10 Tricks For Getting Inspired to Write

10 Tricks For Getting Inspired to Write

Reader Comments (107)

  1. Hey Jon,

    Thanks for sharing these quick tips. Sometimes I get stuck with a headline. I never thought about picking up once of those wacky magazine to get ideas. This is money in the bank!!!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Nice post Jon.

    I really like the idea to listen to music. I enjoy music sometimes when I am in writing mode. The beats sometimes inspire me to write something completely different. I also like the idea of talking to your readers – after all, isn’t it about them?

    I also have written a post on my own blog about other ways to get inspired for your writing. One idea I like is to just get out and away for awhile – I have found LOTS of ideas just going out driving or taking a walk.

    Thanks again Jon for a great post.

  3. I would like to add my two favorites to the mix as well:

    1. Walk the dog. There is nothing like being outside, looking at nature, people, wierd-ness that can really spark some interesting ideas in your mind. Just go for a walk where your cusotmers might be.

    2. “Automobile University.” You can get an MBA-worthy education in your car for FREE just by listening to business books on tape in your car (or whatever niche you happen to be in).

    These books on tape/cd will spark thousands of new ideas for blog posts.

    Speaking as someone that posts every day without the luxury of guest-posters, this has come in extremely handy for piles of good content.

    Happy idea generation,

    Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  4. Great post! I’ve struggled getting my blog rolling (ok, I’ve struggled getting it even crawling) and your tips here are fantastic!

  5. If you’re stuck for ideas, just get in the shower. You have no pen, no recorder, nowhere to log all the ideas that seem to flow straight from the shower head into your brain. I’m only sort of teasing.

  6. Nice tips. The last thing any blogger wants to do is write (especially on deadline) when uninspired. I like to take a head clearing dog walk, or, if that’s not an option, I browse past blog posts on the same topic to see what’s in the comments. I might even toss out questions on Twitter or Facebook to see if the ensuing discussion might trigger a few ideas.

  7. I especially would like to thank you for the magazine and quotations idea. You’re definitely on point – sometimes I really do feel queasy at the thought of writing for my blog. This is especially true after I’ve written a really great post. I feel emptied out – like, what now?

  8. Loved it. Some of these are things I do–some are things I’ll try. But why, when you have nothing to say, is it never an option to just shut up and say nothing? Sure, I understand business demand. But as a consumer of material, I’d rather read ONE killer blog a week than have to slog through 7 of them to find that one pearl.

  9. Really loved this post and all the wonderful tips you share.

    I like to go to coffee shops and while enjoying a cup of something (many times it’s Yerba Mate Latte), I people watch/people hear. Always have a pad and pen at the ready!

  10. Jonathan – it seems you did what you set out to do. By giving your readers 10 tricks for getting inspired to write, you inspired bloggers to give you more…
    And isn’t that exactly what we want to do every time we post a blog? Yes, we want to inspire readers to think and act. Bravo! Job well done.

  11. The shower one works for me as well.

    My new favorite trick is to take the laptop somewhere without internet access. Shutting the door on all that distraction seems to work wonders for me. 🙂

  12. I’ve found a trip to the library really helps, browsing the spines of fiction books. In many cases, the titles are totally over the top, but they’re also sharp and succinct — a great way to begin writing.

  13. what a great help this has been, Jon.
    i have read over a score of such tips, but almost all left me without a light in the darkness i find myself in. you see, inspiration (the ‘ideas’ part of inspiration) is exactly what i wrestle with, but not the lack of it… i have to wrestle with having too much to say. and the ‘intellectual-ising’ stuff leaves my heart withered and dried.
    i have not found – till today – a suggestion that would help me to find a way to ‘thread’ all the different points that swirl in my head… in a way that makes my heart sing. and no, mind-maps etc don’t work because they may help in finding ‘connectors’… pipes… but what i need in those agonising moments is the ‘flow’ of life that will bring ALL the points alive like a single organism.

    because of this, your point no. 2 made me sing in sheer delight. and so did the 3rd, 5th and 6th. and it inspired me to add my own for myself – reading poetry.

    in fact, what i have written so clearly above (about my real issue of finding the heart, or flow of life) came to me BECAUSE of this post. you helped me nail my beast. and i have had this ‘boogey-man’ under my bed since (at least) 6 years, which has kept me sitting on the bed with my legs off the ground in utter terror.
    with your post, and what it brought for me, i will now be able to get my feet wet.
    thank you so much. for happening by.
    love and warmth.

