10 New Ideas for Getting Inspired to Write

10 New Ideas for Getting Inspired to Write

Reader Comments (64)

  1. Hi Jon,
    I love the feather idea – in fact I always take a break to do something strange (I’m strange I guess) and it really does work. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I’ll pretend to play the piano with my keyboard – all kinds of crazy letters flood the screen. Somehow after I delete all of that gobbledy-gook, new ideas are able to get through. I had no idea it had anything to do with the interrupt concept.

  2. I love the idea of writing a letter to your internal editor, ha ha. What usually works for me is getting off my butt or spending some time meditating and clearing my mind.

    Great post, loved the humor.

  3. Hey Jonathan,

    Awesome list you are giving us again! But a peacock feather in the pants. That has to be the wildest thing I’ve heard someone say for inspiration.

    Chat with you later…

  4. #5 – Get off your butt – It’s amazing how many great new ideas swim around in your head if you just walk. Head out the door and don’t forget to take a notebook with you. Sometimes it takes a few blocks, sometimes a few miles but there’s something about getting the blood pumping and being alone with your inner self that inevitably produces creativity.

    I believe this is why Stephen King never misses his daily walks – it almost killed him, but it’s produced some great stories…

  5. Hi Jon,

    I think for many writers, finding inspiration to write isn’t too much of a road block. Finding inspiration to write WITHIN A GIVEN FRAMEWORK (whether that’s a specific medium, a pre-determined corporate style, a fixed word count or in an unexciting industry) is the really challenging part. In most cases, working writers have a lot of constraints that attack motivation like acid. Your ideas are awesome for blank-slate copywriting, but are there some tips that might apply when you’re faced with a lot of up-front constraints?

  6. I have to say you guys never cease to amaze me (or let me down). Just TODAY I was think of how I feel totally uninspired and don’t feel like writing at all this week but I know it’s vital to help me stand out from my competitors who I don’t think do as much writing.

    Thanks for the much need push and to Brian and the crew, Thanks for Scribe! I just signed up yesterday and i’m thinking we (not sure when I got involved) need to come up with a package some day for unlimited analyzes 🙂

  7. Fantastic post Johno! I’m always looking for methods to thaw out a mental freeze in my adventures of becoming a copy-writer. I began the AWAI course you recommended and trust me m8ty. There’s never been a better way to arouse the muse going through the AWAI exercises!

  8. I got stuck on something re-reading this post. It’s “If writing a rant helps you do that, go for it.”

    I hadn’t read this yet but amazing how it tied into something I was going through about a week ago trying to write a post. I didn’t know what to write and starting thinking of things that infuriated me and I came up with a post on my other site entitled, “Grace Under Pressure – What Does It Mean To You?”

    Basically, its a post about how I get tired of some people’s “you should suck it up and be grateful” attitude in response to the things I am going through with my son who has seizures.

    I got mad enough at “those” people (and no one in particular) and wrote a pretty darned good post with my rantings 🙂

  9. I have to say that I never considered browsing through concept photos to spark ideas for posts, but I just popped over to iStockphoto and found some ideas already! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. First post iv’e read on your blog Jon & my first comment. These are really inspiring & interesting tips to get people writing. I’ve never really liked the idea of writing but if you can also rant & rave about things I’m going to give it my best shot.


  11. I sent an email to one of my favorite writers asking for her writing secrets. How does she defeat writers block? How does she handle the editing process? What are her secrets?

    This is what she told me: “I don’t have any sort of system really. I sit, I write, I edit and then re-write. Repeat, repeat, repeat.”

    For me, this has worked. It’s a stubbornness that says “I am going to sit here and work, if the ideas won’t come, I will sit here anyway and write”.

    Not a strategy for everyone, but certainly it will help some people. It helped me 🙂

  12. That was a very unique list. I can relate to your dog’s relentless pursuit of the trash can as well. I have my own issues with that.

    Looking to other areas of art for inspiration can be n instant lightbulb for ideas. Artists have been borrowing ideas from each other forever, so there is no reason that you can’t incorporate that into your writing as well… just like the philosophers say, there is no original thought… so you might as well get borrowing.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  13. Some real interesting ideas Jon… some I follow
    regularly like getting up and walking or sitting very still…
    clearing my mind…waiting… they both work.

