So, for the past two days, I have been sitting here, looking at this WordPress post editor, waiting for things like WORDS and IDEAS to come to me. Sometimes I have a reserve of a couple ideas jotted down. But more often than not, I open a post and then kind of wing it.

And sure, sometimes I struggle with ideas. FINE, I often struggle with ideas. But this is the third week in a row that I flat out could not think of a topic for a quasi-decent bookish/blogging discussion. At all. The well has run dry, I have used up the scant reserves I’d had… So, I decided to basically tell you all the places that did not inspire a really awesome blog post. Because… might as well work with what I’ve got, eh?

These are the things I usually try for inspiration… and the epic failures they produced.

1. Looking at my laptop screen in desperation

What I Hoped For: An epiphany? Magic? A pop-up ad with awesome blog post ideas? I don’t know, this literally never works, does it? Well, fine, every so often it does, but it’s rare.

What Actually Happened: This shouldn’t really be a surprise, but endless hours of looking at my laptop, followed by some time gazing across the room, at the walls, (and longingly at my bed!) basically led me to… well, the same big old blank post I had to begin with.

2. A bubble bath

What I Hoped For: Sometimes, I can relax in a nice bubble bath, and then things will just kind of pop into my head. It’s nice, but it’s risky, because I can’t write them down immediately. The key is to kind of exit the bath soon after, to write it down. But that’s a moot point, because there were no ideas to be had.

What Actually Happened: I started reading Glamour, since I won’t take books in the tub (obviously, they’re my babies!), and there was an election article. I started getting pretty stabby at the people defending… certain orange douchey candidates, and lost all focus on anything else, and went into a tailspin of panic about the future of humanity as a whole.

3. Driving

What I Hoped For: The open road, Hamilton, and me tuning out my kids in the backseat leading to an awesome post idea. Again, this means holding the idea in my head until I can write it down, but I can live with that.

What Actually Happened: Hamilton earworms, construction, and a kid screaming that she had to pee in the backseat.

4. Right before falling asleep.

What I Hoped For: This is when a good chunk of ideas come to me, actually. I will be kind of thinking about the day, and since the last thing I do is blog and read and such, it makes sense that this is a time when ideas would come to me. This happens even more regularly when I have trouble sleeping, which I have had lately, so I assumed this could work.

What Actually Happened: Insomnia, the occasional panic attack, and mostly thinking about really ridiculous shit, like “crap, what was the sell-by date on that beef?” or “I don’t think I’ve seen my winter coat in about 3 years” or “I wonder if changing the color of my WordPress dashboard totally destroyed my creativity?”. Seriously, stuff no one needs to think about at like, 5:00am (or in the case of that last one, ever).

5. Asking my friends

What I Hoped For: That my friends would be virtual troughs of information and ideas, and would shower them upon me because of course they wouldn’t want them for themselves. I won’t lie, I offered to pay them to think up topics, but that didn’t work either. And if you can’t bribe your friends, who can you bribe?

What Actually Happened: My friends, while awesome, aren’t actual blogging magicians, but they did listen to me bitch and whine about it, so they’re clearly keepers.

6. Looking through my bookshelves and Goodreads

What I Hoped For: Sometimes just thinking about a certain book will help, I will think of a theme in a book that I wanted to talk about, or covers of a book, or books on my TBR, or whatever (hey, if I knew what I wanted to talk about, we wouldn’t be reading this, yes?)

What Actually Happened: I rearranged some bookshelves. Contemplated doing a couple #bookstagram pictures and got lazy. Screwed around on Goodreads for about an hour. Basically, did nothing productive.

7. Giving Up

What I Hoped For: Sometimes, when you throw in the towel… that is the moment something comes to you? Right? Like the whole “watched pot never boils” phenomenon?

What Actually Happened: Literally nothing. So I did this post instead.

So I must know: Where do you all find inspiration when your mind is just not having any of the creative thoughts? Do you have any tips or tricks?

Posted October 28, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 29 Comments

29 responses to “Where To (Not) Find Inspiration

  1. Winging it is my life. Seriously for the longest time I winged EVERYTHING- I had posts going up cause I scheduled them but they weren’t done (yeah- idiot) so I was editing after it went live, or I was trying to d a TTT post on Monday night lol. And for a while there I couldn’t think of a discussion topic to save my life. So I get ya. This post is awesome though so you did fine. 🙂 And lol about orange douche candidates. Who looks orange at 70??? the guy’s frickin 70.

    #3 ha ha. That’s all needs be said. And #4- yes! I get ideas when I’m in bed too and then it’s like should I get up and write it down, or will I remember? You just get all comfy and THEN a post idea.