  14. I would add one more tip – don’t try. If you’re blocked, go do something else entirely. I get 99% of my ideas when I’m half asleep in the early morning. That’s when I’m just half dreaming, half thinking about my day. Creativity comes naturally. Another one that works for me is playing golf early in the morning (by myself). Great ideas come from walking around the golf course. I’m sure the same is true for jogging or mowing the lawn.

  15. I agree, and I’d add:

    Like proofreading, just imagine someone is challenging you to write by saying, “There’s no way in hell you can write.”

    Personifying inspiration-block helps to unleash that “write or die” mentality.

  16. I often find inspiration with a quick trip to the mall. Also, visiting an art gallery or museum of art has helped if I really need to shake things up.

  17. I love the magazine advice. That’s pretty cool. Why not go to a bookstore for ideas? They’ve got tons of them.

    One other thing that gives me ideas of posts to write is to read comments. It’s amazing what pieces of gold are found in other people’s opinions.

    Good stuff. Happy Good Friday!

  18. Thank you for these ideas that gives me energy and ideas to work differently. I love N°2.

  19. You mean you don’t recommend driving out into the desert with a suitcase full of drugs? 🙂

    I loved this post. I just started blogging so I have a ton of ideas for posts written down, but these tips will help me expand upon my ideas.

    I find that listening to classical music makes me very productive, but music with lyrics interrupts my thinking and makes it harder to write. And another good way to listen to smart dialogue is in stand up comedy.

    How do you go about finding famous sales letters? In any copywriting book in particular?

  20. Hi Jonathan, Enjoyed tips (and comments). Inspiration for writing happens to me in many places. As I go about my day in the car, talking with people, reading, watching TV, etc. ideas pop into my head. I capture them if I can (paper and recording make great idea traps) but then the perspiration is needed. Writing five minutes straight (stream of consciousness) seems to be a good small step. Small enough to do and powerful enough to get new perspectives. What comes up can be developed or discarded. The discipline of getting it out without judgment (is it good enough?) can be very helpful… Now I’m going to quit reading other blogs (and perhaps take a shower…thanks Beki). Have Fun, Jim

  21. This post came at the perfect time for me today….I need to write:) Quotations for me really inspire and invoke thought. I’m just back from a conference. I heard quotes from all the speakers that will absolute be the inspiration for future blog posts and videos for me.
    And, yes…I always have to have fun.
    Susanna Fera

  22. Thanks Jon. I especially agree with asking your readers!

    a) They know what they want and more often that not inspire you!

    b) They come up with problems or needs that you’ve never heard of before.

    Win Win really

  23. Very powerful tricks that could surely inspire someone to write! If I may add, reading Copyblogger posts in full usually sparks some new ideas, or at least the motivation to write.

    And commenting is another form of writing for me, when I’m not in the zone for writing an article, I’d be sharing my thoughts in other blogs or forums. What matters if that you write every day, not so much it has to be stuffs for your blog.

    I love this:
    “Find something to write about that touches you so deeply, tears of joy are running down your face while you type.

    That’s what writing is about. It’s a gift, not only to our readers, but also to us.”

    How true Jon…we often miss this last point and just write for the sake of satisfying our readers. It’s important, but ultimately we should also be doing it out of joy, because the readers can surely feel it. After all, what’s the point of suffering for 20 of your best years (NOW) so that you can enjoy 20 years later? I’d always choose to enjoy every single year of my life. Not easy to do, but it’s a choice.

  24. Love this post! I also find it helpful to read blogs and industry pubs for ideas. Often times I find that I have a different opinion or want to explain something in a different way. When I’m feeling really blocked, I grab the iPod and take a walk–that almost always opens things up. I carry a small notebook and pen so I can jot down ideas as they come up.

  25. Thanks, I needed this. I’m having a hard time finding inspiration lately. When I do find inspiration, I write the topic down on a list on my whiteboard to get to when I’m “in the mood” or have time. By that time comes, all the stuff I thought I had inspiration to write about is no longer inspiring and I don’t even want to “go there.” What to do then?

  26. @Stacy: I once heard Stephen Spielberg say he only agrees to direct a movie when it haunts him. Being interested in it isn’t enough; he has to find himself staring at the ceiling at night, weeks later, thinking about how to do it.

    For me, an idea for a good blog post works the same way. I get plenty that I think are good at the time, but I no longer like later. And I don’t write them. The ones I write are the ones that stick with me, haunting me until I commit them to the page.

    If none of your ideas are doing that for you, then all I know to tell you is to keep digging.

  27. I like to get away from the keyboard and read a book. Something from classic authors like Mark Twain or Charles Dickens. Their writing styles are inspiring.

