295 Days ’til 40: My Muse (AKA: Overcoming Writer’s Block)

02 May

Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. ~ Paul Rudnick

Writer’s block.  We have all had it – particularly those of us who were delusional enough to think it would be a piece of cake to write a daily blog for over a year.  How on earth can we possibly come up with topics for 365+ days… yet, somehow we manage to (some with more popularity than others).

I must say, I do not think a $1 destiny bracelet advertised above will be the muse that inspires meaningful writing, although you never really know.  These are some of the things I do when I just cannot think of anything to say on paper:

  1. Look at photos as topic inspiration )often a photo will spark an idea for a post).
  2. Look for a great quote (great quotes often are worth pondering in a larger context).
  3. Read other blogs(bloggers can be wonderfully inspiring).
  4. Listen to great music (music often is a thinking catalyst).
  5. Read the newspaper (there is always something there to comment about!)
  6. Go on a walk – whether in the big city or in the midst of a meadow or forest, there is much inspiration when we get out of our home and into the world.
  7. Read a book (book themes can greatly inspire posts).
  8. Talk to foreigners – or better yet, travel to new countries (multi-cultural exchange is great for writing.
  9. Volunteer (make a difference in someone’s life and write about it.
  10. Cook – then write about it, even if you burned brownies!
  11. Spend time with animals (observe their patterns and learn)
  12. Be kind to children (spending time with children and making them laugh is a great cultivator of joy and inspiration).
  13. Forgive an enemy (then write about it).
  14. Start a craft project (and document it through writing.

As seen by this list (which is just the beginning)! There are MANY, MANY things we can do in order to gain inspiration for writing.  When you have writer’s block, what inspires YOU???

Today, 295 days ’til 40, I will celebrate having writer’s block, as it gives me the opportunity to experience wonderful things while searching for inspiration.  May the words you yearn to speak always be at the tip of your tongue (or fingertips!)



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61 responses to “295 Days ’til 40: My Muse (AKA: Overcoming Writer’s Block)

  1. pinkagendist

    May 2, 2012 at 00:06

    I thought “I” was your muse. Am I not everyone’s muse? I must be, the voice in my head keeps telling me so, so does that painting that’s always talking to me 😉

  2. writerwannabe763

    May 2, 2012 at 00:12

    If I have writer’s block then I don’t write until I am inspired or find something in my past writings to reblog possibly if I think it is maybe worthwhile repeating…or I look for something that I have written in the past years that I may use….Diane

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:38

      I have done the same at times…. or have been inspired by an old blog but state things in a new way.

  3. June

    May 2, 2012 at 00:19

    Great tips–thanks!

  4. Lani Longshore

    May 2, 2012 at 00:55

    Today what inspired me is pulling a cat’s foot. I was wandering in an antique shop a week ago, and I saw a display case with what I thought was a realistic stuffed cat on top of some lovely linens. Turned out the cat was very, very realistic – downright real! – and wasn’t pleased when I tugged on its foot to get an idea of what it was made of. Sometimes it isn’t only beauty that is in the eye of the beholder, it is reality itself – which will be the topic of my next blog for my writer’s group.

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:48

      This is SOOO funny! Did you scream when you learned it was real? Did the cat scream???

      • Lani Longshore

        May 2, 2012 at 20:21

        The cat trained its death-ray eyes on me, but decided to be merciful since I let go of its foot pretty quickly. I believe I did squeal, but then I started laughing – after making sure I was out of range of kitty claws!

  5. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky

    May 2, 2012 at 01:26

    I find that reading things that we do not understand helps with writing. WHY? Because we have to do a mental exercise to determine where these strange authors are coming from (or where there minds may be). I find this type of inspiration from Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges and, of course, Frederich Nietzsche who is controversial and will always be controversial. In fact I think that poor Frederich sometimes argues with himself. But that is why he is inspirational. Four exercises for each day: Exercise your mind, exercise your body, exercise your humanity by doing something for somebody else and exercise your sefl worth by doing something for yourself. Happy writing!

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:47

      Wow, very interesting way to do it – challenge your mind to deeper thinking and inspire writing from there…. great!

