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Overcoming Writers Block and Getting Out of a Creative Funk

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Little Miss Momma: Overcoming Writers Block and Getting Out of a Creative Funk

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Overcoming Writers Block and Getting Out of a Creative Funk

Tips to Overcoming Writers Block and

How to Get Out of a Creative Funk

For a while, when people asked me what "I did",
I would answer, I'm a Mom and a blogger.
The Mom part always felt good to say.
But, from the look on the asker's face,
I could always tell the blogger part had them confused.
You blog?
And people care?
Now, they never say those exact words,
but its usually written all over their faces.
Instead they say, Oh how nice for you.
One time I even got up the nerve to say: I'm a writer.
But I cringed later as I thought about those words being uttered,
and I felt like a fraud.
How could I call myself a writer?
I'm not contracted with a publisher,
I don't use complete sentences,
I have no formal training,
I don't know the first things about grammar
and I make mistakes.
Bu then I thought about it some more,
and I realized if I want to be a writer,
then I need to own it.
For me, there is a strange contradiction when it comes to writing 5-7 blog posts a week.
#1 It's Hard: Often times I get writers block and struggle for topics to discuss.
#2 It's Easy: Yet, the more I write, the easier it comes.

So I guess it goes something like this:
  • It's time to write, so I sit down at the computer, no topics in mind.
  • I randomly select a topic, and start throwing a bunch of blah, blah, blah down on the screen.
  • I finish my blah, blah, blah, take a step back and re-read the post.
  • And then, out of nowhere I am suddenly inspired with the true topic I should be writing about. 
This is my creative process, it all happens pretty fast, and its therapeutic.  It's how I discover what thoughts lay deep within my mind and my heart. Very often a post will start out as a simple update on the adventures of Baby W, and then, somehow it transforms into a life lesson I have learned as a new momma, as a wife, as a friend, as a blogger--and usually I have no idea how I got there. 

That's the beauty of creative writing for a blogger {as I see it}.

It's on your terms. 
You don't need to hold a degree, or be the worlds best speller, or even be grammatically correct all the time {I certainly know I aint'}. You just need to find the style that gives your story a voice. 

For me, that style is casual.  I like to write to you as if we were cozied up in my living room, sipping hot cocoa {or a frozen lemonade} and eating chips and salsa, just chit chatting about life.  I use words such as "like", and "awesome", and "rad"--terminology certain to warrant the sweeping red pen of a college professor. 

But I'm not writing for him. 
I'm writing for me. And for you
And if we can't be in the same room enjoying an afternoon chat over chips and salsa, I still want the conversation to feel like that's what we're doing.

This might be your style too.
It might not.
Either way, we all have moments where we struggle to find our voice, struggle to channel our creativity. And there are a few tips I have discovered that help me get out of my slump.

Here they are:

1. Bring Your Camera Everywhere
My friends laugh at me, because literally everywhere we go I take out my giant Nikon camera and snap away. And I don't just take pictures of the seemingly important stuff. Nope, you'll find me snapping away at Baby W enjoying his snack, or the way his toes looked curled up in the grass, or how his little lips look all puffy when he takes a nap.  Being picture-taking-obsessed has taught me that these little fleeting moments are the the important ones. These are the photos that I will pour over when I am old and gray reflecting on the good'ol days.

2. Let Your Photos Inspire You
As I said, I take pictures of everything.  And often times, when I sit down to write, I spend the first few minutes browsing through recent photos I have taken.  They inspire me.  A picture of Baby W enjoying a giant pie inspired this post.  An old picture of me as a teenager inspired this post. Pictures of Baby W's mess inspired this post.  Pictures evoke feelings, and feelings can turn into words that mean something to you and your readers.  If you don't have any recent photos, go through some old family albums and be inspired by your past.

3. View Life As Your Next Blog Post or Writing Topic
I realize this may sound completely lame, and perhaps even sad.  But let me explain.  Blogging has given me a new appreciation for even the simplest pleasures in life--I often see things through the lens of my camera and through the story that I will tell about the picture.  I see the complete beauty in an afternoon walk, where once I just hurried along until Baby W fell asleep in the stroller.  I go to the farm with Baby W and am excited by all the colors of the produce, and even the smell of the animals.  I grab hold of these feelings, even take pictures of them, and then store them away for a future blog post.  It makes for a much more "fun" and "happy" Momma.  *Note: Even with this fluffy new attitude, I still have my debbie downer moments, no doubt about it.

