10 Reasons Why

10 Things to Do While Waiting for an Inspirational Blog Idea

dallas-zoo-07062016-2

1. Open the refrigerator door and stare into it.

It’s still all the same stuff that was in there the last twenty times you looked, but if you stare hard enough you will notice something that you haven’t seen in a while. You probably won’t want to eat it, but at least it’s something different. Move the pickle jar slightly to the left. This will change your whole perspective.

Open and close the produce drawer at least twice. There’s not any actual produce in here, because you haven’t used the bin correctly since two days after you bought the refrigerator, but that’s okay. Instead, you use this drawer for questionable items that should probably be thrown away, but it’s just too much work walking three steps to the trash can. Easier to throw things in here and then let your Aunt Cleo find fuzzy surprises when she visits for Thanksgiving.

And you know the eggs have gone bad. Stare at them in their special container for a bit, wondering why eggs are the only things that get fancy places to live. Tell the pickles that they should speak with their Congressperson about better housing opportunities. Pretend that the pickles answer, because that makes it more exciting. Make plans to go out for drinks on Saturday.

2. Continue to not pay your bills.

You know that stack on your desk is getting pretty high. Those little letters are lonely, especially the ones that you haven’t even bothered to open because people want money and you don’t have any. Perhaps you could at least prioritize them, moving those items that qualify as “really should do something about this one” to the top of the stack. But that would require you to make decisions, like whether or not the phone bill is more important than the electric bill, and who has time for that? Don’t pay anything and wait for something to be turned off. Make it a game. With sad little prizes.

3. Check out other blog sites.

Go to one that you really like, one that has lots of followers who worship the writer and post glowing comments full of devotion. Dream about this. Then read one of the writer’s new entries, and realize that you can never produce something as stunning as that. Cry a little bit. Then recover, and add what you hope is a witty comment that will somehow magically increase traffic to your own site. This won’t happen, but at least you’ll have a purpose in life for thirty minutes.

4. Floss.

5. Check your email.

Marvel at the number of kind and generous people who seem willing to part with large amounts of money if you’ll just provide a tiny bit of personal information. Ponder why there seems to be such an incredible need for mystery shoppers. Wonder what you might have clicked on at some point that would lead someone to believe you would be interested in racy photos of scantily-clad Russian nymphets as they go about farming duties.

Delete any emails that reference your stack of unpaid bills. Just because you send me reminders does not mean that my paycheck is any bigger.

Go through your mail folders, those things you swore you would keep organized THIS time but didn’t, and see if you can remember why you chose the insipid folder names that you did. Most of the names will not make any sense. Reviewing the contents of the actual folders only deepens the mystery. How did this happen? Do strangers have access to your account? Sadly, they don’t. You’re just getting old and forgetting things, like the number of children you actually have, what the hell is up with that unknown key on your key-ring, and the years 1987 and 1993.

6. Play Solitaire.

Ignore the fact that this game is designed to disappoint you, with it being mathematically impossible to win more times than you lose. Don’t worry that the repeated crushing realization that you are out of moves can lead to mental instability, or at least the exchange of harsh words with nearby relatives who were just innocently inquiring if you would like some tea. Beverage-offerings aside, it is somehow their fault that you can’t get to the 6 of diamonds that you need.

Give in to the addiction, let it consume you. Click away on that wireless mouse until the battery dies, thus giving you a reason to drive to Walgreen’s, thereby delaying the writing of your blog post even further. Once at Walgreen’s, peruse the candy aisle, checking carefully to see if anything new has been invented that you need to taste. Go to the greeting card section and turn all of the stupid ones face down. Contemplate why there are so many brands of enemas. Then think of Congress and you suddenly understand why.

7. Change your Facebook profile pic.

Take a tranquilizer first, then go through images of yourself, looking for one that is halfway decent. Get slightly despondent that all of the really cute shots are at least twenty years old. Back when you had dreams and didn’t yet qualify for life-altering credit cards. So now you have to decide: Do you use one of the old ones, making you somewhat similar to those wicked people who use fake photos on dating websites? Or do you use one of the new ones, where you look like you just crawled out of a septic tank no matter how you style your hair?

Perhaps you should have a glass of wine while you make your decision.

In the end, don’t change the picture at all. Keep using the current image, even though you don’t like it anymore. Your friends are already used to that one, and they’ve stopped asking questions about what that thing is in the background, and why it looks like you’ve torn off half the picture. (No need to stir up the rumors about your “lost summer” with that guy you met at Luby’s who turned out to have issues and a criminal background the size of a phonebook.) Instead, just make a status update. Something about a rutabaga. Then keep refreshing the page until three people have “liked” it. Your work here is done.

8. Think about doing the laundry. Then don’t.

9. Organize the top of your desk.

Hide everything in the drawer that has the most spare room. Decide to vacuum your mouse pad, because it will take at least fifteen minutes to get the Dirt Devil out and set it up, twenty if you pretend to look for the accessories that you haven’t seen in years. Clean your monitor, wondering exactly who it is that has been touching the screen so much, because it sure hasn’t been you. Or at least, not that you recall. (Is it time to consider a stronger vitamin regimen?) Move the printer, gaze at the dust bunnies, make vague plans to deal with that at some point, then shove the printer back in place.

10. Justify your slacker existence.

Use an online dictionary to look up a word that you don’t really intend to use, because this is considered “research”. Call one of your friends and talk about who shouldn’t be wearing certain things when they look like THAT, because this is considered “social networking”. Go to YouTube, and watch videos of stupid people hurting themselves after the phrase “watch me do THIS” is uttered, because this is considered a “cultural review”.

