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Have you ever had days when you just didn’t feel like writing?

I have.

Today’s Lesson

I have lists of ideas for blog posts, and half finished drafts, as well.

Having blogged for over a year, there have been many times when I look at my list of ideas for blog posts.

I stare at them, but nothing inspires me.

Sometimes I reread the words, and they don’t even make sense. The don’t reflect my viewpoint anymore.

Other times I will sit with a blank screen and hope my muse shows up to help me create a post. It doesn’t.

The harder I try to be creative, the thicker the wall grows.

I’ve learned to stop fighting the lack of creativity.

I’ve learned to step away from my blogs.

I get up from my desk, go for a walk, play with the dogs, call a friend, wash dishes, read a book, or go for a (short) drive.

By removing myself from the situation, I regain a new perspective and my creativity reappears.

Today’s Assignment

What do you do when your creativity stalls?

What re-motivates you?


Photo Credit: g-hat’s photostream

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  1. axecityNo Gravatar says:

    I can’t agree more!

    I experience this feeling when my mind is distracted and it’s going here and there like a wild horse, whenever I try to pull it back to me, it goes more wild and takes me away instead.

    In those times, I prefer to stop trying and give myself a break, be it a sleep, calling a friend, going out for a walk, or reading something interesting, and guess what else? visiting other blogs and leaving comments, this really polishes my mind and get my scattered thoughts back to me in someway, I might be able after that to start writing something useful.

    Bottom line, don’t fight your mind distraction, instead, get engaged with something your mind can work smoothly with, and then you can give it another try later on.

    axecitys last blog post..A word to remember

  2. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I completely agree about stepping away! Sometimes just being present with something else all of a sudden clears a path. I also love looking at photography and getting inspired by other people’s creativity.

    Also I like to listen to NPR’s All Things Considered. They have a great way of picking up little and diverse subjects that always gets me thinking outside of my three little kids and that sick kid I saw this morning and all the laundry that needs to be done.

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Should You Let Your Child Watch Television?

  3. Barbara,

    It’s great to hear that I’m not the only one who uses catalysts of creativity when I need some inspiration.

    I’ve been away from my blog a bit recently, and it’s been quite difficult to get into the habit of writing regularly again.

    Thanks for the reminder that blogging isn’t all there is to life :)

    David | beplayfuls last blog post..Why Clowns Make the Best World-Changers

  4. Wendi KellyNo Gravatar says:

    Julia Cameron’s Book The Artist’s Way to the rescue if it is looking like a longer dry spell.

    If it is a short thing, then one of a few things. Maybe I’ve over used the well and I need a refill of inspiration. I need to go DO something inspirational instead of just writing about inspirational things. Go BE, go DO, go SEE, go LISTEN.
    That is my mantra for those kind of days. Refill the well.

    OR…I’ve been procrastinating about an unpleasant task or an unpleasant task has landed in my life and I can’t hear the Muse over the racket of that chore. Best to get up and go get it done or set a timer and work on the unpleasant task for a set amount of time so that I can go back to work guilt free.

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..A Spring Rain

  5. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I find that you always have to think like a writer. If I sit down at the computer and nothing is coming, as far as a blog post, I get up and do something else.

    I like to write entries ahead of time. I don’t write something and post it right away. This gives me time to actually contemplate things. And days I come up empty, I still have something to post. Sometimes I write posts a week or two ahead of when I will post them.

    What inspires me? Magazine articles, books, television shows, music, my career, real life situations. Draw from everywhere. Think like a writer all the time. If something sparks an idea, write down the idea write away. Even if it is only a phrase. Then next time you sit down at the computer you will have a few starting points.

    Chase Marchs last blog post..Survived by Stuff

  6. I get stalled when I don’t think that I’m providing the value that I should. What that signals to me is that I need to dig a little deeper and try to uncover something that no one has tried to do before. It’s hard, but most bloggers want the easy story. If I can go a little further then I am giving my readers more value than even they expected.

    When I’m truly passionate about a subject I expect my motivation to waver every now and again. That’s okay, but if it wavers too long like some of my other past blogs I have to decide to push through the dip or give up (reference to Seth Godin book – The Dip).