4. Keep a Notebook On You
I have a small pad of paper that I write down post ideas as they come to me.  I used to try to tell myself, you don't need to write that down, you'll remember. But I never do remember.  So now, I write them down.

5. Ask Friends or Family
I can't tell you how many times I have said to Ben, Hun what should I write about tonight? He always gives me a handful of ideas. I rarely use what he suggests. BUT, nearly every time, his ideas have inspired another thought in my mind--many that have turned into some of my favorite posts.

6. Use Popular Prompts
There are many popular topics out there that other bloggers have already written about.  And it's not plagiarism if you take that same topic and write your version.  For example, I wrote a post titled, Letter to 16 Year Old Me.  Your post would be completely different than mine, but you could still get ideas from this same prompt.  Other topic ideas: Life List, Awkward & Awesome, Things You Should Know About Me if We're Gonna Be BFF, Favorite Childhood Books.

7. Go Shopping and Read Magazines
I don't mean go buy a bunch of stuff, although go for it.  But I often get out of my creative funk when I go shopping.  For example, I was inspired to create my feather extension headband when I went to the mall and saw all the feather dangle earrings.  And I was inspired to create my pom pom necklace when I saw the fabric flowers on t-shirts at Old Navy.  Also, magazines like Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Woman's Day and Better Homes & Garden always have fun DIY ideas to help inspire your creative minds.

So that's it.
Those are my tips.
They don't always work,
but most of the time they do the trick.
So go on and be a writer.
Own it.
Your words matter.

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

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At July 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM , Blogger Christiana said...

A lot of great advice here. I'd say more, but I really need to go write, now that you've inspired me!

At July 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM , Blogger The Miller's said...

Loooove this post! I just love how everything you pour into many of your posts seem like you dug into my own heart & typed away. :o)


At July 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM , Blogger jo said...

Totally loved this post! I've blogged for over 10 years but my blogs have moved and kept changing according to my passions in life at the time... I've never thought of myself as a blogger but I guess I am. :)


At July 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM , Blogger Andi said...

Once again, you hit the nail on the head Ashley...I needed this thank you! You always find a way of adding worth to a mad-woman trying to keep up with what life has dealt. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, a maid, a counselor, a crafter, a business owner...I am exhausted...I AM a WRITER! :)

At July 20, 2011 at 5:34 PM , Blogger Christina said...

I just pinned this for ANY time I have writers block...I <3 you and your insights :)

At July 20, 2011 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Shabby Life said...

You, my dear, are my new best friend! Seriously, I agree with everything you said!

P.S. I never go anywhere without my camera and a pen!


At July 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM , Blogger Christina said...

This post is super helpful!
Thank you, btw I Love the first quote :)

At July 20, 2011 at 5:56 PM , Blogger Carmella said...

Thanks, yet again, Miss Momma for an oh so awesome...rad....and very inspirational post!

At July 20, 2011 at 6:20 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you for this!! I have been in such a funk. I used to write things just to write, but then I didn't get many comments or feedback and I got discouraged. I just need to realize that I'm writing for me, no matter if someone else reads it or not!!

At July 20, 2011 at 6:39 PM , Blogger Cassie said...

Great post! Seriously! I've been in a funk lately about writing on my blog. I don't have many followers and very few people comment, and though I blog for myself, I love chatting with other bloggers and getting comments and meeting new people. So when that's not happening, I get kind of sad about writing, maybe i'm not writing what people want to read, maybe my writing isn't good enough.

So this post really helped me! Thank you so much! =D

At July 20, 2011 at 6:43 PM , Blogger saturated canary said...

this is the best blogging post i've ever read. and i have bought the e-courses (two, actually) and read the tips on other's blogs-- but this was really great. maybe bc you aren't trying to teach, but encourage. thank you!! for the (free) advice;) i just recently started reading your blog and am kinda loving this place!!:)


At July 20, 2011 at 6:48 PM , Blogger Simply Sammie said...

Once again thank you for inspiring me.

At July 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM , Blogger Mindy Harris said...

i so appreciate this post, ashley! thank you for sharing your knowledge and what inspires you to write. yes, you are a writer! i recommend a book, the daily writer by fred white (it's 366 meditations to cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life).
you're my blog hero! i hope one day to have a blog business like yours.

At July 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM , Blogger Nichelle @ Vintage Wanna Bee said...

Oh my goodness. I love you! Just what I needed to hear! I don't know how to explain blogging to people who ask what I do... it's strange how much it becomes a part of you. You are more of a writer than me, so I need to think of my own cool word... but you're awesome. And I'm not sure bloggy world would be the same without you. I probably wouldn't have stayed very long, but it's a blessing (strange but true) that I did.

