The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

Ten Sources for Writing Inspiration

“What is written without effort is in generally read without pleasure.” Samuel Johnson

lifeography

From a recent creative/play session. Stepping out of routine can refuel your creativity.

Before photography, blogging or writing professionally, I was a journaler–a storyteller. Even then, I would struggle with writer’s block on occasion. When life is tumultuous (or extraordinary), it seems there is plenty to write about. Words just pour out, virtually writing themselves. And other times, on regular days, I may sit and stare blankly at my keyboard. One of my personal goals this year is to write more often and share more of me on my own blog, and to make time to do so. So, where does inspiration come from when I am struggling these days? How do I overcome writer’s block? Here are a few resources/activities I have found helpful.

1. I am a habitual bookmarker. Whenever I see something that catches my eye – decor, a DIY idea or a kids treat, I save it. Today, I rely on Pinterest to do most of my bookmarking. It is a visual catalog that keeps all of your finds in “boards.” Basically, it’s a giant storyboard (that will suck you in for hours!)

2. Thumb through old magazines for inspiration. I still love a few of my tattered issues of Blueprint and Organic Style.

3. Browse your favorite bloggers. What’s trending? What’s new? I ask myself what I can add to the conversation.

4. Quotes. I am a quote lover. I have books of them, prints of them, website links to them. A quote is a wonderful way to start a post (ahem, see above) and can kick off your writing (or pull it together).

5. Freeblogging (hee hee). Remember the creative writing exercise from middle school where you just write anything that comes to mind — even if it is nonsensical? Works with blogging too. While it won’t be your article, it can free up your mind/creativity and perhaps give you direction.

6. Your kids – if you are a mama, you have endless inspiration in your kids. What is happening in their lives and how are they handling it. How are YOU handling it? What is something they said recently that made you belly laugh? Share a photo and use it as a prompt.

7. Set a timer and start. Choose a favorite topic and then write what comes to mind in a 10-minute period.

8. Choose the photo first. Then write your article around it.

9. Outline first. When I was writing for a PR client, I produced 7 “mini magazines” each year. The feature articles were often the toughest to write, so I often broke it down into small, manageable chunks. This works great with blogging too. Get the outline in place and then fill in the content.

10. For you photographers (like me), get out there and shoot for yourself on occasion. Not only is it a great blogging prompt (you need fewer words with pictures!) it unleashes your artistic creativity as well. Some of my favorite images have come from sessions like these-including the leading photo for this article.

If you are a blogger would you include the link to your blog below? And, if you have one, a tip for how you write when the words don’t come easily.

Co-editor Stephanie Beaty is a blessed mama of three children and military spouse. After a 10-year career as a professional writer/PR pro she began Lifeography, a modern child + family portrait studio where she focuses on capturing relationships and connections. Although her growing family currently resides in Virginia Beach, Va., home is wherever the Navy sends them. Write to her at hello@lifeographer.com.

About Stephanie


Stephanie Beaty is a blessed, homeschooling mama of four and military spouse. After a 10-year career as a professional writer/PR pro she began Lifeography, a modern child + family portrait studio where she focuses on capturing relationships and connections. Although her growing family currently resides in Tampa, Fla., home is wherever the Navy sends them.

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  • Sam

    Thanks for the tips. I blog mainly to document life for me and my two kiddos but usually when I take a hiatus it’s because I am dry on ideas for what to say when not much is going on. Hoping to put some of your ideas to good use:)

    http://www.samhornberger.com

  • http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com Flower Patch Farmgirl

    I just posted a FB status update about writer’s block and a friend sent me this link. SO timely! I am rarely at a loss for words on my block, but have experienced a block with the book I’m working on. My method now is to just push through and not worry about how it comes out. :) With my blog, I actually use many of your tips! There is never a lack of inspiration in this amazing, surprising, beautiful world!

  • http://acupofchai.typepad.com Candice

    Great tips! I’ve definitely had those moments where I’m uninspired to write anything at all (or I think what I do want to write won’t be interesting to read). Now I try to write a few times a week and I find inspiration from checking out other blogs, from going to new places when I have the time (even if it’s just a new cafe!) and I’ve found that Pinterest and Stumbleupon are great sources for random inspiration.

    I have my personal blog http://tigercoco.wordpress.com
    and another one that I keep solely as my creative/inspiration journal.

