If you want results in your physical body you can’t exercise only when you feel like it. And if you want to be consistent in your creative output you can’t just wait for the muse to visit.
To create consistently, you must learn to write even when you’re not inspired.
The best way to practice writing when you don’t feel inspired is to keep a journal. A journal lets you write just for yourself, so you won’t feel the pressure of needing some “big idea” or inspiration.
Still, I know that many people don’t journal because they don’t know what to write in their journal.
Here are some suggestions.
What to Write About in Your Journal
Write about the things you do during your day, both your outer experience and your inner experience. What did you do and how did you feel about it?
Write about what distracts you, and why it distracts you. Write about how you escape and what you were escaping from.
Notice how you interact with and react to the people around you, and write about what you notice.
Get curious about things. Write a list of questions you have and seek the answers. Write about what you learn.
If you see something that speaks to you — a piece of art, graffiti on a wall, a guy wearing a crown made of tin foil and newspapers on the subway — make a note of it, and write why it resonated with you.
Write about your conversations with others. Who was the conversation with? What did you talk about? What new insights did you have or what previously held opinions did you shift? Was there anything you didn’t say that you wanted to? Why did you hold back?
Listen to what’s going on around you and write about what you observe. Write about conversations you overheard. (I’m talking about conversations that are taking place in public, which are fair game. Don’t eavesdrop.)
Write about the sensations you feel in your body at different moments in the day. Write about the emotions you’re feeling.
Write what the voices in your head are saying. Even the voices that aren’t nice.
Write about the books you read, the TV shows and movies you watch, the articles you read. Write about what about them resonated with you. Write about the lessons you learned from them.
Write about the things you wish were different and how you would change them.
Write all of this for yourself. That’s the point of a journal.
Benefits of Keeping a Journal
Doing this will do a few things for you:
- You’ll practice writing. Writing is the art of putting what you see and experience into words. If you can do it for yourself, you can eventually do it for others to read.
- You’ll start to actually see the world around you and your inner world. Most people who say they don’t have ideas are simply not paying attention to the world. Writing is noticing.
- You’ll get ideas. All those things you write in your journal will give you ideas.
- Bonus: Self-awareness and insight as you begin to see patterns in yourself. Also, you will see patterns of what resonates with you which will lead you to new places to explore.