It depends. There are market guides like the one that Writer’s digest puts out which can help to find markets. You can search websites that accept submisions. You can inquire at local papers to see if they print local interst stories or poems.

      In a way you’re doing the next step first. Writing out something completely without knowing where it will go and trying to find a market later is difficult. Although it’s possible.

      It’s better to study a magazine or other market first, come up with your idea and gear it to that audience and need. Does that make sense? Here is another post with some information.

      • Jerilynn says:

        Thanks for your suggestions. I guess I write mainly for my own pleasure and haven’t been concerned about a market. It might be interesting to pursue something else, though, so I will check it out.

    • dmswriter says:

      Thirty minutes a day is a very good suggestion, Peter, and I like how you’ve divided the tasks up into manageable portions. Writing can seem overwhelming if taken as a whole, but broken down like this opens the possibilities.

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