Tales From A Hungry Life

July 23, 2018

Desperately Seeking Inspiration

Filed under: Family,Food,food, family, fun, laughter,Humor,nostalgia,pets,Teachers,Uncategorized,writing — talesfromahungrylife @ 7:43 am

by Maria Schulz

No, not her.

Over the past year, my regularly scheduled novel writing/memoir writing/blog post writing has been hobbled by writer’s block. Let’s just say that life’s slings and arrows knocked me off my pins. I’m starting to feel like I can write again…but first I have to combat the feeling that I’m just no good at it.

Writer’s block is even scarier than all of the things that I dread most: stairs that go bump in the night, turning on the TV to a station playing The Exorcist, and being stuck in a small room with an angry, yardstick-wielding nun. As a lifelong writer, I know that the best way to get through this is to keep writing, but for the first time in my life, the written word has failed me.

Where did you go?

That’s not to say that I’m not writing. I write every day for a living. My job requires me to come up with a new way to sell a book, a movie, or merchandise every single day. It’s always fun and since I don’t have the luxury of waiting for my Muse to show up, I just plow my way through and create.

Writing has been my most loyal friend ever since I turned a homework assignment about Alaska into a story about an Alaskan girl, her Siberian Huskey, and their quest for food. So, here are the things that I did to track down my loyal friend–and beat the block.

10 Ways to Find Creative Inspiration When It’s MIA

Don’t wait around for the Muse to show up before you start working. Sit yourself down in that chair and WRITE! Or if you’re an artist, PAINT. Photographer? PHOTOGRAPH. Your Muse is a sassy pain in the butt, and she probably enjoys making you sweat. You go out there and FIND HER RIGHT NOW.

Stop Living in the Past, Man. Let go of whatever trauma or heartbreak took you to the edge. Reel yourself in and get going. You can’t change the past, but you can change the present. If being creative is who you are, you’ve got no excuses not to create.

You’re living in the past, man

Give Yourself Time to Heal. If you’re dealing with an existential crisis, mental illness, debilitating grief, or physical infirmities, don’t force it. But don’t you dare embrace the idea that you’ll never do it again. Once you start to feel better, get cracking.

 

There’s no time like the present

Do What You Can with What You Have Where You Are Right Now. No one expects you to paint a masterpiece, write the great American novel, or complete a concerto on the first outing. Go slow. Do the best you can. But show up.

Look on the bright side

Don’t Beat Yourself Up for This. You have the right to say “I can’t do it today.” But when the day comes that you think you’re feeling up to it, dip your toes in the water. “Swim” for five minutes if that’s the best you can manage. Little by little, you’ll get there.

Life is Arbitrary and You May Never Get the Answers You Need. With that said, there’s no time like the present to create something beautiful. You might just help someone out there who is struggling.

Life is beautiful

If life seems devoid of inspiration, go find it. Everyone carries their phone in their pocket, which means you also have your camera. Take pictures. Don’t say there’s nothing worth immortalizing. The smallest things may inspire you the most. Plus, no one sees things quite the way you do. Share your vision and soon, you’ll reignite that missing creative flame.

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White

Walk the dog. The great thing about having dogs is that there is never any excuse not to get outside and walk, feed, and play with them. You can’t tell your pet, “Not today.” You get up, feed them, walk them, throw sticks, run with them, and care for them. It’s a lifelong commitment. Being creative is just like that. You have to tend to your creative habits faithfully, even when you don’t feel like it. Your creativity requires care and feeding.

Walking with my bestie

Help others. When you’re down, it’s easy to turn inwards. Helping someone else takes the focus off of your broken heart and empowers you. Do something as simple as driving an elderly neighbor to the doctor or picking up groceries for a sick friend. Run a 5K for Alzheimers. Swim laps for Multiple Sclerosis. Make dinner for families at Ronald McDonald House. Do the Out of the Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Kindness is a gift that everyone needs and everyone can afford.

Take care of yourself. While you’re fighting the good fight, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Exercise often. Accept offers of help from family and friends. Ignore your worst critic (you, and the voice inside of you that says you aren’t any good at writing/painting/creating anyway). Eat good food. Don’t overeat or drink too much. Stay sharp, remain persistent, and eventually, you’ll stare down your creative block.

Recipes

Check out this article from Buzz Feed for some wonderful recipes and learn how to swap out some of your old go-to items with healthier things (like zucchini noodles instead of pasta).

Comfort Food the Healthy Way

Healthy pot pie

 

Turkey, Feta, and Zucchini Meatloaf

 

Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs

 

Healthy Loaded Potato Skins

There’s nothing quite like eating food that tastes great and doesn’t make you gain a million pounds. Fuel your creativity with food that is comforting, tastes great, and is good for you. Your body and soul will thank you.

So…have you ever found yourself stuck and unable to create? What are your best tips for breaking the dreaded writer’s block? What’s your favorite healthy comfort food recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

19 Comments »

  1. Glad to see you’re back!

    Comment by Doreen Moran — July 23, 2018 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  2. Believe in yourself and the smiles, laughs and joy you bring to others through your craft! Glad to hear you’re coming out of it!