    I also go clean the kitchen up sometimes… that kills 2 birds… getting clean dishes and my mind percolating!

    Thanks for the istock photo idea! that’s another kind of
    kill 2 birds idea … I should think of a different metaphor lest someone rants about killing birds!

    Andrew Billman makes an excellent point with:
    “Finding inspiration to write WITHIN A GIVEN FRAMEWORK (whether that’s a specific medium, a pre-determined corporate style, a fixed word count or in an unexciting industry) is the really challenging part.”

    That is exactly when we need new ways to get inspired to


  14. I would add: Read through your readers’ comments. They have great questions, inputs, suggestions, and ideas that you can easily address and turn into a post.

  15. @Ann, that’s always a good one. (I think Jon may have pointed to that in his first post, he links to it here.)

    @Fran, washing dishes is a good one for me. Actually, anything with water. Taking a shower is good as well.

  16. Jon,
    Point# 10 covers all other points. “your writing is an extension of who you are.” Basically with all other methods, including sticking a peacock feather in your pants, what you are doing is changing your internal state, which is the primary source of your inspiration and creativity. Great post, it comes straight from your heart!

  17. Lately my inspiration has been coming from “external pressure” from joining http://www.750words.com — this has taken the place of running my own blog as the external pressure source.

    Whatever you write gets processed into a little personal-zeitgeist page so you can analyze the sum of work for trends / recurring themes.

    It’s mostly for fun, or maybe serious writers trying to pull themselves out of a rut!

  18. Jon,
    Thanks for a great post! I use photos all the time to help me with my posts, sometimes to give me some visualization ideas and they sometimes even help me with titles.


  19. @Simone, Thanks for pointing out the link! I see it now. I should’ve figured you guys got all the bases covered :).

  20. “People might think you’re crazy, but hey, you’re a writer. You’re supposed to be crazy. ”

    Love this line! I will have to remember that the next time tells me I am crazy, for whatever reason.

    Thanks for some different from the usual tips here!

  21. Thanks for the great spurs in each of your inspiring ideas. For many of them, I needed the reminder. For a few others, I’ll go for them – looking for a feather right now!

  22. Synchronicity: a half-hour ago (before I read your post), I was checking out the Wikimedia Commons photos for the first time, and in seeing a photo—a Blink moment—had an idea for a blog post. I’m sure your 2-10 will work just as well too (though I think adding a little Jack Daniel’s to the coffee softens any jitters).

    Going to sternly lecture my soul-sucking heap of mediocre idiocy now…

  23. Love the ideas Jon. Not sure how much my teenagers will like coming home to find me dancing naked but…I’ll bet they’ll stop bringing their friends over without calling first!

  24. Love the post! I would add that replacing caffeine with Wine works. Hence the greatest inventors were big wine drinkers, after office hours of course..


  25. Hi!
    I believe much in pattern interruption. When I break the boredom, I always have more results in my posts.

    Probably when I use something that shock readers, like a contadictory image, I have tested that there are more likely that readers will remain involved on the blog post.

    When I have shocked my readers with amazing photos, I have had many more visits compared then when I use a great title in the blog post.

    Thanks for your 10 precious ideas.

    My hand on my heart,

  26. I scan loads of posts every day, but it’s not often I make it to the end of one. Thanks for an insanely useful post Jon – especially timely considering I’ve set aside the entire day today for writing/marketing etc. Looking forward to throwing some water in my face and dancing round naked – I’m sure my baby will find it amusing!

  27. Thats awesome. From this point forward I will always try to remember to say.. ” Thank you for being my number 8″ when I find myself in a ridiculous debate .. just that…
    Maybe even after every facebook posting..lol

  28. Very funny ! I have also seen a mouse trap with a tiny red ball where one would put the cheese and a tag that says”Customer Complaints-Press Here”


  29. @Andrew: These ideas can help you get moving, but they can’t make you do something you don’t want to do. It sounds like that’s the problem. My advice: either reject the framework or reframe it in a way that makes it interesting for you.