P.S. I'm determined to meet you one day. It's one of the top things on my bucket list.

At July 20, 2011 at 6:55 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

I could not have said any of this, any better. Perfectly said. I love to write, but do not consider myself a writer, and your creative process is exactly how it happens for me. I usually have no idea what I am going to write about...when I do, or when I think about it too much, it's just not the same as that vulnerable, whats on my heart post. Anyway, great tips as well. I'd say you've figured out this blogging world really well and are doing great at it- be proud to be both a writer and a blogger :)

At July 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM , Blogger hotpants™ said...

I have a list a mile long, but I don't feel like posting any of it. I'm in a funk.

At July 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM , Blogger JeNeal said...

Great Post today!! I too am an aspiring writer and this was just what i needed to hear!! Glad even someone as great as you gets writer block. Your posts are always amazing!


At July 20, 2011 at 7:16 PM , Blogger Alice Wills Gold said...

Thank you for this post.

I already do a lot of these things (like take my camera everywhere, let my photos inspire and ask people what to write about) but I got a lot of great tips from you.

I love your writing style and I love your pretty eye candy photography.

Thanks mostly for ALMOST convincing me that I am a writer.

At July 20, 2011 at 7:46 PM , Blogger Aileen said...

Such great tips. I often stare at my screen knowing that there's something to write, but not being able to figure it out. I, too, keep a notebook with me which definitely helps!

At July 20, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Lacee said...

Ashely, I LOVE THIS POST!! One of the reasons I was so afraid to start a blog was because I DO spell things wrong, my grammar SUCKS and I didn't know the "rules" of how to write a blog. Then I decided...SO WHAT. As long as people knew that what I was writing was coming from my heart, then that's all that mattered. If people wanted to judge me on my {lack of} writing skills then I didn't want them to read my blog anyway. That's exactly what I love about your can tell that everything that you write is coming from an honest's from your heart. So THANK YOU for this!! I just absolutely adore you!! <3

Lacee @ Mommas Like Me

At July 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM , Blogger Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

This couldn't have come at a better time! I've been in a bit of a writing slump lately. Thanks for the wonderful post, as usual! :)

At July 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM , Blogger Ashley @ Life Is Beautiful said...

Such a fantastic post!! It has certainly helped me! Just so you know, your posts usually always inspire me. One of these days I hope to be as awesome at blogging as you!

-Many Smiles!!

At July 20, 2011 at 8:10 PM , Anonymous Arm Candy For You said...

did you get inside my head & automatically knew what I was thinking:)
beautifully written:)

At July 20, 2011 at 8:44 PM , Blogger Kendall said...

This is such an awesome post- and it really speaks to my heart. I have been thinking these things for weeks- and I know what you mean about capturing the good moments on camera. Ever since I had my own baby W {wyatt} I've been taking pictures like nobody's buisness- and he inspires me. Also, walking down the isles of Joann's doesn't hurt!

Wonderful post- much love to you and your adorable family. <3

{} Remember me?!

At July 20, 2011 at 8:46 PM , Blogger Nobodys Nothings said...

excellent, beautiful, wonderful post. thank you. :)

At July 20, 2011 at 8:50 PM , Blogger Marie@PoutyPinkPrincess said...

Ashley, this is so inspirational! I love it! :)

At July 20, 2011 at 8:55 PM , Anonymous Zsa Zsa said...

Super helpful post, thank you Ashley! I've always wondered how you all your mommy duties and still find time to write, take photos and update your blog! Thank you for sharing your creative process. :)

At July 20, 2011 at 9:15 PM , Blogger Katie said...

Loved this post. I agree with everything and don't worry you can most definitely call yourself a writer!!!

At July 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM , Blogger Lauren said...

oh yes, this kind of made me do a shout for joy. I totally love everything you said, missy you are quickly becoming my favorite blogger to read :) thanks for always being YOU ups and down

At July 20, 2011 at 9:56 PM , Blogger Aleisha McD said...

Thank you for this wonderful post! I loved it!

At July 20, 2011 at 10:22 PM , Anonymous Simplegirl said...

Ashley, you are certainly gifted when it comes to your beautiful blog. I agree with several gals here, I've been in a funk too, due to being discouraged. I see so many bloggers that started blogging around he same time as I did and even started their etsy shops as I did, and those ladies, ahhuum... you too:-) have been soooo successful, where as I, have been sinking. I guess I went wrong in many ways, by not including more personal things, personality is key. But the fear of criticism, the fear of who's going to care, the fear of being a terrible writer, which I think I am...Thank you for this great post.