    • Katherine Toms

      May 2, 2012 at 21:47

      Waldo, I love those four daily exercises. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kathy

    May 2, 2012 at 01:48

    Thank you for the suggestions. In my case, #14 goes like this: Start a craft project, immediately think of something to write, go write, leaving craft materials all over the place. Writer’s block goes away, but another layer is added to previous craft project materials. So I will concentrate on #s 1-14, except #10, because I’ve already written about my toast-burning hobby.

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:46

      This made me LAUGH! I can really relate!!!! I get in trouble for my growing piles of unfinished crafts around the house! 🙂

  7. narf77

    May 2, 2012 at 03:04

    My muse has verbal diarrhoea and my problem isn’t writers block, its sifting usable portions out of the surging mass of words that leap into my head whenever I sit down to post. I find 3000 words squabbling for space on the keyboard and I am suddenly finished when I would love to carry on. My main problem is that my main points tend to get drowned by the torrent of sheer “words” that want to spill out and so my posts end up too long and without a lot of discipline, a bit wonky. I guess there ae worse things than writers block 😉

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:44

      This made me laugh! Thank you!!! I can be the same way…. regrettably! 🙂

  8. Sofia

    May 2, 2012 at 04:31

    Great sentence to end the post on!

  9. Lucianus Mauricius

    May 2, 2012 at 04:39

    Interesting list of choices, and I do agree with it. I haven’t been able to write anything since last year, and to be honest haven’t pushed myself to. I’ve noticed, even though you might have have strong feeling in regards to anything at all, you might have a very hard time putting them on paper, and the more you try to force yourself into writing about it the worse it gets, so I’mm letting go for now, til my muse comes back from her holidays. One thing that has helped me at least interact on many levels by reading a variety of blogs, is the outlet you get to express your opinions about all these different topics of posts. It is in itself writing something, even though it may not be artistic…

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:43

      Yes, so very true… strong feelings do not always equate to good writing….. I hope your muse returns soon!

      • Lucianus Mauricius

        May 3, 2012 at 05:30

        I hope so too, cose for me it’s a sort of therapy, since I don’t see a therapist anymore, but in the mean time I’m loving reading so many different blogs (your included) that I haven’t even had time to play cityville, lol

  10. rabidmongoose

    May 2, 2012 at 05:29

    I just try to stay as open-minded as possible on what to write about. Every day God gives me something to write about, though sometimes it’s not what I thought I’d be writing about.

  11. Nicole

    May 2, 2012 at 05:48

    My kids are constantly inspiring me. I take pics on my I phone so I will remember the moment. Walks and walking the dog do it for me too. I have been telling stories in my head for so long and so far I am never at a loss but often not enough time. If I tried to write everyday as are you it would likely be a different story:)). You are doing a really great job!

  12. Donna

    May 2, 2012 at 09:19

    How appropriate for me today. I took two vacation days so that I could write a speech that I have to give next month and I spent most of the time straightening up the house, looking for my notes, blogging, and anything else I could think of to avoid the real work. Finally, this afternoon, I wrote two pages that might actually survive the final cut. I always tell myself I’ll be disciplined next time, but I never am. I love writing when I’m done with it, but the middle is hard and every time I get there, I wonder why I returned for more. Maybe it’s because my house gets cleaned.

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:42

      I do the same thing…. procrastinate until the final hour…. but usually end up with something decent in the end.

  13. viveka

    May 2, 2012 at 11:25

    Writer block … what is that ???? *laughing I would go for a walk with the camera …. because I listen to music 16 hours per day … and I don’t have any pets or grandchildren.

  14. dysfunctional unit

    May 2, 2012 at 14:42

    Watch CBS Morning, then when ya jes can’t take it anymore, right about what ridiculousness is coming out of the tv today…Always works fer rme

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 18:40

      Very good point! Never at a loss for material that way.

  15. New Hampshire Garden Solutions

    May 2, 2012 at 16:43

    I just walk into the woods. There are thousands of things to write about in nature, and walking nature trails is very relaxing.