  28. Jon, I’d like to thank you. I’ve been in and out of blogging a lot (A LOT) of times. I have NEVER settled with one topic, domain name, or even blogging platform. Through time, I have been able to discover the reasons of my repeated failures.First of all, I didn’t have passion, second… I was in it for interest, and as you say, I started to force myself to write stuff I didn’t want to. I’d say I have been afraid to write what I wanted to write about because the most successful bloggers almost always wrote about “x” topic, and I had to write about “x” topic as well, thinking I could be successful as them as well. But I was WAY wrong. I always end up giving up, ordering some pizza, sitting down and watching some Law & Order. But I think I say with confidence this… I believe reading this very humble blog post has given mi some good self-esteem, some courage, and some wisdom to motivate myself once again to write. I won’t rush it this time, won’t force myself, and much less get frustrated if I fall once more. Just gotta write my own free joy.

  29. Excellent thoughts–thought I was the only one who noticed that in Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’! (one of my favs of his–although i’ve read all his stuff) Also, have always received inspiration from music–doesn’t matter what kind either–anything inspires–one author you didn’t touch upon is Amy Tan-she is fabulous–try to make time to read her as well–keep up the good work.

  30. Seconding Obed’s comments above: this post is humble and potent. Thank you for specific info on useful ways to move sanely through an arid zone. And for the meta-model: everyone has them, and there’s great selflessness in the community of writers, acknowledging and helping out with this where possible. Appreciate it, Jonathan. I have to go write now.

  31. I think one important thing too that goes hand in hand with writing and inspiration is to always have a writing device with you. Whether it’s a Netbook, a Blackberry or even a notepad – sometimes you get inspiration to write in the strangest places, and you really should try and drop everything when that inspiration hits.

  32. This article on how to find inspiration to write a blog is very helpful, especially for a new blogger like myself. Thanks for sharing. I am a personal finance blogger so I like to watch the news and read Yahoo’s home page for inspiration. I also read other blogger’s posts in the personal finance area. Reading books on personal finance is also a source of information.

  33. Hey Jonathan!
    That is a great bunch of information especially the headline one…I follow similar rules to get ideas for my blog headlines…Thanks for this post

  34. Thank you so much! An actual cure for writer’s block instead of just procrastination (my usual response). As soon as I finish writing this comment, I’m going to try out some of those ideas.
    And, I like what you said about rewriting -it helps me discover what makes the writer choose those particular words.

  35. Jon, this was fantastic, and just what I needed right now. I loved your idea of browsing books and magazines. It is simple, yet pracical, and definitely worth a try!

    Thank you for reminding us that writing is a gift…I want to write what brings a smile to my face, and to that of my readers 🙂

  36. I appreciate the information Jon!

    Being someone who has just recently started blogging, I found your insights very encouraging! Other than the passion I have for writing (and specifically writing on the topic of fatherhood), I have had to become a student of the trade through my own efforts and this gave me some great practical advice.

    Personally, I have attempted to use every setting I find myself in as a potential breeding ground for ideas. It is truly amazing how much content can be derived from the simple, everyday activities. The challenging thing is being observant enough to grasp the ideas as they present themselves.

    I will certainly looking forward to learning more from you!

  37. Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing – all great ideas! I also find that sometimes just driving around and looking at the world around me – something will almost always occur that lends itself to a story…and I also try to find analogies…I find that helps too.

  38. Steal from your old posts by rewriting the subject of the old post. Several years later your approach will be different- even the solution will be different.

  39. Hi guys,

    Some bloggers also get some of their ideas from the evening news. I read a blog on yesterday about the young lady that was bullied and commited suicide.

    Kind regards,


  40. You know what I really liked about this post? It’s not just helpful, it’s entertaining. A list I want to listen to, not one that feels shouty and directive. Just what I needed, thanks!
    (Particularly the reminder to find your joy and only write about things you care about or which make you laugh. I forget that one far too often.)

  41. In college I was on the Speech and Debate team and competed in impromptu speaking. I would be given a quote and would have two minutes to reflect, then four minutes to give a speech either agreeing or disagreeing with the quote. Perhaps a little ‘impromptu writing’ is in order.

  42. Hey Ben!

    Just last week at a networking event here in Los Angeles, we did that exercise – one of our members a local acting coach, who also works with biz owners to help prepare them for speaking engagements did the exercise with us – not only did it force us to reflect and tie the quote to something in our business, but it allowed all of us to get to know each other on a much deeper level – way post elevator pitch. I agree with you this would be a great exercise to use for blogging too!