    Sadly I have few tips. 🙁 One thing that’s saved my azz this month has been sciFi Month starting in Nov. so that sorta jump started my post ideas because I had something to focus on- SF type stuff. Some discusion post ideas came to me that way. Oh and Pinterest. I just joined and a lot of art and crap over on there has given me ideas.

    • I find it hilarious that you scheduled unfinished posts, that sounds like something I would do too ? As for TTT on Monday night… well I don’t think I have ever NOT done one on Monday night. Oops?

      And no one should look orange,but definitely not at 70. Seems like if he is that rich, he could afford a better spray tan? ? Or, you know, skip it, altogether? (Though let’s be real, his orangeness is probably the LEAST offensive thing about him at this juncture)

      The question of whether to get out of bed is A STRUGGLE. I have started just yelling voice memos into my phone… and then forgetting I did so in the light of day. So I clearly have no solutions.

      Pinterest is such a time suck for me. I repin the most useless stuff: Hunger Games and The 100 edits, drink recipes I’ll never make…. good times. I hope you have better luck ?

  2. I literally seem to have no ideas at all recently either, so I’ve done a lot of staring at my laptop, hoping an amazing blog post will just write itself. It never does though 🙁
    I do keep a running list of ideas, so generally I have a read through that and think ‘what was I thinking!’ about every single one and then am back to where I started.
    Great post, anyway! I can totally relate to all of this right now. I wish I had some amazing tips to give you on getting your inspiration back, but seen as I’m in the same position I unfortunately have nothing 🙁

  3. Most ideas come to me right at that point when you’re about to fall asleep. So then you have to decide if you’re going to sleep, and forget the idea forever (because there’s no way you’ll remember it in the morning), or give in to inspiration and not sleep for hours. ‘Tis a difficult balance.

  4. Oh gosh, lying down in bed to “find inspiration” IS THE WORST. DO NOT RECOMMEND. I send myself to bed early to “think about my book”…hahahahhhaha. #lies I end up sleeping and thinking about nothing and it’s very disappointing. Sheesh. My brain is so traitorous.
    omg I cannot look at an empty screen either.? It freaks me out! But I actually find trawling Goodreads and looking at my recent reads helps a lot! And also reading other blogs! Not to copy of course, but just seeing people blogging and constantly filling my head with creativity often gets me amped up and excited to blog. And if all else fails I find a questionnaire somewhere and fill it out.? #SO MUCH WIN

    • I actually did this last night, about the book thing… and IT WORKED!! I have a quasi-plot, Cait, for the first time in the more than year long percolation of this story! But I’m also a hopeless insomniac and night owl so… that makes sense I suppose! I like the questionnaire idea! And I DO often get ideas from reading blogs- well, mostly from responding to them, and writing novella comments which get out of hand and lead my mind down a rabbit hole ?

  5. Loved this topic! Finding a great idea for discussion is hard and even if you have a list of ideas (like me), it’s still hard to actually write the post! :’) Looking at laptop screen NEVER works! Sometimes I have this great idea of what I want to work with but as soon as I open my wordpress page, everything just vanishes 🙁 and yes to driving! I always hope driving will relax me and sparks some ideas but what usually happens is me singing to radio songs while occasionally shouting at careless drivers who seem like they never learn how to drive properly. Pffft the traffic in my city is pretty bad like that </3 however, brainstorming before bed actually works for me. I always have my notebook/phone in hand to write them down. Great post <3

  6. Oh yes. I can very much relate to this. I’m blaming one point that you made especially: I think stressing about a certain orange douchey candidate actually running our country has made it nearly impossible to focus on anything else for long. Any time I think about it, I start to feel all sick and panicky and wonder how on earth my fellow human beings could have gotten us into this predicament. I must actually be living in a paranormal novel right now and they are under a spell, right? Or maybe it’s just a dystopian? Where are the dystopians about just complete idiots running countries? It’s much more menacing than it sounds. (I actually DO have a discussion post idea based on politics and books, but I haven’t gone there yet. This might be the week.)

  7. The Cheeto-dusted candidate has also been impacting my creativity. This election has been exhausting. I want accurate information about the issues, but everything is biased and hateful. Luckily, I voted yesterday, so nothing that happens can impact my vote anymore.

    Discussion posts are also challenging for me. I’ve been book blogging for 3 years. It’s hard to find topics I haven’t discussed already.

  8. I laughed out loud with this post, Shannon! But at least in the end ,you found inspiration (bwahahah). I usually find my inspiration in the shower. I don’t take baths, but something about standing in a shower and washing my hair makes me have the best ideas. I use twitter as inspiration too, because what ISN’T happening on twitter?

