How to Squeeze Writing Inspiration from a Stone

inspire on 12 January 2010 - day 12 of 2010

Inspire! (Image by Leonard John Matthews)

When writer’s block strikes, there are plenty of practical techniques to tap into when you are looking for blog content. I am sure you have seen dozens of blog posts on writer’s block, including a few on Inspired to Write.

Some of these methods include: using writing prompts, providing a top ten list, writing “a best of” piece, publishing guest posts,  writing exercises, content curation, and even looking at Google Trends.

Yes, these are good ways to come up with ideas for material. But what if you want more than just content filler?

What if you are looking for something that inspires you and your readers?

It happens to most of us at some point. Lack of inspiration. You crave for a time when flooded thoughts forced you to sit and type or write in a journal before the ideas escaped you. When something in your world grabs you by the heart and compels you to transform the inspiration into words. Those are the days writers long for.

Today, there are plenty of blogs that are filled with content that is solely derived from article spinners and syndication submissions. The owner of the blog never even writes his or her own original content. I guess the point is to get more backlinks and improve SEO. I am not sure if this is really effective. I have used these syndication networks, and I am surprised at how many of these blogs are in existence.

We are no longer writing for people, but for search engines.

Writing a blog is not just about putting up content to fill the gap. Sure, there will be days you have to turn to these gap fillers. But as a blogger, inspiration leads to the intimate posts that turn readers into subscribers. Inspiring posts create a connection with your readers. Wasn’t that the original intention of blogs?

Recently, I wrote a post about how NFL quarterback Tim Tebow inspires others. Whether you like American football or not, this guy inspires on so many levels. Whether it is a person, a place, a sunset, or the words of another, we all want inspiration. Writers NEED it.

As a writer, inspiration is a critical part of going from average to great. Inspiration motivates you to write more and fill up pages with words you hope alter people’s perceptions. Inspiration keeps you going when you have run out of steam.

But sometimes, finding inspiration is like squeezing water from a stone.

It is not a fun place to be, and discovering new inspiration becomes a creative mission. Besides all the practical ideas for finding writing inspiration, I think there are a few others worth mentioning.

1. Tell others what inspires you.

Sometimes we have to just shake up the words in our head and speak them aloud to others. Get a conversation going about anything that inspires you. This may be a vacation, your church, a motivational speaker, a book. Eventually, you will want to run home and write the stuff down.

2. Read about someone who has impacted the world.

There have been plenty of times I was in a “blah” mood and needed someone’s actions in the world to impress me. Reading about someone who has made a lasting difference, impacted the world, or even influenced people on a smaller scale produces positive feelings. For the most part, we are more motivated by positive things than negative.

3. Watch something inspiring.

This time of year, all the holiday movies and Christmas TV shows are airing on television. How can you not be inspired when you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street”?  Even if it is not that time of year, find something that can inspire you. Watch a documentary about someone who made their dreams come true and pushed through rough patches only to persevere. Watch a travel channel about a place that inspires you to visit. Chances are you’ll find something that you can relate to.

4. Watch the news.

I understand that much of what is playing on the news is depressing and can actually fuel the uninspired more. But occasionally, your mind just needs a break from reading or the computer or electronic gadgets. Our minds need to play spectator once in a while in order to recharge. Other times, even the negative stories can get the juices flowing in your mind. Often just the thinking process, positive or negative, inspires you to write. The news can often inspire provocative and timely content ideas.

5.  Read an inspiring quote or message. 

I can’t tell you how many times I have read a simple quote or passage and been inspired to expand on it. In your writing, share how it impacts you and how it has motivated you to make a change in your life.  Spark conversation on your blog and ask others what quotes inspire them.

6. Communicate with others in your field.

I don’t know a lot of writers in person. I hope to change that with a couple of writers conferences I am attending next year. Not many people understand what it is like to live the life of a writer. It is not glamorous, it often means spending time alone, the pay is not real steady, and your job requires a constant state of ideas flowing from your head onto paper. Having other writers in your world can help you feel a little bit more sane and justified.

We live in a fast-paced world of instant gratification and minimal role models. Finding inspiration is not always easy. If you are a blog owner, there are millions of other blogs to compete with. Quality content is becoming more and more important on the Internet.