    When we just push a little harder then take a break and then push even harder, we eventually find what we truly want to give our readers.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..The Google Slide

  7. When my creativity stalls, I don’t really have any strategy other than to do something else. Right now I don’t have a shortage of ideas, but sometimes I can’t find the way to express those ideas. And so I sometimes come up with a few sentences, but can’t figure out how to tie them together. No problem, I just do something else. And then an idea will come to me when I wasn’t even thinking about blogging, and then suddenly I’ll know what to do.

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..What Is An Ebook Worth?

  8. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I could have written Hunter’s comment!!!

    What Hunter said. :)

    Seriously, I am too new to this to not have ideas, but sometimes the words don’t come out right. Stepping away really is the best thing to do because it allows your subconscious to keep processing the subject.

    Marelisa mentions it in 4 Steps to Unleash Your Creative Genius.

    Vereds last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: The Glamor of Air Travel

  9. So far I mostly feel like I’m still on the honeymoon with my blog! But there are certainly days when the writing comes more easily than others.

    I agree with Wendi, it’s often that I really should be doing something else, which erodes my concentration and creativity. So I’ll force myself back to my “day job” or some housework. The housework has the added benefit of getting me up and moving – always a good thing!

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..Managing Paper Pile-Up, Part One: The Mail

  10. JennyNo Gravatar says:

    ACK! This just happened to me last night. I was composing a post related to some experiences of recent days and I got so tired and bogged down (or blogged down) that I read it over to myself and then said, “I do not feel sufficiently moved or inspired to finish this and I can’t imagine who would care to read it if I did.” So I went to bed. I was really tired and I usually cannot write anything worth shooting when I need sleep.

    But to answer your question, what I usually do when creativity stalls is to go away and occupy myself in other ways (like vacuuming the floor or doing all the household chores I semi-ignore when I am writing) and wait for inspiration to wash over me again, like it tends to do, in waves. Lots of times I have to take a long walk.

    Re-motivation often occurs when I read something excellent that someone else wrote … a great essay or a fantastic poem or a chapter of a tremendous book or a witty blog post.

    Jennys last blog post..When The Moon Hits Your Eye

  11. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    That happened to me for the first time last week. Well, I had something on my mind that I really wanted to write about, but I didn’t feel like I had everything straight in my mind to write about it. So I looked at my huge list and nothing inspired me. Finally, I came up with a really good post after much debate on which topic, but it was a real challenge.

    Getting away certainly does help to clear my mind in any situation. Taking a walk in the field with my dog can do wonders or just taking 30 minutes to sit and let my mind rest and relax.

    Jennifers last blog post..Will Someone Please Just Listen to Me!

  12. Ellen WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    Oh yeah Barbara! All the time!

    I do nothing. Sometimes my mind gets to cluttered and I have to defragg it. So I do nothing but give my mind a rest.

    Blogging for a year is a great achievement. Congrats to you. I have been blogging for approx six months and I am beginning to understand the time and commitment that you need to do a proper job.

    I think Vered put it nicely. E

    Ellen Wilsons last blog post..Pouring Yourself into Purity

  13. Well, when you blog every day, it can be draining. I guess slowing down could save the big picture?

    In my blog, I made a plan upfront to pace myself and post only 2 to 3 times a week. I also put in a plan to incorporate other people’s ideas and insights in the form of interviews and guest posts.

    In the beginning, this felt so slow. I had a long list of ideas to write, but I forced myself to be choosy and go slow.

    Yet, the blog grows as I and my business grow. Yes to Me was originally meant to be “For Tomorrow’s Successful Entrepreneurs” (this was the initial tagline), but as it developed, I just couldn’t help writing articles about life purpose and spiritual growth. I try to put it in the scope of entrepreneurship. Not sure exactly if it’s working that way. I need to meditate. . . (Hey it helps to nurture creativity!)

  14. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Since I’ve been busy at work, my creative blogging juices has been dry. When this happens, I pay more attention to my day to day conversation with my family and friends. The topic that usually arouses passion or my reaction will be the lucky topic winner for my next post. My post for today is a perfect example. I couldn’t think of anything to blog but this morning before leaving for work, I had a conversation about my hair with my wife and the rest is blogging history.

