The Writer’s Instant Cure for Feeling Stuck

Carol Tice

Ever found yourself scribbling story ideas down as you’re driving away from your house to go on vacation?

That happens to me every time.

I have strong memories of where I was when I got many of my best writing ideas. Often, they happen somewhere besides my home office.

Same with big ideas for new directions to take my whole writing career. It seems like the minute I leave my usual spot behind, creativity blooms.

For instance, a couple years ago, I was at SOBCon in Chicago on a beautiful spring day, walking past the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park (better known as “the bean”), trying to digest all the amazing, inspiring speakers I’d heard: Liz Strauss, Tim Sanders, and so many more.

Suddenly, I realized I knew exactly how to take this blog to the next level: I was going to pay for blog posts.

I immediately knew it was the exact right thing to do, despite the expense.

There was something about being out of my writing cave, getting exposed to all of the entrepreneurial energy and new ideas at this event, that it shook loose and suddenly, there was the answer.

It was the same with starting Freelance Writers Den. I’d thought about doing it, I’d mused about whether that would be a good idea.

But I came home from one conference committed to making it happen — and soon, within the next few months.

I don’t know if Freelance Writers Den would have ever ended up launching if I hadn’t had that change of perspective of getting out and meeting new writers and speakers.

As writers, we have a crying need to shake it up. To break out of our routine. To see new places and meet new people.

Without that, our creativity withers.

Where I’m going next

Which is why when I got a call a few months back from Surrey International Writers Conference asking me if I’d come present at their event next week, I jumped at the chance.

It’s been too long since I hit the road and met other writers. So I can’t wait to get there.

If you’re interested in meeting up live, feel free to join me in beautiful British Columbia. Online registration closes Monday, but I gather there will be on-site reg as well if you want to come last-minute.

I’m excited about this event because it has a tasty mix of sessions and presenters for every type of writer, from authors to reporters to bloggers.

I’m on a social media panel, and I’ll be teaching on how to earn from your blog, and how to market yourself as a freelance writer.

Before you bring it up in the comments, yes — going to conferences costs a decent chunk of money.

But here’s the weird thing: Looking back a year later, I have yet to attend a conference where I didn’t think the cost was paid back to me many times over in new ideas and initiatives that came out of my experience.

Getting out of your rut is always a good investment.

Where do you get your writing ideas? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite spots.




  1. Anca Dumitru

    It depends. It can happen when I listen to people talking about something they’re passionate about, or I watch a movie that I think may have a certain impact on the community, when I listen to music, or simply when I’m on the road.

    The thing is, if I don’t write an idea down immediately, it goes away in an instant. So I try keeping a notebook nearby (in my bag, on my bedside, desk, even in the kitchen 🙂 ) I sometimes use my phone voice recorder so I don’t miss it.

    Have fun in BC, Carol! Looking 🙂 forward to your posts about it when you’re back.

    • Carol Tice

      Oh, they’ll keep coming even when I’m gone…I work ahead. 😉

      Movies, TV and other media are always great fodder for ideas for me. I even developed a column I just ran weekly for a year with one client that was ALL about reviewing reality-TV shows! Always loads to riff on there.

  2. Taylor

    Like some of the people above, I get my ideas just when I’m trying to sleep. Usually, I bump into something while trying to get my pen. 🙂

  3. Theresa Cahill

    Like many above, as I’m drifting off I’ve composed complete articles, first chapters, poems, and more in my head. And yes, I think, “Get up and turn on the computer!” But… Trusting somehow I’ll remember it all in the morning. Sigh!

    I did get a digital recorder. It’s by my bedside. The moment I got it, the ideas stopped flowing at bedtime. Talk about ironic.

    However, I also get inspiration from client phone calls, newspaper articles, other features in magazines or just an run-in/conversation with a stranger in a store. Or you see an interchange between people (not being nosy, but they aren’t that quiet about it). My neighbors inspire me. My son inspires me. And my husband constructively (and patiently) helps me hone my sentences/message.

    Ideas are everywhere. It’s the keeping track of them all that can be the stumbling block.

  4. Techboy Rocky

    Writers definitely get stuck many times just because they are are human beings and sometimes one can get totally bored writing daily.. Going for a holiday, a movie can be a very wonderful thing for a writer…Sometimes we may get the best writing ideas when we are alone and listening to the music. I love your writing skills Carol and I keep trying my best to be in touch with your blog..

  5. Claudia Pesce

    Like someone else mentioned above, I get plenty of ideas in the shower. My sister just got her kid some of those Crayola bathtub markers kids use to scribble on the tiles – guess who needs a set of those! My ideas often get washed down the drain….

    Then I also get ideas while either walking or running – I try to jot those down as soon as I get home, but sometimes forget.

    Also, while falling asleep or waking up in the morning, which is a great way to get you out of bed early! But just like several of the folks here, most ideas come to me when I’m doing the most ordinary things.

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