I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
– from A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Wow! Thanks a lot Ernest Hemingway! I wish you would’ve brought this to my attention BEFORE I emptied my well! Now, I’ve gotta refill it, and I forgot to bring a bucket. All I have is this coffee cup, and the going is sloooow.
So, what’s one to do when there’s no inspiration? What do you do when you want to write but have no ideas? I realize that I’m not writing the next A Farewell to Arms, just this little old blog, but, still, I want to write and I’m a-strugglin’!
If you’ve ever been in this situation, as a blogger, writer, or any type of creator, I have some ideas on gaining inspiration. Here are some various strategies I have used or have considered using to spur on the creative juices.
• Do some reading! This was actually Papa Hemingway’s preferred method for filling the well (next to the making of the love): “When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing that you were writing before you could go on with it the next day,” (25). Read a book, read a blog, read a newspaper, whatever, just read!
• Look through photo albums. Bonus points: look through other people’s photo albums (buy old photos at swap meets and yard sales).
• Listen to music (see yesterday’s post on how an old playlist gave me inspiration).
• See a performance– be it music, a movie, a play, LARPers practicing, whatever.
• Make an Artist Date with a bookstore, museum, coffee shop, library, any place where you could lose yourself.
• Watch a sunrise or sunset (these actually aren’t overrated).
• Visit an old cemetery.
• Ride the full circuit on the public transit (bus, trolley, train, subway, etc.).
• People watch–airports used to be perfect for this, but a bench in a crowded area would work too. Actually, jury duty is an awesome way to get some good people-watching done. Take notes!
• Go to an author reading or Open-Mic night at a coffeeshop.
• Attend a convention.
• Take a long, hot bath.
• Visit a place that is out of your comfort zone. For example, my husband would go to InCahoots ( a country bar); I might go to HomeTown Buffet. This scene from Vegas Vacation might explain my aversion to buffets:
• Play tourist in your own neighborhood…bring a camera!
• Go to the Swap Meet.
To fill up my well yesterday, I went to a local coffeeshop and wrote like crazy! I sipped on an Arnold Palmer and listened to three guys who were playing an impromptu bluegrass set on the patio. They would take breaks to eat their brunch. I ended up planning out the entire week’s posts! They’re not intricate, painstaking reviews or reflections, but still, I got some work done! Today, I might play tourist in my own neighborhood with a camera. It’s the Weekend of Inspiration, baby!