  • http://www.laurendonofriophotography.com/blog lauren

    i love this – especially #10. as a photographer, i agree that it is soooo important to shoot for ourselves. we can learn new things about OUR art and the way that WE see things.
    I’d love for you to visit me at:

    http://laurendonofriophotography.com/blog/

    and my personal blog at

    http://gracethroughourworld.com/

  • http://tinytwig.typepad.com tiny twig/hayley

    i love this, stephanie! p.s.–did i hear you got a pixie cut?? :)

  • http://jconlonandsons.blogspot.com Jen

    Great tips! I’m going to get to this list tomorrow and come up with some new ideas.

    My blog is about digital scrapbooking:
    http://jconlonandsons.blogspot.com

  • http://ellingsenphotoblog.com Trude

    While my photography business blog is still in its infancy, I’ve also kept a personal blog since 2007 (or was it 2006?). To keep myself posting regularly, I’m constantly making drafts whenever something hits me so I don’t lose that inspiration. I also have regular features that I do, and I keep a list (via Teux Deux) of topics/stories/etc. that I want to blog so there’s always something in my back pocket. Blogging around a photo also works really well for me! :)

  • http://www.chubbycheekphotography.com/blog shalonda

    while my degree was in engineering i have always loved to write, its therapeutic for me in a sense, and if you ever read my blog you would know i write exactly the way i speak, “yalls” and all…i too, am a huge fan of jumbled nonsense on paper just to clear your mind, and song lyrics are always a good place to start as well

  • http://www.captureyour365.com Katrina Kennedy

    I find my words come best when I don’t try. I will pick up my camera, cook, garden, or some other hands on creative activity. It is in the quiet of those moments that my words seem to flow. Keeping pencil and paper handy gives me a chance to grab the words before they disappear!

    http://www.captureyour365.com

  • http://www.lilahbility.com Amanda

    The two ways posts usually come to me:
    1) In the shower, while I am reflecting on life and parenthood, and 2) while I am going through the past few days’ worth of photos – I love it when there is already a story right there in front of my eyes, just waiting to be brought to life and shared.
    http://www.lilahbility.blogspot.com

  • http://www.stacykron.com stacy k

    I love this blog. Such an inspiring article, Stephanie. (I absolutely ADORE your photography, by the way!) I started a blog about a month ago and when I started I had a fear that I would run out of things to write about after a few posts. I don’t consider myself to be a writer, by any means, but it feels so great to just put myself out there … a little more … every post. It’s kind of scary, but the feeling of freedom outweighs the fear.

    Here’s my blog: http://www.stacykron.com/blog/

  • http://tenderportraits.com/blog/ Laura

    My sister, Elise writes a monthly article that I post to my Tender Portraits photography blog. Elise is the talented writer of our family and I love to share her work with my readers/followers.
    Here is the link to her blogs:
    http://tenderportraits.com/blog/elise-keister-writes/

  • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

    When I’m having a hard time writing, I find it’s often because I’m avoiding something which needs to be said or addressed in my own life. Sometimes tackling that issue frees up my ‘space’ for other topics.
    http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com

    Also, knowing what my family would like to hear me share is a perfect place to start on my personal blog.
    http://www.penn-fam.blogspot.com

  • Tiffany

    Great ideas Stephanie. I’m bookmarking this one! :)

  • http://pearlschell.blogspot.com/ Maggie

    I would like to post more about our everydayness but for some reason feel this would not be interesting, though it is what I love (the glimpses in to other peoples lives) about other peoples blogs.
    Thanks for giving me something to think about.
    pearlschell.blogspot.com

  • http://freetolearnanlovinit.blogspot.com Rana

    Great ideas! I have been looking for some inspiration. My thing is finding the time to write. I have a lot to say but not a lot of time to say it.

    http://freetolearnanlovinit.blogspot.com

  • http://bekkabess.blogspot.com Bekka

    Last year, I made it a goal of mine to blog every day. Some days were easy…other days, not so much. I’m a list-maker by nature. Instead of writing in depth about one topic, making a list made it easier to share a lot of the little things that might not have gotten their own post.

    http://bekkabess.blogspot.com

  • http://dontletlifepassyouby.blogspot.com elissa

    Just another creative blog from a creative homeschooling mama:
    dontletlifepassyouby.blogspot.com

  • http://www.jenniferkrafchik.typepad.com Jen

    Thanks for your article. I recently started my photo blog and would love for you to visit!

    http://www.jenniferkrafchik.typepad.com

    Since it’s a photo blog, most of my posts center around my photos – so, I do as you suggest above and start with the photos and then write the text around them. I’m also a new mom, so my little girl provides endless inspiration for posts! She’s actually turning 1 in 2 days, so I’ll have lots to post in the coming days!