How To Find Inspiration - Erin's Inside Job

How To Find Inspiration

Since having Miles, my brain seems to have decided to take a vacation. I want to write and create content, but when I sit down to do it, the words simply don’t come. That or all I want to write about is pregnancy and motherhood, which makes sense given the season I’m currently in. I have those posts planned, but anything other than that subject and I draw a complete blank. My mental health is good — great even if I dare to say it — and I’m saving more fitness-specific posts for when I finish my postnatal certification and can share that information more credibly with you. Any lifestyle posts I would write would consist of “hey, I wake up, feed my baby, change my baby, play with him until he falls asleep, put pacifier in his mouth repeatedly until he’s out, then maybe walk around for exercise.” You can see how that could get old.

What’s funny to me is that one of the things I was most terrified about when starting antidepressants was losing the inability to write. I felt like my best writing came from a place of sadness and depth and if I rose above that, my words would lose their meaning. Thankfully, I didn’t forget how to write, and still managed to book freelance work and put out meaningful content on this blog. Since my pregnancy came to an end, however, I’ve been losing words and having trouble stringing poetic and poignant sentences together which drives me NUTS. The other day I forgot my PIN number and stared at that little chip reader for a good 3 minutes trying to remember it. Thank god for the credit option. I now understand that “mom brain” is real, but it puts a very frustrating damper on getting work done.

So I’ve been working on ways to come up with meaningful content (suggestions welcome), and I wanted to share some of the ones that I’ve found helpful.

Go for a walk

It may sound cliche, but going for a walk to clear my mind is really helpful — especially now that the sun is out and the temperatures are warming up. I’m incredibly lucky to live near water and nature (kind of, if you count Lincoln Park), so I try and soak up those experiences as much as I can. I take the stroller along Lake Michigan and let my mind wander over various subjects, seeing if any of them stick.

Try something out of your comfort zone

For me, this means listening to podcasts. Man, I really hate podcasts, but I’m slowly starting to like them. I have such a hard time concentrating on people talking that I’d much prefer to listen to music if I’m walking or driving. Since I’ve been going on long walks with Miles, I’ve been trying them out again. Sometimes it takes me a couple days to make it through one, but I’ve listened to three episodes lately and that’s HUGE for me.

Podcasts expose me to different topics and points of view that help stimulate my mind. I’ll often think of ideas after someone says something or come up with a differing opinion that makes me think of a new post topic. If you have any podcast recommendations, leave them below in the comments!

It doesn’t have to be podcasts, but try to do something that is against the norm of your typical routine. It will force you to think outside the box and get those synapses firing.

Read

There’s nothing like reading to help me with my own writing. In fact, I think reading is one of the best things to help a person’s writing (and I wrote a post about the best books to do so). In addition to sparking creativity, reading different writing styles helps you develop your own, even if you’re not aware of it. It’s helpful on so many levels and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you don’t have time for a whole book, try things like blog posts, newspapers, opinion pieces, or even watch TED talks (I know this last one isn’t reading, but you understand).

Talk to someone else

Talking to other people is a great way for me to get out of my own head. I’m not the best at it and often go out of my way to avoid it, but I know that whenever I do, I leave with a new perspective and new ideas. I’d love to sit inside all day keeping to myself, but I’ve learned over time that other people are great sources of inspiration and so I’ll continue talking to them. 🙂

Another thing related to this is to try and view life through someone else’s viewpoint. After I got Donut, I began to see life through her eyes and it inspired me to write this post. It’s incredible what putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can do for your creativity.

Take a break

Nothing good comes from trying to force things. If I’m really struggling and can’t come up with anything I feel inspired to write, I’ll simply skip it. This happened a lot right after he was born and I had to learn how to give myself a break. Often taking a step back can open up space for ideas rather than trying to shove a round peg in a square hole which is how I envision forcing myself to write. Give yourself a break and inspiration will come.

5 comments on “How To Find Inspiration

  1. Oh I relate! Apart from not having time to write after my son was born, I had total mom-brain. It will come to you when you don’t force it and let your voice flow.

    I get a lot of my ideas from podcasts! I’ll hear a quote or something and expand on it…or I’ll write about something mundane and relate it to life/emotions.

    Walks in nature and exercise are my favorite ways to get out of my head.

  2. I’m convinced that each of my 3 kids took some of my brain cells on the way out!! I can relate to that “mom-brain” even though my kids are all 20 & older now. Also remember that your hormones have been on a major rollercoaster & take more time than you may think to “normalize” & they impact cognition as well.

    As far as podcasts, I’ve become a junkie, choosing to listen to them in my car vs. music which I would’ve never expected. Guess I’m getting old. Although I’m a voracious reader & still prefer the written word to audio, I’ve found listening to podcasts provides the opportunity to accomplish more since my time for reading is limited & I only read fiction at bedtime. Some of my favorite podcasts are; Armchair Expert w/ Dax Shepard – he’s a lot smarter than I expected, has been in recovery for double digit years & speaks frankly about that, & interviews a fascinating array of guests. I just listened to his interview w/ Erin Lee Carr who just wrote a book & is an applauded documentary film maker. She’s also the daughter of the now deceased author, David Carr, who wrote one of the best addiction/recovery books ever, The Night of the Gun;
    Happier w/ Gretchen Rubin; 2 Dope Queens if I just want to laugh; Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations which I can’t say enough about; 99% Invisible; NPR’s Hidden Brain; The Mental Illness Happy Hour; RISE w/ Rachel Hollis; This American Life w/ Ira Glass; Pick the Brain; Beautiful Writers; The Good Life Project; TED Interviews; & Harder to Kill Radio. That’s a lot, I know, but it seriously isn’t given the zillions out there.
    Love you, my friend. You really seem to be rocking this mom thing!! 🙂 XO

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