  43. Thanks for the tips! I’ll be sure to try them! I’ve really been slacking with quality blogs lately. Hopefully your advice will help!

  44. Good stuff! I’ve used a couple of these tricks myself and will be adding the rest to my “utility belt of writing.”

    Another trick I’ve used that works well is to just get away from the ol’ computer for a bit. Go outside, take a walk. Sometimes just clearing your mind for a minute can get you refocused.

  45. Jon – Great post on tricks to get one inspired to write! As a professional copywriter/PR strategist and blogger, I can certainly relate to being stumped from time to time on what to write! You offered some great new ideas and ways to get inspired to write that I hadn’t thought of before, so the information is very useful. I particularly like your idea of looking at magazine covers. Thanks!

  46. The first writing inspiration looks great! Checking on the magazine headline, I saw some of the headline was really catching my eyes. I never think of that, I’ll definitely try to do that for my next post.

    Great post Jon!


  47. Thanks Jon for sharing your tips with us. I checked out Google but yours are surely the most useful. at least 4 me :-). You were clearly inspired when writing this blog: it is both useful & very pleasant 2 read.

  48. Thanks for this great list!

    I have the ‘double-whammy’ of being and artist who writes – so there are times when I not only need inspiration for writing, but painting as well.

    Your list is helpful for both. 🙂

  49. Fantastic stuff. I had ideas coming just reading your post. I blog on two blogs (one personal, one professional) and it’s everything you say it is (hard, challenging, fun, fulfilling, reader’s block, etc). I’m not the best writer, but I have a message inside and writing is the way to get it out. I am a better blogger now than at the beginning. It’s like playing an instrument. I could only play Jingle Bells when I first started, but now I can even improvise my own leads. Love Copyblogger. Keep it coming.

  50. As always I enjoy reading your stuff .
    I also read the toher post about another 10 tips and I feel like I want to share antoer 2 wyas that always help me to find a topic:
    1. thinking about my few last communication’s sessions with our clients: in each session there’s something that can be meaningful for someone else
    2. going back to the last weekend, observing family situation, games, travels ans make some analogy between life and business life

  51. Closing the door, turning off Twitter, FB, mobiles and working late at night is the secret. There are way too many distractions from society today that will pull you away from what you need to get done.

  52. Re: #7 Listen to smart dialogue

    The first four seasons of The West Wing (when Aaron Sorkin was the head writer) are a goldmine of crisp dialogue, characterization, point of view models, and story arcs. And, the first three seasons of Absolutely Fabulous (before Roseanne bought it and destoyed it) are the same, in a different context. We’ve used the dvd’s for each to unclog writer’s block for years!

  53. Random trick for all of those out there suffering from blogger burnout (you know who you are). Earlier this year I was invited to contribute to a short-story contest featuring a blend of our favorite characters from tv shows, books and cartoons, better known as fanfic. Now, this isn’t usually my cup of tea, and I had enough professional writing obligations between our company blog and writing ad copy that I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea, but the person doing the inviting was a friend of mine and, well, saying no wasn’t an option if I wanted to keep my invitation to Thanksgiving dinner!

    I was surprised how once I released the obligation to stick to professional material and just let myself have a little fun, I rediscovered the joy of writing. I wandered down flights of fancy. I twisted and turned events, creating plots and subplots. Was it a best seller? No. A publisher would probably have laughed in my face. But every day I sat down to write a chapter I picked up my next blog post with a clear mind and a readiness to go out and have a little fun.

    Do I suggest you all run out and write fanfiction? No. It’s not for everyone. But step back and write something. Tell a story. Write a poem. We became writers because we loved to write, not because someone told us we had to. That usually came after. Take writing back out of the professional arena, and you’ll find you spend more time feeling like a writer and less time feeling like a drone-which, when you get down to it, is really the secret to maintaining a successful blogging career.

  54. Great advice, I love the inclusion of so many unconventional methods of acquiring inspiration. I’ve also learned that finding inspiration is usually most easily done in the least likely of places. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration. 🙂

  55. Well, I’m currently listening to Antonio Vivaldi’s “Storm” and trying to get inspired enough to write an article abou blackjack exchange betting lol… anyway nice list, really appreciate it!

  56. I just read your “inspirations” and wow, that’s all I can say. Just reading them inspired me. But I hopped over to the quotation page as you recommended and all at once words and ideas came tumbling out. It seemed I couldn’t write fast enough so I ended up with a post called All Great Things are Simple. Not sure if anyone will read or comment yet, but writing it filled me with new energy and zip. So that alone was worth the while. Thanks Jonathan, I’ve enlisted to your new blog as well. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say there.

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