Get Up Your Desk: Five Places to Go for Inspiration
Most people think writing is an inherent talent, and that good writers do their best work effortlessly. This may be true for some, but most of us struggling writers don’t have such a gift. We don’t have an endless stream of ideas we can just tap on anytime we want. Most of the time, we put a lot of effort in coming up with ideas — not just any idea, a great one at that. It isn’t easy. Inspiration is as scarce as it is elusive.
I’ve found that adjusting where I am at any time of day makes it easier for me to be inspired. As a professional writer, I don’t have the luxury of waiting when my next big idea will come. I have deadlines to meet, clients to impress. I can’t afford to wait until inspiration finds me, I have to look for it myself. Here are some places I usually go to get inspiration.
1. A moving vehicle
Other freelancers who work from home might not agree with me when I say I like the daily commute when working in an office. When I used to work full time in a 9-5 job, I took the train everyday. It’s a 30-minute trip, long enough for me to come up with one or more ideas for my blog at that time. Not all of them were extraordinary, but there were a few times that were “A-ha!” moments. I think it’s the movement of the train while seeing things around you that does the trick. Watching other people helps, too — but you need to be a bit careful with that.
2. The bathroom
I read from some writers that they wish their bathroom wall had a whiteboard attached for jotting down ideas that hit them in the middle of a shower. I know exactly what they mean. Taking a shower calms you down and opens your mind to free-flowing thoughts. It’s too bad I don’t have that whiteboard, because there has been times I thought of something great and forget it by the time I stepped out of the shower. If this sounds like you, you are not alone.
3. Coffee shops
Coffee places are a pricey, but it’s a great way to settle down and be free from all the distractions at home. Of course, being a coffee lover (or addict) is a requirement. This is a pleasant way for me to push myself to focus on my writing. If I’m on a tight deadline, or just need to get away from home, I usually grab my stuff and head for the nearest Starbucks.
4. Waiting areas
Idle moments are not a shortage when you go to doctor’s appointments, banks, and other places where there are waiting areas. I don’t allow myself to get bored or upset, but seize it as an opportunity to do a quiet brainstorm for ideas. Having a smartphone is convenient for jotting down notes and lists — more convenient than the bathroom, less luxurious than a coffee shop.
5. The neighborhood
I like heading out to take long (sometimes short) walks around my apartment block. It’s free exercise for both mind and body. The ideas don’t come in a flash and served on a silver platter, but it helps speed up the creative process. Simply being outdoors puts your mind to work. If you’re home alone most of the time, this is also a good time to socialize with your neighbors, or even strangers — provided they’re receptive to your friendliness.
Working from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to go out anymore. Inspiration or no, there should be a time during the week that you’re not in your pajamas (or whatever dress code you have) and staring at your laptop screen at home. It’s good for you in many ways — especially if you’re out of ideas.
How about you? Is there a special place where you draw inspiration from?
Image Credit: Inspiration Road Sign On Sky Background, Grass Underneath by borysshevchuk