As a writer, I'm constantly asked for work I've done in the past as justification for why you should hire me. (Hint: You should. We're great!) It's not uncommon to be asked for writing samples - of which I have millions - but today, combing through some older work, I came across this blog from 2014, where I was already figuring out what our awesome business model should be here at Rogue Penguin.
So without further ado, here's a post written four years ago to prove that us Penguins do what we say we can do, but ... a little differently.
Five tips to find inspiration (8/25/2014)
I was recently faced with a crippling bout of writers block and a looming deadline at the same time. It scared the pants off me. Literally. I spent two whole days not wearing pants and banging on this keyboard trying to make ideas come out of it.
It wasn’t until after I powered through, met the deadline (with results I wasn’t particularly happy with) and took a long, hot bath that inspiration hit.
It was as if the muses were in my citrus-smelling steamy bathroom telling me the great ideas I’d wish I’d had a mere 24-hours prior. I hated the frickin muses at that moment.
It may appear that us creative types, just sit down at a desk and fill pages with simply-put concepts and easy to read stories, but sometimes – most times – that’s not the case. Here are a few things I do to get inspired; many of which I’ve used successfully in the past. 1. Go outside. This one usually works because you see something outside your boring office and a laptop screen. Even a half hour long walk with the dog, or people watching in the park will often give me an idea or two. 2. Talk it out. Explaining the dilemma, preferably to someone without an agenda, but if possible, in the same industry, helps you carry out the first step of problem solving – identifying it. They may say just one word that hypes you into action or the whole conversation may lead you to alter your thinking about how to approach it. Because creatives often work alone, the isolation can dim your perspective too, so it’s good to get out of the office. 3. Go to the bathroom. OK, this one seems silly, but it’s true. Freelancers so often complain to me that they forget to eat all day because they’re working on something they feel they can’t walk away from. If you’re forgetting that you need fuel, you may be trying to finish that one sentence or graphic before hopping into the loo too.
Go in there and take your time. Really look in the mirror, go through the medicine cabinet, tweeze your eyebrows, read something on the toilet. Go to the bathroom and close the door. Take a little personal time. If all else fails, take a shower or bath. That tiny room is responsible for more of my good ideas than any other place in the house, and may be yours too. Just keep a notebook tucked in there somewhere so you’re not scrawling on the mirror with eyeliner when it comes to you. 4. Dance. Yoga. Run. There’s a strong scientific link between endorphins and thought development. Google it. Movement and concentrating on coordination – especially when paired with music – will clear the clutter from your brain allowing ideas to get in there. 5. Find a thought leader online. My recent writers block led me to some serious procrastination, which included several hours spent deep in a YouTube black hole. But I happened across a video that solved my problem so simply it smacked me in the forehead like my nephew when I asked who was his favourite Marvel character. (Ironman, in case you were interested.)
This awesome video speech from a thought-leader spoke my language and handed me a solution on a silver platter. He didn’t even know that speech from 2004 was being watched at the time. There are experts available to us all. For free. On the Internet! Go get it. 6. Write/doodle 10 minutes every day. This tip is a bit more preparation and not about finding the muses in a steamy bathroom, but it does lead to inspiration when needed. This habit keeps your brain in a particular mode, but more importantly, it’s something to come back to later when you feel tapped out.
Sure, sometimes you hear a song on the radio, spot an ad on TV, or simply wake up with five great ideas. But it’s not often and sometimes only lays the groundwork for other ideas later. When you really need a spark for an idea is when you’re least likely to have one, which is why most of these tactics are about changing perspective. Looking through a different lens can change the way you see the problem, allowing you to visualize a different solution.