  9. Haha I totally get this. I feel like I’m struggling at the moment actually – I’ve been so busy studying and whatnot that blogging has taking a back seat for the last two weeks which means I haven’t had anything planned and it just seems insurmountable. I’ve found a couple of ways to sidestep this for sure though, I still try and get reviews done and they are what they are, but I also look for book tags whether I’m tagged or not because they don’t require thinking. There’s also a website called “days of the year” and I often make discussion posts or lists themed by what day is being celebrated. Failing all of that, I just read!

  10. I was WIPED after last week’s read-a-thon, plus my family and job wanted me to make up for the neglect, so I simply gave myself permission to not blog this week. And I didn’t.

    Ironically, when I came over to your blog, my first thought was, “Oh man, she always has so many fun and creative posts!” Then I opened this particular post and had to laugh.

  11. Love this! I’m afraid I don’t really have any helpful tips for you though. I’m often wondering where people come up with blog post ideas. I actually wrote a few these past couple weeks and I need to schedule those, but that’s surprising since I rarely do discussion posts. I want to do more though! Ideas…hard stuff.

  12. Shocking, you would think some of these ideas would work for inspiration. The just going to sleep one tends to be a point I feel like I get a lot of ideas. Also, in the shower. It must be something about the warm water and the fact that I spend about five minutes actually showering and about 20 just thinking about useless crap.

    I don’t really know where my inspiration comes from but it tends to hit at moments I can’t take full advantage or when I’m not near a computer to type out some stuff. I think you just have to wonder round and hope for the best and try and not stare at blank screens as that never works, trust me.

  13. Honestly? I either have twenty post ideas at once (one or two of which actually get written), or I just pretend my blog doesn’t exist and watch Netflix for two months haha. I guess writing other posts usually gives me ideas? Like, they may not even have anything to do with what I’m reading about, it’s just one of those random thought spirals you have (or maybe that’s just me) that leads to a completely different topic, because focusing on one thing for more than thirty seconds is obviously asking too much. For example, while reading this post, I randomly got the idea to write a post about writer struggles to honor the beginning of NaNoWriMo because I was thinking about how writing can feel isolating, so I went and started that, and then I got bored after writing the introduction, so I came here to finish reading your post, because did I mention I can’t focus on anything for longer than thirty seconds? 😀 I really suck at thinking of discussion topics though, so I can’t actually give any advice on that. I liked this post though, so kudos for writing a good post even when you have no ideas!

  14. LOVE your ideas! and your humor in this post I was cracking up! I love reading magazines in the bath as well, especially Glamour! Is it bad if i say I only take library books in the bath with me because I don’t want to ruin my own? That sounds really bad now that i said it!
    Sometimes looking at other people’s blogs and their posts gets me excited to blog and then the inspiration comes after that!

  15. ♥ this post! And sometimes it’s like trying to et blood from a stone, you just CAN’T! I wait for inspiration to find me, honestly. I will in the middle of real life and/or work and a great idea will just come to me. Sorry I don’t have a better trick but I think these things happens when you’re not trying. And look, you got this awesome post (and perfect GIFs) out of being “uninspired” so I would say you are doing pretty awesome ♥

  16. LOL YES THIS IS ME TOO. And I mean you can pay me to come up with blogging ideas, but they won’t necessarily be good, ok? Also this is kind of me right now with this week (and honestly it doesn’t help that the whole thing that happened last weekend killed my mood).

    Um. Can I pay YOU to give me an idea. I don’t know what I want to blog about. Writing sucks

  17. A lot of my post ideas come from Harry Potter… but I try to think about different aspects of books that like or what’s going on… generally, ideas just pop into my head and by the time I sit down to write about them I have a long list to choose from. My problem isn’t usually finding ideas, it’s actually sitting down and writing the dang blog posts.

  18. The irony in this blog post is that you could claim that since none of those things gave you any inspiration, now you had inspiration. Which makes everything kinda backwards… if you get what I’m saying xD Not sure if that makes any sense but ANYWHO… I don’t really ever go looking for inspiration? I have a lot, and I mean way too many ideas at random moments. I always write them in this notebook, so when I need to go back to writing a blog post based on inspiration I just flip through until something interests me enough to write about it.

  19. I definitely been feeling this struggle! I think I once wrote a post about how do people get inspiration for discussion posts because I really don’t what to talk about, haha. I always try to keep a list of “ideas” so when I’m super struggling, I might have something. Ideas usually occur in the middle of night, with either a)no way to write it b)too lazy to do or c) brain is too tired and think that sure I’ll this, it’s a great idea, and proceed to forget by morning. Unfortunately my list is on low right now, haha.
    Hope you get your inspiration soon!

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