Bloggers: Your Dinner Habits are Sabotaging Your Creativity (or Why You Must Deliberately Unplug for Success)

candle-lit dinner
image courtesy of ser_is_snarkish

You have to be so fucking good at generating ideas to be a successful blogger.

Think about it: If you’re really trying to make your blog legit, you’ve quite likely committed to a regular posting schedule. And because of this, you need new content all the damn time. You’re writing all the damn time. And this stuff has to be fresh and new and inspiring/insightful/informative/whatever resonates with your audience, so you know simply having an idea isn’t enough; it has to be good.

And if you’re an efficient blogger, you also know you may even have to scrap the good stuff.

So to keep pumping out content–good quality content–you’ve got to have a gigantic pool of topics to choose from. You’ve got to have a gazillion ideas at the ready.

But how do we cause more ideas to happen? How do we set ourselves up to crank out possible post topics?

My Brain Exploded Over Dinner

I’ve been attempting to eat dinner without distractions lately. I eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks in front of my laptop, but at dinnertime, I’m really trying to sit at the table and eat and that’s it. If John’s home, I’ll eat with him. Otherwise, it’s just me, my food, and sometimes a little classical music (which maybe makes me a tool, and that’s fine). This is a difficult thing for me to do–my computer and phone are lovely dinner companions–but overall, I’m liking it.

And you’re thrilled for me and you’re hanging on my every fuggin dinner-related word, I know, but here’s where I get back to the point:

I began noticing that as I sat there with just my food and myself, my brain was going crazy. Like, it was just rapidly wondering and philosophizing and imagining and analyzing…and I started coming up with post ideas left and right. One after another, they just kept coming. And it wasn’t an isolated incident; it happened repeatedly over several distraction-less dinners.

Other Surges of Creativity

This fascinated me (and also pumped me up, because I was like, this is BEAUTIFUL. I will blog brilliance forever because I’ll have an endless supply of awesome–all I have to do is eat dinner!!!!!!!!), and like everything else that fascinates me, I started to analyze it. (Also–and I hope this doesn’t blow your mind–I added this concept of an accelerated process of developing possible post topics to…my list of possible post topics. And this post is that post. You’re reading it right now ARE YOU OK?) Why was this happening? What was causing these bursts of inspiration at dinner? How random, right?

Maybe not.

I wondered further if there was any pattern to my idea-producing behavior. I developed a list of other situations in which I seem to always be thinking of possible posts: at the gym, in the shower, on a walk, lying in bed.

What was it?

What’s Really at Work Here

The common denominator was the absence of mental stimuli. I came to this conclusion by conducting several tests and experiments based on years of professional research training.

Jokes! I’m naturally a genius.

Anyway, I’m possibly addicted to reading, and could realistically lose DAYS immersed in books, blogs, magazines, and websites. But when I’m consuming all this information, my brain is focused on it–and nothing else. It’s not free to explore the musings that are already in my mind, but are being pushed below the surface of consciousness because I’m giving all my attention to information outside my own brain (still with me?).

When I remove the stimuli and am forced to switch from sitting back and letting my mind be entertained, to actually actively thinking, I start dreaming up all kinds of good shit. In the situations above in which I’m always pulling out my phone to record post ideas, I’m never reading. Working out, showering, trying to fall asleep…these are all times my brain is left to wonder.

So really, my fellow bloggers, it seems the key to being an idea-having machine is not about adding anything to your environment or routine.

But rather, removing.

***

Discuss

How do you think of post topics? Have you noticed any situations in which you’re particularly inspired? What can you remove that may be stealing your attention and creativity?

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Your thoughts?
  1. Rebecca says:

    Great post Cassie! Definitely agree with your conclusion of letting ideas come to you when you’re away from distractions. When I lived abroad I used to take long bus rides and these were amazing times for my thoughts to wander. I carry a notebook with me so I can record down any ideas that come to me and these bus rides were perfect for collecting thoughts.

    • Cassie says:

      Oh yeah, I can definitely imagine my brain going crazy on a bus ride–makes perfect sense that ideas came to you then.

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