Inspiration doesn’t strike when you’re sitting at your desk, staring at your computer screen. It happens outside of your office, plain and simple.
It seems like such a basic premise but I lived on the other side for far too many years. Back in 2007 when I got serious about blogging, I didn’t see anything wrong with sitting down to write, even when my well of inspiration felt completely dry. While my drive always carried me through, more often than not, I forced a completely unrealistic blogging schedule on myself because I felt I had little choice.
Walking the tightrope between blogging, a retail job, an internship and a full-time school schedule at the time, the balance was precarious at best. The truth was, I just didn’t have time to go out and live my life, then sit down to blog. After I turned my assignments in and finished my job for the day, all I had time left for was blogging.
This summer, eight years after starting this blog, I finally got my perspective in check. With the beautiful weather setting in earlier than expected in Portland and new clients booking into Branch at a record rate, I blogged a lot less and created and lived a lot more.
At first, it was a little scary to give up my fine-tuned regimen. After all, I’m a creature of habit — I depend on routines to get through days of working for myself and when that goes out the window, I feel out of sorts.
That uneasiness eventually settled and after awhile, something unexpected happened. Blogging less didn’t feel weird — it felt great. I only shared content I felt awesome about. No filler, no apologies.
Over the summer months, travel took me from London to Marrakech to Rome to Florence to San Francisco to Orlando to New York to Los Angeles and finally, to Palm Springs in rapid succession. Many planned posts never happened because right as I was beginning to settle in and write, I was already back on another plane.
Between traveling and big opportunities, blogging consistently fell by the wayside but it was on my mind the whole time. It’s something that never really leaves me because it’s occupied nearly 15 years of my life (oh Live Journal, how I miss thee). I get to share new ideas, discoveries and connect with you. Honestly? That personal creative outlet is EVERYTHING.
At the same time, everything goes through ebbs and flows. Life happens, good and bad. New opportunities can take up a lot of our time that blogging once commandeered. That’s okay. Having a life outside of the internet is so, so important because that’s what fuels our souls.
The creative spark needed to create original, meaningful content doesn’t strike when you’re shackled to your computer. It strikes when you’re out exploring, meeting new people and observing the world around you from a fresh perspective. When you do that and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens.
When you live your life to the fullest and then sit down to blog, the inspiration flows. Instead of wracking your brain trying to figure out what to write, you have a mental list of ten posts you can’t wait to start on. Instead of cobbling together images from Pinterest for your latest posts, you have a camera full of photos you took yourself. It feels so good.
Inspiration is lurking outside of your office, right this second. There are only so many hours in a day and there’s a whole lot of living to do. Explore the world, even if it’s the new coffee shop down the street. I just spent all week sitting in a hot tub under the stars in Palm Springs until the wee hours, chatting with creative souls. It was so much more inspiring than hitting refresh, hoping that inspiration would strike. Now, I’m feeling energized and ready to produce new content. The break was sorely needed.
You have permission to take a break. Live your life first. And, I can’t wait to see what you sit down to write when you finally have time to blog about it!
Photo: Taken in Marrakech by David McNeil.