    @Mike: There’s some truth to that. A big part of being a writer is really committing to it. On the other hand, I don’t buy into the argument of forcing yourself to do it, whether you want to or not. Any writer who says they have that much self-discipline is either superhuman or lying. For most of us, the secret isn’t doing it whether we want to or not; it’s figuring out how to make ourselves want to.

    @Kat: That’s quite a compliment. Thank you.

  30. Loved the last tip! Intensity is something that I had been lacking. Now, I know what’s the problem and will work on diagnosis!
    I feel sorry for Louie! The method was effective but painful! 🙁

  31. Love Tip # 10 – Intensity and inspiration! I also find reading something totally unconnected also gives me the break I need. I come back refreshed and ready to attack.

  32. Great post and great ideas. I always find that always having a notebook with me when I am out and about is a great way to capture ideas. Especially when I see things that amuse or annoy me.


  33. All ten ideas are excellent. I also used to tell my students (when I was teaching) to change their location, especially if they found that they’d plan to write when they went home after work, and then get caught up in the pleasures or responsibilities of being there. If, instead of going home, they went to a library, bookstore, hotel lobby, park, etc., they’d delay the gratification (or obligation) of being home. It pretty much worked for everyone. Although I now write at home, I wrote my first several books out of the house, so I can promise you that it makes a big difference. I have additional tips in my free online writing tips, which you can find at http://www.rachelsimon.com/tips.php.

  34. Jon,
    A colleague sent me this article and I have been greatly inspired! I especially loved your advice on how to deal with your internal editor…lol. I also find that utilizing a “pattern change” is helpful, though I tend to stay away from feathers…Thanks for sharing your wisdom and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  35. This post inspired about 10 new posts for my blog. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! And you’re right… mediocrity breeds mediocrity. It’s my goal in life to always rise above mediocre and push for greatness. You rock, Jon!

  36. Thanks for the inspiring ideas!
    Under the topic of unlocking your unconscious mind, I often find that I come up with some of my best ideas for content for my web site as I am just drifting off to sleep.
    Keeping a pen and notebook bedside has been helpful to help me retain these ideas and follow up on them in the morning.

  37. HaHaHa!! I was laughing after I read writing the letter to you internal editor and I’m gonna shut him up for good!! HaHAHa!

  38. These are really great ideas but sometimes, I find it difficult to write or to continue writing not because of no idea, but pure laziness, tiredness or the motivation to keep writing.

    I don’t know why. Perhaps I was making comparison to those who never writes but making much more than what I am doing by getting other people to write for them.

    Hm…perhaps I need a shift of mindset.. Jon, what do you think?

  39. I laughed when remembering a thing about writing, like when you say ‘Take a hit of the caffeine’. Sometimes I make the mistake so often made it look just a little work.

  40. I like the letter to the internal editor idea! I often write a rant on a subject and then take ideas from the rant that can be made into a post, these usually have more passion when generated from the rant.

    And for the Dr. Pepper V’s Mountain Dew argument, Mountain Dew is by far the winner!

  41. I think that this post is very helpful for people that have writers block. I am the type of person that has no problem writing when I have allot of research and materials to back up what I am talking about. But sometimes when I have the task of writing things that appeal to the public or specific publics I can freeze up. This doesn’t happen often but when it does it is not a fun experience. One thing that I usually do is watch some tv or do some household chores. Many an idea has come to me while doing laundry or cleaning my bathroom. I think that from now on I will try to employ the tips you have given here.

  42. One of the best posts on ‘getting inspired’!

    P.S – ‘So you think you can Dance’, inspires me too 🙂

  43. About that “letter to your internal editor” thing… I actually did something like that recently. I got really mad that I couldn’t write, so I started writing anyway. It started out with me wondering why I could write, and in the end it became a full-blown rant toward the “silent assassin” that kept killing my stories before I even got on the page. The whole thing was a page and a half, typed. It did shock the assassin into silence for a little while. Unfortunately though, that bastard just never wants to leave. I think that “closed door” suggestion might help me, though…. I always worry about whether I’m writing everytihng right, or whether my story is good enough… but maybe you’re right… I should just WRITE.

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