At July 20, 2011 at 11:05 PM , Blogger Caity said...

You seriously wrote down everythingI just literally took the time to write myself. I said "self, how can you be better at blogging?" And I started writing a list and it mirrors everything you just posted.... CRAZINESS!!!!!... You are such an inspiration to me and to share a lil secret my favorite blog to "stalk" maybe when u get a chance and arent soo busy you can check me out at looking forward to one day being able to call you a friend because I truly think you are amazing!..... Have a good rest of your week ***CAITY**

At July 20, 2011 at 11:21 PM , Blogger Breeann said...

This was great! I find myself having writer's block sometimes and this post was full of wonderful ideas!! Love it :)

At July 21, 2011 at 1:02 AM , Blogger Desiree @ The 36th Avenue said...


I just want to let you know that you are one of the "sew" cute GIVEAWAY winners at The 36th Avenue.

Please email me your shipping address on the next 48 hours at

I can't wait to see what you make with the stencils!

At July 21, 2011 at 2:18 AM , Blogger Noas' Libellule said...

OMG, I have just been thinking of where I wanted to take my blog, if it was taking so much of my time - especially in the evening, did I see it as my 'second job'? This all rings true, and I am definitely one to take my Canon everywhere with me..

At July 21, 2011 at 5:54 AM , Anonymous Melanie said...

Mission Accomplished! I always feel like we're eating chips and salsa when I'm reading your posts. I have only been reading your blog since March but feel like I know so much about you. And what I know, I like!!

At July 21, 2011 at 7:13 AM , Blogger Holly said...

Great thoughts! And I LOVE that "The War of Art" print. So, so great.

At July 21, 2011 at 7:14 AM , Blogger Erin said...

I so appreciate this post. Your post's have inspired several of mine over the past few months so thank you so much for that. You are a writer girl, a darn good one at that =)

At July 21, 2011 at 7:27 AM , Blogger southernscraps said...

Great writing and blogging tips. I found a bunch of inspiration recently from a shopping trip. I didn't buy the items but now have about a half a dozen DIY ideas.

At July 21, 2011 at 8:03 AM , Blogger Heather from said...

This post freed me up in a sense "the writer part" and the rest is just great too. Thank you, Ashley. You are awesome.

At July 21, 2011 at 8:59 AM , Blogger Simi said...

Very, very good advice. I never thought of the self-confidence thingy before. It's hard for me sometimes, with my limits that stop me from being everything I want to be, and doing everything I want to do to realize that it's not about being perfect.
Loved the post!
~Simi ♥

At July 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM , Blogger Misty Marie said...

Thank you so much for this post, its right where Im at right now. These are great ideas!!

xoxo, Misty

At July 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM , Blogger Cookie said...

very inspiring! thank you for writing this and all you do!!

At July 21, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Nelah said...

You truly are a writer...a good one too. You inspire and entertain us readers with your stories.

Great tips you shared here. I have been blogging for a little over a year and finally found my comfort zone. I blog about whatever my heart desires...not what I think people will want to hear. It is perfect.

At July 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

Funny, I have a hard time telling people I am a blogger as well. So far I've been super fortunate to remain creatively inspired but I love your ideas for us mommas when we will need that extra little bit of inspiration.

ana {}

At July 21, 2011 at 9:38 AM , Blogger j. w. said...

love it

At July 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Johanson Family said...

Too funny b/c I told myself I didn't need to write down my ideas and never remember them either. I had a GREAT IDEA pop in my head at 3am when I woke up to go to the bathroom. I even laid in bed a little while expanding on the idea.. woke up... Forgot.
:( Great post!

At July 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM , Blogger Rae said...

I really like point #3. Another blog I read made a point the other day about "Blog your life, don't live your blog," and it's a valid one, but if living my blog makes me go out of my box to give my family and myself edxperiences I might not have been motivated to otherwise... what harm? Thanks for a great blog!

At July 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM , Blogger Sol said...

loving this post it has given me inspiration!

Thank you.

At July 21, 2011 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

I adore #4. It reminds me of that Chinese proverb..."The palest ink is better than the best memory"...

nicolette @
momnivore's dilemma

At July 21, 2011 at 2:27 PM , Blogger Stephanie said...

Wow...I truly believe God has led me to you and other women I've found on-line. I needed this post, mostly to confirm that I AM what I've been too afraid to say. I am a business owner. I have created something other people want. And it's ok to say it....I need to hear that. I listen to the words I see on people's faces and let myself believe those are true.

