It’s prep week for Blaugust Reborn, which is also sort of the NBI event for this year as well. Mentors were asked to get something written up to inspire the newbies, and it’s funny because I have had a case of writer’s block for the past couple of weeks. I dug around through old posts and found one that I originally used as a guest post on my Sister’s blog (though she doesn’t seem to be writing much anymore either). The post in question was about finding inspiration to write, and it’s very fitting at this moment due to my own difficulties as of late. It was never published here, so I suppose getting it migrated over for posterity is also a good thing. I haven’t changed any of the content of the post otherwise, so I’m thinking I might be able to write another updated version of this later in the week and see how much different my thought processes are now as opposed to then. With all that said, let’s get to it!
Originally Posted January 15th, 2015
We’ve all been there.
You’re staring at a document — you opened it with the intention of writing something, anything really — and now is the time you realize that you have no idea what to write about. Those fleeting thoughts you had before you went to sleep the night before should have been scribbled on the bedside table, but you were too lazy to commit them to paper. Your late-night muse long gone, you have to find some other form of inspiration.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, a short story, poetry, or a blog post. Writing is tough.
Let’s share some of my background, perhaps to give my words more weight. I have been blogging for ten years. The Couch Podtatoes Podcast is my brain-child. I’ve also been in more than one band (though only one where we played live shows), and lent my lyrical skills to the task. I don’t have lists of books I’ve written or anything else to share on that front, but suffice to say I’ve spent much of my adult life writing.
It may be different to compose blog posts on a regular basis as opposed to writing a literary masterpiece, but I do believe that the techniques I have learned and used translate quite nicely. Coming up with new show ideas for the podcast or lyrics for a song can be just as challenging, just as rewarding, and each requires a certain amount of polish, creativity and must be done within a certain time frame. All of these facets add up to the penultimate accomplishment, even if that goal is just for today, and you have to start anew tomorrow.
Now that I have matter-of-fact-ly lumped all creative endeavors into one category, let’s get down to some tips for finding your muse, when none seems to exist:
1. Inspiration is hard to pin down, because it usually strikes when you least expect it. In years past I might have written an idea down on a notepad; these days I just make sure to make myself regular notes on my smartphone when the ideas come.
2. If the ideas aren’t coming naturally, try researching the topic further on the Internet, or simply browse randomly. I have written hundreds of posts that were inspired by others’ writing.
3. Stay focused on the task until it is done if you can, but don’t be afraid to take a break or let your mind wander for a while. It’s likely you will come up with something when you don’t stress yourself out about it.
4. Listen to music, watch TV or movies, and view artwork. Others who have found their muse can brush off on you. I tend to write more fluidly when I have music playing in the background.
5. If, for whatever reason, the above doesn’t work for you, you might consider putting that project on hold. Sometimes your mind has new ideas it wants to get out first, and it’s okay to come back to an old project later. Some writers don’t release their best work until the middle of their careers. There’s nothing wrong with scrapping that which won’t work.
That’s about all I have for today. Happy Creating!
2 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration Where There Is None”
My wife is working towards her Bachelors in Accounting after being away from college for 20 years. She has been working in an accounting department for more than 20. She has the knowledge, but invariably every class has a paper to write. Now you have to think back 20 years, we really did not have the internet as we know it today, and she had a typewriter. So some of these requirements actually had us both looking online for formatting. She has been pulling A’s in every class she’s taken and is down to the last handful. But I recall about a year ago she needed help. She had to research the 2014 United Airlines year end accounting report, find some specific aspect in it, and write 6-7 pages about what she found. So I jumped in to help her out. I have to say, these past years blogging, thinking of something out of the blue, and just writing about it saved the day. What helped was taking the information that was dug up (the report was 315 pages) and taking that information and talking about it using her own experiences in life, and with work. She gave me the info and how it related to her. The professor sent her a note saying
Thank you, that was the most personal, and meaningful paper I have ever seen on this topic. The way you talked about how your life and work experience gave the topic so much depth. You aced it.
I look at blogging in the same way. If you can write from the heart, be it good feelings, or talking about something really bad, telling it from your frame of reference can make it so much easier to write.
Thank you for the post.
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