When you are in a rut, take a few moments and look around you for inspiration. Take some of these steps to loosen the ideas that are buried under boredom or monotony. Keep a notebook handy so when inspiration strikes, you can jot those ideas down!

Question: What do you do when you are seeking inspiration?

About Julie McElroy

Julie writes for Inspired to Write where she offers tips, resources, and writing inspiration for writers and bloggers. She is also a freelance writer for various websites and blogs.


  1. I just love reading your articles, and it really helps me be informed with the trends, I got caught up with your words “We are no longer writing for people, but for search engines.” And I must agree. While I am blogging for just the heck of it (I am a 60 year old grand mom), I also want to do it as a form of a sideline. To answer your question. 1st I look around for inspiration (like your blog) 2nd I close the pc, look out my window and write. It is just funny when the world supposedly is on a standstill, you can clearly see what goes around you.Thanks again Julie, you are an angel.
    Jean Birdsong recently posted..Hello world!

  2. I believe in the following 4 rules:
    1. write articles for users.
    2. write articles to promote your self as a knowledgeable person on a subject.
    3. write articles because you want to share your personal opinion.
    4. Write articles because you enjoy writing.

    That’s it …
    Paul Lopez @ BODHost US recently posted..How To Find the Technology Behind an E-commerce Site?

  3. When I am seeking inspiration I will check out what my favourite successful bloggers are doing and read their latest posts. it’s great to follow others that are already doing what your goals are.
    Darren recently posted..Outdoor Bootcamp Workouts

  4. Hi this is very nice topic How to Squeeze Writing Inspiration from a Stone

    into subscribers. Inspiring posts create a connection with your readers. Wasn’t that the original intention of you the pay is not real steady, and your job requires a constant state of ideas flowing from your head onto paper. Having other writers in your world can help you, and you will be making some business. Thanks
    William Anderson recently posted..motivation blog

  5. Writer’s block I am familiar with, so I never write unless I’m ‘in the mood’ and can give 100% to my readers and a unique article. This of course means I write less, update my website less but at least I know what I have written is pleasing Google too. In my book uniqueness will win over everything in the end. Like you say, Julie, the top ten list is always a good prompt.
    Juliette recently posted..Anthony Hopkins

  6. Thanks for the tips on how to re-invigorate one’s creative juices. I pride myself in the quality and variety of content on my site. I must admit that there are many times that I suffer from writers’ block. I never give up though and eventually I break through and the words begin to flow again.

    Ellie recently posted..Control Panic Attack

  7. There are a lot of good quality blogs that rank lower than spun articles or blogs because of SEO. Though there are some bad contents out there that focuses only traffic, there are some bloggers that aim on having a connection with readers. It is great that a lot of these talented bloggers are also performing SEO especially that a lot of readers deserve to read their posts.
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  8. Great post – I find that the blogs that mix personal stories with business articles and how-to posts are my favorite blogs to read. The personal touch must be there for me to really make a connection. As for inspiration, I read a lot and that helps, but I also keep a journal around all the time to jot ideas down on and I keep a notepad file on my desktop that is where I collect quick ideas and possible post topics when I’m at my desk. Then when I’m feeling inspired to write, I’ll look through my ideas and often write several posts all at one time.

    Jennifer Bourn, Bourn Creative
    Jennifer Bourn recently posted..WordPress Plugins for the Genesis Framework by StudioPress

    • Thank you for your comment. I think having a notepad has also helped me, it seems like ideas come during the oddest times, so it is good to have something available to jot your notes down!

  9. I think these are good ideas, but I hope I could offer one, myself?

    Well, since this isn’t an IM conversation and not the medium for that, I’m just going to write it, and anyone who doesn’t want to read it don’t have to.

    I just… talk. My writing style is almost identical to my speaking style, so I talk. Out loud, in my head, and the words just flow. That’s why I occasionally use improper grammer, like “anyone who doesn’t want to read it don’t have to,” because even though it’s not perfect oxford English, it’s how I talk.

    Talking has always helped me write.

  10. I admire this post a lot. Having inspiration is the key to have a formula in writing. Most of us are soft spoken as they say when writing but some deliberates an inspiring article. It is our better way to write with an inspiration. With that, it drives us to imagine and think beyond beautiful things in so many perfect ways. Just don’t limit yourself and extend what you know.

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