There’s nothing more intimidating than staring at a blank page and having absolutely nothing to fill it with. Whether you’re looking to write a book, add a post to your blog, or just want material with which to fill your daily journal, there are many techniques you can use to jumpstart your creativity and find inspiration. The solution to your block could be something so simple you didn’t even know it was an option.

10 Ways to Spark Inspiration:

  1. Go for a walk
    • Sometimes getting up and stretching your legs, mixed with a little fresh air, can be just what you need to cure a stale mind. Not only will taking a walk help to refresh your mind and body, but you may also witness something along the way that provides the perfect story idea.
  2. Try something new
    • Writing about personal experiences can make for some of the most interesting stories. Trying out a new activity, even if it’s just once, will provide infinite book or blog fodder. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone either. Go all in and try trapeze lessons or channel your inner American Idol at karaoke.
  3. Make a bucket list
    • It’s likely there are lots of things you’ve mentioned you’d like to do before you die – but have you ever written them all down? Making a list will make it more likely you will actually do all of these things. It can also be the perfect theme for a blog. You can write a post for each thing you accomplish and recount the experience.
  4. Talk to a stranger
    • There are literally billions of people in the world that you haven’t met… yet. Think of how many story-worthy experiences you’ve had. Now think of how many stories all those strangers have in their brains. You’ll never get to hear any of them until you start talking to new people.
  5. Volunteer
    • Donating your time and talent can be rewarding on so many levels. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re helping others. Volunteering can also help inspire you to write – whether it’s about the specific people you meet, their stories or about the specific cause you’re working for.
  6. Listen to great story-tellers. (http://themoth.org/)
    • Putting a story into print shouldn’t be all that different from telling it out loud. If you can witness some of the greats in action, you may find some inspiration and possibly a voice for your own work. The Moth is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting live stories. Visit themoth.org to find live shows or to download recorded ones.
  7. Learn from an expert
    • If you’re trying to write about a specific subject matter, even if it’s just the background for a fictional story, it can help to get some insight from an expert. Thanks to the Internet, it is very easy to access experts virtually. TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, offers a database of talks given by experts on their website http://www.ted.com/talks.
  8. Step out of your comfort zone
    • You don’t necessarily have to try something new and daring to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can literally be moving from a comfortable seat or location (somewhere that you normally do your writing) and trying out a different spot. You’d be amazed at what a change of scenery can do.
  9. Mentor
    • It’s amazing what you can learn in the process of teaching. Becoming a mentor can be a very rewarding experience for you and your mentee. You will get to know someone new while providing them with guidance, but at the same time you will soak up information and learn to see things from someone else’s perspective. Try http://www.seedlingfoundation.org/ for mentorship opportunities.
  10. Unplug
    • Distraction from our electronic devices is something so many of us are all too familiar with these days. Turn off your cell phone, turn off the TV, close any windows on your computer that are not directly related to the task at hand. You can’t fully commit to your work when you are constantly being interrupted by phone calls, text messages, emails or a TV show.

 

About the author

Rachel Rachel Brownlow is founder and CEO of Your Written Word LLC, a ghostwriting company that helps successful and aspiring business leaders take their ideas from conception to publication. She has written, edited, proofread, consulted and/or created publishing proposals for more than a dozen nonfiction books. She also contributes to a variety of magazines and publications, including the Austin Business Journal, Austin Monthly, NSIDE Magazine and Georgetown View Magazine. You can find more of her work at rachelbrownlow.com/portfolio.