  16. Vikki (The View Outside)

    May 2, 2012 at 17:30

    Great list! 🙂


  17. Spider42

    May 2, 2012 at 18:57

    Pretty much anything inspires me actually… not all the time and not every time, but I have to admit that it would be impossible for me to make something like a “top 5 things that inspire the most” list.

    That said, I realised I’m not ready to post everyday, between lack of time and discipline about it (hell I end up with a backlog of blogs to READ every week so writings a far cry! :D) but I’m working on it – like putting up a short fiction piece every week and at least one other post. Though this weeks been a let-down on my part… need to rectify that!

    Anyway, wish I had your dilligence and such for this, I truly admire your dedication to this blog and your ability to find something interesting to post on each time – large or small post – as can be guessed from my (almost) always long comments. 😛

    • 400daystil40

      May 2, 2012 at 19:22

      I agree with you, I can be randomly inspired too and I actually cannot go back to the same things all of the time – they stop working if they are overused! I also was not ready to post every day…. it just sort of happened…. and then I was in the midst of it and it has been a great learning experience. I am often impressed with myself that I manage. Then again, with your almost daily responses, you could indeed have the stamina to write your own blog – right??? 🙂

      • Spider42

        May 2, 2012 at 22:32

        I suppose it’s possible, just a matter of discipline and getting past the 11th hour mentality (which I’m working on! promise!) because its easier to read and respond as opposed to writing something fresh.
        I’ve got a couple of things drafted but they’re sharing stuff read elsewhere as I do sometimes but I don’t like to post that too often so they’re staying drafted for now.

      • Spider42

        May 3, 2012 at 15:38

        And for some reason I can’t seem to access your blog directly (hence this comment here…)… strange…

        • 400daystil40

          May 3, 2012 at 21:07

          Strange…. I wonder why….????

          • Spider42

            May 3, 2012 at 21:12

            but working now! 😛

  18. The Quiet Borderline

    May 2, 2012 at 19:55

    Great tips there to find inspiration with.,

  19. Paws To Talk

    May 2, 2012 at 20:23

    All good ideas!
    Bella and DiDi

  20. Rebecca Stibrany

    May 2, 2012 at 20:57

    13. Forgive an enemy (then write about it).

    I absolutely love this idea.This is my favorite out of all of them. I have so many enemies, I could write a whole series on this and clear up some karma at the same time!

    Thank you.

    P.S. Some things that cost a dollar totally rule.

    • 400daystil40

      May 3, 2012 at 21:27

      Thank you! Yes, this one thing can change our world.

  21. Frank the Fly

    May 2, 2012 at 21:16


    Thanks a bunch for liking my post. Much appreciated. There’s some good stuff on your blog. I will read up on the rest of your stuff now. But it’ll take me some time because it takes me forever to read a 13 inch computer screen.

  22. appletonavenue

    May 3, 2012 at 02:48

    I have had writer’s block for about 3 years now. Writing my blog is how I’m breaking through the block at last. It’s only been a couple months, but it seems I’ve always got something to say. Whether this will hold true only time will tell, but with any luck I’ll be blogging about finishing my novel.

  23. hermingwaywrites

    May 4, 2012 at 22:23

    Thank you for liking my paragraph today. It was lovely to read that quote about writer’s block, as that’s exactly how I arrived at 400 words today. I procrastinated all night, and this morning, out it came. 🙂

  24. Nikki

    May 7, 2012 at 18:55

    Cursed writers block, for me it ususally means I need to get quiet and go inside my mind and feelings. That’s great except if I’m trying to avoid my feelings and then I go for a walk or go workout. If I focus on just putting one foot in front of the other thoughts will come and go and I feel inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I just write badly…and wait for creativity to get in the game again.
    Your writing is fantastic, I enjoy your blog. Good luck!

    • 400daystil40

      May 7, 2012 at 22:33

      Thank you so much… I can do the same sometimes… and I know that there are times when my readers can tell that I was less inspired than usual! The burden we carry as writers!

  25. Joszann

    May 10, 2012 at 01:18

    I listen to inspirational music and recently I started reading books on the writing craft…

    • 400daystil40

      May 10, 2012 at 08:19

      Great ways to be inspired to write! 🙂


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