And finally, just start writing down whatever pops into your head. There’s a risk of this resulting in useless gibberish of no value whatsoever. But sometimes you just might end up with something that might actually, minimally entertain your reader.

Sometimes.

 

Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 07/07/10 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 10/26/13. Minimally revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

Story behind the photo: A random shot I took at the Dallas Zoo. I thought it was a nice homage to the barren wasteland that can be one’s mind when trying to write, with walls that seem insurmountable, a bunch of crap lying around that isn’t worth anything, and a complete lack of any other creature to share your pain. (P.S. It was 106 degrees that day. Whatever animals that were supposed to be in this exhibit had clearly hightailed it to the locker room, leaving the idiot humans to stagger around in the heat and take boring pictures of nothing.)

 

50 replies »

    • I’ve always thought that some of my favorite stories have happened when I just force myself to start typing whatever comes to mind, and then I start whittling from there. Of course, I also end up with a lot of junk with that method, so you win some, you lose some… 😉

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  1. It’s all very true and I have been doing a number of the items on your list this morning also. I have actually sorted out some kitchen drawers as I have a rare day off without small children (this could be interpreted as procrastination from writing plans which I of course deny strenuously-there are plenty of hours yet to pen a masterpiece before school finishes).
    Item number 3 on your list has been successful and has indeed driven more traffic to your blog- thanks for visiting mine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is amazing how quickly I will run attend to mundane tasks that I have been avoiding when faced with the alternative of being productive in a literary sense. I’m always fine once I force myself to start typing; it’s getting TO that point which proves challenging. And yes, Item Number 3 is actually a wonderful thing overall. I relish the randomness of WordPress that allows us to stumble upon other writers, opening doors to entrancing archives full of many fine finds…

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  2. My favourite is putting socks into pairs or removing the polythene from the pile of unsolicited catalogues from gardening centres/bookclubs/charities etc and placing said catalogues in recycling bin. I do admit to frequently staring into the fridge or the raw chocolate cupboard. I also look out for the man who walks past several times a day, who always but always kicks a piece of gravel off the pavement and onto our neighbour’s driveway across the road and always carries a plastic carrier bag and I ponder on all the reasons why he would go back and forth to the shops so many times a day. We’ve been admiring the natty new bowler hat he’s taken to wearing since Christmas. It passes the time…

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  3. I had to check the title of this a couple of times, Brian as I was reading through. I was thinking it was ten things your work colleague does while you’re working your butt off. I think I’m still mentally tuned into a recent work related piece, either way another highly enjoyable piece that had me chuckling contentedly. Thank you. 🙂

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    • Well, if you’re still channeling my work colleagues, I can assure you that many of them wouldn’t dream of expending the physical energy it takes to accomplish some of the tasks mentioned above. Catatonia? They’re ON it. Otherwise, you couldn’t tell them from a sack of flour. But I’m not bitter. 😉

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  4. I thought it was a pic of the Phoenix Zoo, but alas, twas not. I’m sure we were 110 that day, though, and true enough that the animals hide. They’re way smarter than we are.
    I typically walk the dog when writer’s block hits, hoping I’ll catch a neighbor doing something foolish enough to inspire me. Sadly, my neighbors are rarely cooperative. Also, it might be 110 outside and my dog is hiding. It’s rough.

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    • Another inspirational method is going out to eat at a local restaurant, preferably one that has a liquor license. People do and say the most amazing things when they are being gluttonous, assisted by slight inebriation. Everyone has to eat, naturally, so you often encounter a rainbow of personalities whilst noshing on a fat-laced enchilada at a reasonably-priced establishment. Oh, sudden flash: I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of my restaurant reviews here on this site. I must dig and review for possible recycling. See how you are? Always leaving a nice sprinkle of inspiration everywhere you trod… 😉

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  5. Dust the rods on your Old School BowFlex resistance weight machine when you walk by, like you’re planning on using it. Someday. Maybe. There is an erotic fairy tale in there somewhere.

    Make a realistic Chihuahua out of the dog hair that’s been building up behind the bedroom door. Use the two black pearls from the necklace the real dogs broke that you found barefoot in the middle of the night for eyes.

    Don’t just stare. COUNT the science experiments in the fridge and see if by channeling them they jog a whimsical, or at least not profanity laden, bloggable memory.

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    • You’re on an admirable roll with these concepts, titillating in their realness and quirkiness. I might have to hand the torch to you for the second installment of what obviously needs to be a series. You add your 10, then I’ll add 10 more, rinse and repeat, and eventually we will have a Tome of Procrastination that will be a huge bestseller. At least in our own minds… 😉

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    • This is a great idea, and I actually do this sometimes, especially when it comes to vacation photos. When we travel, I take hundreds of close-up shots of textures and colors, because they can be easy triggers to launch into stories…

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  6. 10 things? I only need to do three things for inspiration:

    Get on my bicycle, ride to the beach, and watch the waves roll in. Works every time!

    I can think of a few things that should never be done while waiting for inspiration, as well.

    😎

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  7. Another danger about number 3 is that you might come across someone writing about the same topic you wanted to write about except they already did it way better than you ever could. This reminds me of that time I tried to write about Amazon reviews…. sigh 😔

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    • Yep, I hear you on this one. There have been many times when I think I’m being clever and creative, crafting a nice little story, and then BAM I stumble across a post that says it all already. So I quietly close that Word document and move on with my life… 😉

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  8. Number 8 is me day after day… until I absolutely have to do it, then I succumb. Number 3 is my next goto… pretty much for anything procrastination-wise. (And now you have to go back and double check what #8 and #3 are, :D)

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