8 Pulse-Quickening Places To Find Inspiration

Where do you find inspiration? If you've got writer's block, don't wait for the muse to strike. Click through for 7 places to find inspiration that you've probably never considered before!

What’s a good place to find inspiration? A poetry reading? A softly lit museum? A quite moment with your journal?

Those are all lovely places – I’m sure! But just as often, I find inspiration in a conversation with friends, yelled across a table in a noisy diner. Sometimes I find inspiration in the pages of Woodworker Digest. (Yes, really.)

7 places to find inspiration


Conversations

I’m sure my best friend is tired of every good conversation ending with me staring into the middle distance and saying “Hmmm. I’ll have to write about that.” But it’s true!

If something’s interesting enough to hold you and your friends’ attention for twenty minutes (not including when you’re talking about The Hills) there’s probably something in there worth writing about.

Related: 16 questions that lead to better small talk 

Photo sites

Use with care, as these are highly addictive substances. You can easily fall into Instagram and emerge three days later with a questionable tattoo and a bad hangover. If you’re ready to give up your weekends to devote to drooling over extra great photos, try Unsplash. Seriously, your internet life will never be the same.

Right brain activities

If I’m feeling really blocked (or ambitious) I try a few exercises that are supposed to help develop the right, creative hemisphere of your brain. A few of my favorites (that I totally stole from an old O magazine)are:

  • Writing (I mean physically, like with a pencil) different ways – in my left hand, backwards, upside down, in the mirror. I swear I can feel the wheels in my brain turning when I do this.
  • Writing a conversation using a different hand for either side of the discussion
  • Engaging in some of those coordination exercises. You know, patting your head while you rub your stomach, etc.

Physical Activity

I do some of my best thinking when I’m engaging in mindless, repetitive physical activity. That sounds pretty sexy, eh? If I’m taking an aerobics class, I need every spare brain cell to navigate all that stepping and kicking, but if I’m hiking or running, I can let my mind wander.

For some reason, I get some of my best ideas while walking to and from work. And if I’m stuck on something, wandering around outside often helps me work it out. I’m sure I’m slowly becoming known around my neighborhood as That Blond Girl Who’s Always Stalking About and Muttering.

Related: 9 fun activities that also happen to be fun

What do I want to know about/see?

Really, the most defining motivation behind anything that I write is creating something that I, as a reader, would want to see.

When I first started reading blogs, I wanted to read one that was funny, smart, thought-provoking and covered all the topics that your average lifestyle magazine would: fashion, travel, design, inspiration. So if I’m reading a magazine or trolling the internet and see a hole in the content (“Where’s the article about throwing theme parties?” “I want to read about non-stuff gift ideas!”) I’ll just write one myself!

Books, movies, magazines, and tv shows that have nothing to do with your topic

Sometimes you need to get out of your field to get out of the box. Click To Tweet If you’re a writer, stop reading Bird By Bird and read a magazine for woodworkers. If you’re a designer, stop watching Helvetica and watch some Saved By The Bell. If you’re an interior designer, read some young adult literature or Cat Fancy magazine. Give your brain a break and a little breathing room. Stop obsessing about Finding Inspiration (because that’s when you’ll probably find it.)

Put yourself in new surroundings

This is why I swear by the DIY writing retreat, but you can shake ideas loose by working for a new coffee shop, a different library, or even sneakily parking yourself in a hotel lobby. Drive to a new part of town, take yourself on a day trip, or just work in a different part of your house. I know it sounds crazy, but it works!

What about all you bloggers/writers/artists out there? Where do you find your inspiration? 

P.S. How to chase your dreams without hating your life

photo by Luis Dávila // cc

13 Comments

Kate @ Très Lola

I so agree about physical activity – for me it's like my bloggy inspiration will only come at inopportune times, like when I'm 14 minutes into a run, heartbeat up, no pen in sight. Awesome. Repeat idea in mind on loop until finish cardio. Blog.

Reply
Sonja

I get most of my inspiration from other blogs! Thankfully, blogging about kids, there is no shortage of blogs with all sorts of different perspectives. I'm sure at some point I'll get hit with bloggers-block, but at the moment, I have more ideas for posts than I have time to write them!

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Harriet

I find a lot of my inspiration comes when I'm trying to go to sleep at night. As soon as I say 'Right brain, time to turn off for a bit and get some rest' it seems to want to do the opposite!

I also think it can help to have some regular features although not too many. For fashion blogs this is often daily outfit photos, or something like your 31 new things before 31 gives you something you can post about each time you complete something that your followers can follow along too!

Reply
The Naked Redhead

I have a couple of tricks:

1. Schedule out your blog posts for a month. Do this during a time you feel especially creative. DO NOT WRITE POSTS during this time, just ideas and topics. You don't have to be slavish to your schedule once it's done, but it's a fantastic back-up plan.

2. Sign up for google alerts in your niche. Every morning, your inbox will have an e-mail chock full of links to interesting articles and features from around the web.

3. Save your IM conversations…they're always fantastic fodder for posts.

4. Like the ladies above said, read, read, read! Subscribe to at least 20-30 other blogs in or around your niche. Also, subscribe or buy magazines in your niche as well.

Great advice, SV!

Reply
ashley.readings

i have no shortage of inspiration between blogs, magazines, the news… but how do you find the time!?

Do you set aside specific blog writing time or do you do it on the fly and then post whenever you have a moment?

Reply
Darcie

dude, we have never talked about The Hills. i wouldn't even really know what that is exactly, except some show on tv. The Hills, pshaw.

Reply
Sarah Von Bargen

Ashley,
I usually write down the idea as soon as I have it (or log into blogger and start a post with a bare outline) and then come back to it when I have time.

Darc,
You're right. We talk about fancy, intelligent things like Nip/Tuck, black knitwear and otters. God, but we are impressive!

Reply
Alexandra

My inspiration comes from the crazy stuff that's happening in my life. Like the places we visit, sh*t my husband says (which is almost always quite funny), stuff I hear on the radio or in the TV shows I watch.
Whenever I get an idea I make a draft in my Live Writer. And when I feel like writing I just go through my drafts, pick one and expand on it.
Right now I'm thinking about writing about "what would you do if you were invisible?" but have no idea what do write…

Reply
Anonymous

Great post!

I'd like to start having better content on my blog, and I look forward to utilizing your tips…….after nanowrimo, of course!

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Sonja

I write my posts in chunks and dole them out so I'm only publishing one per day. Some days have 3 posts written, some none, but I always have a few drafts kicking around. I tend to have more time to write on weekends, yet oddly, more time to read during the week. Funny how that goes.

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Lollie

I'm doing this thing called nablopomo, where you post every day for a month. It is crazy, and I am discovering all these things about my writing that I didn't know about before.

I will never, ever do it again, but by gum, I'm gritting my teeth and getting through it since I started it.

Apart from that, keep your ears and eyes open, and figure out a few good tags/categories into which all your writing goes. It helps! Honest!

Reply

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