Stuck With Writers Block – Find Your Inspiration


Have you ever had one of those light bulb moments where an idea comes in out of the blue? It’s the sort of idea that you feel compelled to act on and it can make you drop everything or keep you awake in the early hours. Perhaps you had a vision for a new invention that will make you rich, an idea for a novel or even something to save or change the world.

These types of inspirations are wonderful. They seem to come in at random when you are least expecting them and they happen to all of us. They also seem to come in fully formed in less than a second. Isaac Newton apocryphally had one when an apple fell on his head leading to his Laws of Motion and Theory of Gravity. What actually happens in these cases is that you are thinking of something other than the task at hand. To understand where these types of inspiration come from, it’s worth looking at times when they don’t happen. Say you are suffering from road rage or you’ve had an email that’s upset you, I think you’ll agree it’s hard to be creative. On the other hand, if your inner critic or internal dialogue is running, it has the effect of damping inspiration and the flow of ideas.

Mind maps are a really useful tool to use to get you into a creative way of thinking. The left brain tells the right brain, “Leave the maps to me, I’m good at structure and navigation.” While the logical left hemisphere is busy, the right brain is left free to sneak under its radar and get into full creative flow. To get into a dissociated mode where you are “not thinking” about an issue, here’s a simple mind mapping exercise. Note that you don’t need any special software, pen and paper is just fine.

In the middle of a piece of paper, draw a picture that represents the opportunity or issue on which you would like some inspiration. Now get any book and pick four pages at random and count down to the 7th line on each page. When you get to the 7th line, find the first noun in that line for each page. If there isn’t a noun, use the first adjective and if there aren’t 7 lines choose another page at random. Now draw four branches off your central image with each of the words on them. Then, without thinking if possible, draw sub-branches with words that come to mind from each of these seed words. Like word association, just write down the first words that come into your head. Feel free to make more associations from the new words. You will find you have been taken down several new routes in your thinking and you may even have had a blinding flash of inspiration. When you visit my website you’ll find numerous examples of mind maps there.