  15. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    What do you do when your creativity stalls? I don’t post and I don’t worry about it. Most of my posts come to me. I just kind of know when I should blog about something because the post writes itself in my head. If nothing comes, I just wait. I have one draft waiting, but it’s not ready yet.

    What re-motivates you? – Reading.

    I guess I would say go on about other business and something will speak to you and when it does, you’ll know it.

    Naturals last blog post..Some Like It Hot

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Axecity,

    Visiting other blogs is a great way to gain more creativity, isn’t it? We take our mind off of our writing and can enjoy someone else’s.

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    Photography is a great distraction from writing, and is often good for inspiration too.

    Hi David,

    You’re right, there is much more to life than blogging.

    Stepping away from it (for however long is needed) often gives us new found ideas and inspiration.

    Hi Wendi,

    I like your mantra ” Go BE, go DO, go SEE, go LISTEN”. That does fill up the well, doesn’t it?

    Hi Chase,

    Writing entries ahead of time is a good habit to get into. That helps to take the pressure off when we can’t think of anything to post.

    Hi Karl,

    Asking ourselves if we’re providing value to our readers is very important. Although that can put even more pressure on us, if we ride through it, the results can be phenomenal.

    Hi Hunter,

    Well put, and so true. Isn’t it amazing how stepping away from blogging will give us that spark we were looking for?

    Hi Vered,

    Having a lot of ideas to draw from is a great starting point.

    Thank you for sharing the link to Marelisa’s post.

    Hi Ann,

    It’s interesting that you mentioned the same thing as Wendi. If we have other projects that need our attention, they can distract us from being creative. I agree.

    Hi Jenny,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Like you, if I’m tired, I cannot write. A nap or a good nights sleep becomes essential.

    Isn’t it amazing how the lack of creativity inspires us to do those chores we put off? Can you imagine what our houses would look like if we were creative 24/7? 😆

    Hi Jennifer,

    Walks with animals are a great way to distract us, aren’t they? The animal usually needs our attention and they don’t care if we’re creative or not.

    Hi Ellen,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I like that…. “defragg our minds”. That’s exactly what we’re doing, isn’t it?

    Hi Akemi,

    Creating a variation in your blog posts helps. With you it’s interviews and guest posts, and for me, I have Tuesdays for the New Blog Of The Week. Others like Vered and Debbie Yost, use Wordless Wednesdays.

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chris,

    With that comment, you made me curious. I’m headed over to your blog as soon as I finish replying to my comments.

    Hi Natural,

    Sometimes it is best to not post, isn’t it? Fighting our lack of creativity and/or putting undue pressure on ourselves will just exacerbate it.

  18. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara: I have a post up over at The Change Blog which explains that creativity experts have identified “stepping away” as one of the steps of the creative process. First you concentrate really hard on the task at hand, which normally stimulates the left side of the brain, and then you go do something relaxing and fun, which will help you stimulate the right side of the brain. So when I’m sitting at the park near my home having lunch, I’m actually creating.

  19. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, I just saw that Vered mentioned my post above, thank you Vered.

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Marelisa,

    So, that’s why that works.

    Thank you for sharing the technique with all of us. It’s making sense.

    I’m headed over to your post to read “the rest of the story”.

  21. I tend to get blocked after working on a particular series of paintings (or another art project) and so i start another project or go back to yet another that has sat, often for years, I have canvases from the late 1980’s that aren’t done yet hehe!

    I think it’s helpful to just do something different when you get blocked, it’s a sign from your subconscious!!

    Darren Daz Coxs last blog post..Fragonard vs. Dali landscape in progress! Part one

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for sharing from an artist’s viewpoint. It’s nice to know us writers aren’t alone in creativity stalls.

    Your 1980’s canvases can be advertised as “masterpieces in the making for 20+ years”. :)

  23. I had a similar problem about two weeks ago and then one day, bam! I was in the zone and shelled out 5 blog posts in one day (unheard of for me).

    I know what it was. I was talking with my father and brother about the economy and gas prices. How gas prices affected contractors like us (hence my article on gas prices and how it affects businesses differently.

    Just from the conversations I had with them and my opinion I had on the subjects inspired me to write a few posts.

