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5 Unusual Places to Find Inspiration When You Are ‘Stuck’ July 6, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Content Marketing.
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We all experience brain freeze, writer’s block, idea amnesia or whatever else you want to call it but we know we have to write something. Our audience is relying on us, waiting for the post to appear and we have nothing to write about. While I use the ‘traditional’ forms of inspiration like looking at LinkedIn discussions, trending topics on Twitter, other blogger’s content, Google Alerts and news sites like Mashable and Techcrunch, here are 5 more unusual places you may find some inspiration when you are just simply stuck.

1. The bathroom

I get a ton of inspiration during moments when I am completely focused on another task (I am not talking about sitting on the throne people!) I am talking about cleaning the bathroom, blow drying your hair, shaving your face, taking a shower, etc. Go clean your house, mow the lawn, plant some cucumbers, make some muffins, whatever. Just set your mind on something else and let the ideas come to you. Make sure to have a notepad nearby to scribble down thoughts when they do show up.

2. Your parents and other family members

If you read a ton of blogs like I do, you will start to see stories slip in about family life, children and weekend events and holiday parties. Why not let these inspire you to write and share them? People love the personal connection between your ‘offline’ life and their online one with you. It may have absolutely nothing to do with your topic at hand, but it has to do with you and your audience is there to be a part of a community and that means so much more than business speak sometimes.

3. The tabloids

Did another alien baby just come into the world yesterday? How can you turn this into a unique piece of content that your audience would want to read? Using celebrity names and media events will also help your SEO juice and drive more traffic. It may sound silly to write a post about how Lady Gaga or J.Lo’s attention-grabbing wardrobe is analogist to the first impression of a website and how important first looks really are. But your audience will get it.

4. Your PR agency

Use your PR agency for content ideas! Marketers don’t often think about this one and its right in front of you. In fact, your agency should be suggesting it themselves and asking you what you plan to produce over the next 30-60 days. Reach out to them and tell them you are stuck. If you have any ideas, run them by your team and see what they think. Ask them to brainstorm for content ideas for blogs, whitepapers, infographics, survey studies, etc. and have them send you a list and proposed calendar.

5. Your sock drawer

Any Sex in the City fans out there? Remember the one when Carrie Bradshaw was stuck and couldn’t find any men or relationships to write about? So what did she do? She wrote about men as socks. Seriously. Have you considered how your socks could be an analogy to something relevant to your audience? How about just sharing a personal post about you and talk about how you secretly wear polka-dot socks every Friday for good luck? I’m only half kidding about this one but if you do write a post about it, please share! I would love to read it!

Sometimes the best thing to do when you are stuck is to go do something else as I suggested in point #1. I always keep a running list either in a word doc, on a whiteboard or in a notepad of ideas that I write down as soon as I think of them. Occasionally, I may just start writing about one and may finish or not. I have a bazillion blogs in the ‘almost done’ bucket just waiting for me to go back when my brain is re-charged and ready to hit it again.

Where do you get inspiration when you are stuck?

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Comments»

1. dav - July 27, 2011

Cleaning house totally frees my mind for other things, I like walking into my room and seeing the bed made.. taking away the clutter, visual distractions. I just drafted something a little different w/ a personal connection so glad you mentioned that. Everything else is dovetailing interests: I’ve used movies and TV, travel and hobbies.. pretty much anything can be fodder for a blog post. Which is funny as I tell myself that.. whenever I’m stuck. 😉 FWIW.

christinapappas - August 2, 2011

One of my fav things on my iPhone is the notes app so I can just type things in there as they come to me. Sometimes its in the middle of the night, or the middle of an email to someone or even when I am talking to my mom. I also enjoy cleaning the house or walking around Barnes & Noble to clear my head and get the idea juices flowing. Sometimes just forcing myself to write works too.


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