Thank you. And ARE a writer. A very good one. Bad writers don't definitely do. <3

At July 21, 2011 at 3:30 PM , Blogger dana @ wonder forest said...

excellent advice... i think anyone who writes a blog has writer's block occasionally. i know i sure do haha. like you, i also find taking tons of photos inspires new topics.
xo dana

At July 21, 2011 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Chrissy said...

I love this post! I've been frustrated by professional writers who make snide comments that everyone with a laptop and internet connection thinks she is a writer. Well, I fit the bill and who are they to say I'm not a writer? I've heard it on NPR, I've read it on blogs of professional writers that I follow and it's simply not nice. My beginning knitter friends are still knitters. My beginning runner friends are runners. Thank you for inspiring fellow bloggers and WRITERS and giving me the confidence to call myself a writer.

At July 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

lots of great advice here. i needed to read this today and be reassured. thanks!

At July 21, 2011 at 4:09 PM , Blogger Meikjn said...

I was sen by a mommys life with a touch of yellow.

At July 21, 2011 at 8:52 PM , Blogger Confirmations of a Dream said...

You do such a great job! I love reading your posts! I'm not at the point in my life right now where I can have a blog right now, but I do totally relate with you, especially when I read this post. Keep faith, we love you and your doing a great job!!!

At July 21, 2011 at 10:21 PM , Blogger Kelsey said...

Thank you for all of the great ideas! My husband says I would be a great paparazzi because I am ALWAYS taking pictures of EVERYTHING. He especially hates it when I pull out my camera in the middle of eating out to take a picture of the food. LOL! I just love it - and I would consider my blog a lifestyle blog - so people need to see my lifestyle :)

Thanks again for your inspiration!

At July 22, 2011 at 12:14 AM , Blogger Angela said...

A mommy's life...with a touch of yellow just send me here. you're amazing :)

At July 22, 2011 at 5:43 AM , Anonymous Lisa @ lists in my pocket said...

Hi Ashley! I found your blog recently and have really enjoyed "getting to know" you. This is a great post, thanks for the advice!

At July 22, 2011 at 8:03 AM , Blogger Amanda M. said...

This was such a helpful post. Like you can't imagine how much I needed this. Thanks, Ashley!

At July 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ashley! This is perfect timing for me. I am transitioning from a 9-5 job to being a SAHM and a 'Potter'.... eekk I feel like someone is going to yell 'FRAUD! YOU SUCK AND DON'T HAVE TALENT!'
So thanks I really am an Artist and a Potter and need to believe in myself before others will.
<3 Marie

At July 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM , Anonymous invitation consultants said...

these are great tips!!

At July 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Samantha M. said...

What a great post! Thanks! I like your tip to keep a pad of paper with you. I'm the same, "Oh I'll remember." and I don't. :(

Samantha M.

At July 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM , Blogger Dirt On The Rocks said...

i stumbled on your site and it's fantastic. i was just talking to a fellow blogger via twitter about creative writing and being stuck in a rut about it. i definitely enjoy reading this post and will be sharing this with her and this is inspiring. i love your tips to get going on some creative juices flowing.

At July 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your blog because you seem very genuine and you appreciate all of your happy life experiences. I get so sick of the blogs that do nothing but judge other people and complain about how hard it is to be a mom. Thanks for being grateful with your life and not complaining.

At July 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM , Blogger Libby said...

I am pretty sure that the cow picture is at Underwood Family Farms. If so, I am getting married directly behind there at Walnut Grove! I looove Underwood Family Farms!

At July 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM , Blogger KeeKeeAllNatural said...

Thank you so much for sharing....These are really great times. I will began to take my camera with me everywhere & I need to keep a note pad in my purse.

At July 22, 2011 at 6:40 PM , Blogger [Kelly] said... sent me. :]] Loving the blog!

At July 24, 2011 at 5:45 AM , Blogger Melissa said...

I can not tell you how much your blog advice has helped me start my own blog. This post is just another one that has given me the encouragement to keep it up! Thank you for all you do.
My blog has just started but here it is...


At July 24, 2011 at 8:39 PM , Blogger LaynahRose said...

I've definitely looked at life like a next blog post since I started (only a month ago, although it feels like longer..) and I must say, I'm smiling more often and laughing harder...even when there isnt a camera in sight. And I write down awkward moments for thursdays :)

At July 24, 2011 at 10:01 PM , Blogger Kristen Duke Photography said...

Love this! I need to read again not on my phone in pitch black driving across Texas...;)


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