    I find just taking a little time off and watching a movie, even for a day or two, doesn’t really recharge anything for me. I really need to “feed” off of something to get recharged.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..Which Philosophy Do You Subscribe To?

  24. Barbara – wowza! I literally just wrote a post about this very topic.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..10 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog Posts

  25. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John,

    Wow, just like that, you got 5 posts written. That’s great. I think that means you are starting to think like a writer.

    Hi Mark,

    Spooky! We must be on the same wave length.

    I’ll come over and check out your post.

  26. Barbara, I just celebrated my one year anniversary for my blog. For the first six months, I wrote two articles a week and posted them on Wednesdays and Sundays. Starting around Christmas, I started slowing down a little. The words sometimes didn’t come as easy and I worried that I was maybe running out of steam with the blog. I didn’t want to quit but I didn’t want to be tied down to a writing schedule that took away from my creative urges either. I didn’t want my articles to feel forced just to make a deadline that I had set for myself. My best writing comes when the words just flow from my mind onto the paper so I decided to do away with schedules and write when creativity struck. In the past two days, I have written three articles—one guest author article for someone else and two for my own blog. One of the articles I posted yesterday and Sundays article is sitting waiting to be posted on Sunday. It doesn’t always flow like that. Wherever I write is ok. No more pushing myself just for a schedule. A lot of my inspiration does come from the other blogs that I read. I am a recent subscriber to your blog and I am enjoying my reading so far.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Why Do We Get Stuck In The Blame?

  27. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I do have some idea’s jotted down, but usually something comes up if I just give it time. Kids have a way of always giving you something to write about.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Meltdown on the 12th Hole

  28. LOL! I currently have 400 half baked posts saved to drafts! You know what inspires me the most though? A good picture. When I am shopping for pictures I want to write a blog about each one. Oftentimes I write my blogs backwards to match the pictures.

    A picture truly is worth a thousand words!

    Dr. Nicole Sundenes last blog post..Stress Management Tip: Subvert Unfulfilled Consumerism

  29. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    I’m big on working only when I’m inspired. And when it hits, well… I go for it and write as much as possible. Right now I’m finding that coming up with topics is easy; I have a huge backlog. It’s finding the inspiration to turn those ideas into quality posts that is more of a challenge. (It’s exactly like you describe–eerily so!).

    So many people suggest reading to get inspiration. Lately for me, it’s the opposite. The more I read, the less I write. I’m into having a blank page to fill. That’s inspiring!

    Saras last blog post..This Too Shall Pass: Dealing with Disappointment

  30. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia,

    First of all, congratulations on your one year anniversary of blogging. That is a great accomplishment. :)

    I think it’s good that you discovered what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to blog, and by trying to do what others do, will often stifle our creativity. By finding your own blogging rhythm, your creativity is unleashed.

    Thank you for subscribing. I appreciate it.

    Hi Debbie,

    Isn’t that wonderful how that works? Between the pictures you share and the stories you have to about your daughters, you’ll never run out of things to write about.

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    400???? WOW!

    I agree, pictures are great for inspiration. It’s fun to write a backwards posts, isn’t it? :)

    Hi Sara,

    You hit the nail on the head “turning ideas into quality posts”. We need our creativity engaged for that.

  31. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – That beach is lovely. Is that where you live?

    I know the feeling – especially re: looking at things you’ve written and they don’t make sense anymore.

    As you know – I just stop blogging when I really don’t feel like it. But if I’m just going through a mini brain block, I wait until I’m over it then write a heap of posts in advance.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Are You In The Business Of Misery?

  32. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    No, unfortunately I don’t live on the beach, but the picture made me wish those were my footprints.

    I know you are taking a well deserved break. With your creative abilities, once your break is over, you’ll be back on track sharing all you’ve learned with your loyal readers. I always look forward to your words of wisdom.

    Until then, take care, my friend. :)

  33. Barbara –

    I’m so new to blogging that I haven’t encountered moments of emptiness yet but I’ve had thoughts about facing these moments several times before and in due course, I’ll face those moments. I’m glad that after reading this, I know what to do when the moment arrives. :)

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.coms last blog post..How to Live a Recession-Proof Life

  34. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Shilpan,

    Yes, just look in my archives or email me and I’ll remind you what works.