    Comment by Christine — July 23, 2018 @ 9:38 am | Reply

    • Thank you! It’s hard work but I’m getting there. Glad to have always have you as a cheerleader.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — July 23, 2018 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  3. This is fantastic, Maria! I just got back from a weekend writers’ workshop in Spartanburg, SC, and we discussed when and how we find time to write. Ha! Most of us said we didn’t have time and hoped the workshop with light the fire again. My workshop teacher faced the same problem of finding the time and inspiration, as she has a full time job, too. The keynote said he wrote his novel in pieces–five minutes here, 30 minutes there, a quick note, or even a sentence scribbled on the run. And in the many years since he decided on writing as a career, he’d quit several times. Madame Muse may be out getting a mani-pedi, but it’s up to us to haul her @$$ back to work! In fact, I, too have to inform her the spa day is over! Thanks for writing this and offering so many great solutions, and you know if there’s food involved, I’ll cut the line! Write a sentence or two today, or a paragraph! Even if it doesn’t belong in your book, or it’s crap. You wrote! Need prompts? I’ve got gazzillions! I can send you the exercise we did in my workshop. I’m pretty sure you can adapt it to non-fiction.

    Comment by wordimprovisor177 — July 23, 2018 @ 10:05 am | Reply

    • Thanks Darlene. I’m glad you thought my tips were helpful. Yes, please send me your exercises. I can definitely use them!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — July 23, 2018 @ 10:29 am | Reply

  4. Welcome back. Good to hear from you! I missed this you! Sometimes a writer forgets that he or she is not the guiding force of the writing. Sometimes the character (s) take over and lead you where they want to go, a place you the author would never have dreamed of. So start writing and see where it all goes, where your creations take you. Don’t be too controlling. Give it all the freedom it wants.
    But most of all enjoy it all so when it is finally accomplished your readers can enjoy it all.

    Comment by bglou — July 23, 2018 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  5. Maria, I love this! I am inspired to look at visuals in new ways – just what I needed today. Thank you!

    Comment by Grace Maher — July 23, 2018 @ 3:37 pm | Reply

  6. Welcome back my friend!! 😀😀😀

    Comment by Paula — July 23, 2018 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  7. Comfort food is ice cream.
    Pushing through is important
    Accepting help is important
    Exercise can change everything. That not just me talking it science.

    Comment by Michael — July 23, 2018 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  8. What do I do when feeling blocked? I turn to you for inspiration, my writer friend! A block is simply a barrier for a force that needs to come through. You’ll never lose that. Welcome back.

    Comment by lisasafran — July 23, 2018 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m so glad I have you to turn to for inspiration, consolation, and big old belly laughs. I always know where to go when I feel faint and/or need a chocolate shake.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — July 23, 2018 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  9. Maria, everyday I get stuck and have to move myself to do things that I usually find fun and creative. My inner voice has to be changed from being a collaborator to sabotage myself, to a cheerleader that’s spurs me on to get things done. Sometimes I give myself a specific amount of time to wallow in my negativity, but then the time is up and I have to kick myself in the behind and move on. It helps when you have a spouse who is supportive and will gladly give you that kick in the behind too. Every day is a gift so we have to open it up and enjoy the present.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — July 26, 2018 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  10. Hey maria. I just got around to reading your latest. I’m no writer, but one of the things that I remember about hearing other writer’s talk about this problem, is when they simply just HAD to write something…..it HAD to come out. A case in point: Filmmaker Paul Schrader was being interviewed about how he came about writing “Taxi Driver.” To hear him talk about it, it wasn’t even about this character called Travis Bickel. Schrader said at the time, things were really going wrong in his life: He was getting a divorce, his agent had just dropped him, he wasn’t able to pay his rent in N.Y.C. (even in the early 70’s that was still an issue) etc etc. So while he was in the process of moving to L.A., he just started writing. As he put it, “It HAD to come out of me, I just started writing, it NEEDED to come out.” And what wound up materializing was this fascinating story of a lonely loner who had a LOT of issues, including sleep depravation, which led him down a path that HE wasn’t even aware that he was going down. Probably a story Schrader felt that mirrored himself, certainly, but nevertheless it became what it became. I don’t know if you’ve been encountering “Schrader-like” feelings, but I think certainly for you, whatever might be creeping into your sub-consciousness, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just start writing and see where it leads you. Who knows? You might even bring to life the next memorable Travis Bickel!

    Comment by Paul — July 29, 2018 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

    • Hi Paul. Thank you for the inspirational story of filmmaker Paul Schrader. We do not share the same issues or reasons for being down but we do share the same desire to create. I will start writing regularly and see where it takes me. Thanks for being an inspiration to me and for cheering me on. I appreciate it more than you know.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — August 2, 2018 @ 10:25 pm | Reply


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