Finding inspiration in the face of writers block

Any of you guys ever suffer from writer’s block?   I have to say that I’ve been pretty blessed since starting Operation Home in that it hasn’t happened often… though it definitely has happened.  And when it has, I’ve found myself at a loss for how to solve it.    I’m such a DIY-obsessed person that the wheels are constantly turning with ideas for projects to take on and things to do.  But sometimes, just… nothing.   Empty brain.  Nada.

And it’s an inner battle for me because I’m definitely a textbook Type A personality.  I like schedules.   I like reliability.  I like trying to stay with a somewhat predictable posting schedule so that all you lovely folks will know what to expect from my little outlet here.  But sometimes, life gets in the way… or, of course, the dreaded writer’s block.   And I’m faced with the question… Do I find something to post for the sake of posting??  Or submit to the continued silence emitted from my little slice of internet??

Long ago, I decided that posting for the sake of posting wasn’t really my bag. It never really interested me.  I felt like I wouldn’t be nearly as sincere or passionate in writing those posts and that ya’ll would see right through it.  I also didn’t want to complete projects that wouldn’t really work for us simply because I needed something to post about.  That just seemed like a waste of time and resources.  So, I’ve never justified doing that either.

During these timeframes of utter brain blankness, I’ve asked myself  “Self, how on earth do I find inspiration for useful projects that would benefit our family and home in the face of writer’s block?”  Obviously, in the context of this blog, writer’s block also = project block.

So, I started to brainstorm ideas that might help get the wheels turning again.   And, I thought I’d share what ended up working for me…

1. I started a running list.  Every time I’d think of a project that I wanted/needed to happen, I’d write it down.  It didn’t matter if I had writer’s block or not.  Just any time something came to me, I’d add it to the list.  I actually created a draft post called “project ideas” so that it’s right here for easy reference.  Whenever I felt a loss of inspiration, I referred to the list to see if there was something I wanted to knock off.  That way, I constantly had a useful list of projects that were applicable to us and our home.  Upon occasion, the list ran short… Or only contained projects that didn’t suit our budget or schedule at the time. In those cases, I continued with the following steps…

2.  I trolled Pinterest.  Both my current boards and pins yet to be seen.  I looked at my inspiration rooms that I’d pinned.  Examined what I liked about them and didn’t.  Different elements that caught my eye and aspects that would be practical for us and our lifestyle.   I looked at my “Craftiness” board for potential projects, since I’d pinned those guys for a reason.   I searched for new inspirations, DIY crafts as well as art inspiration ideas, etc.   It’s during one of these searches that my alphabet art came to be…

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2.  I went through all of our junk.   First of all, adding a little organization never hurt anyone.  Plus, it also gave me a clear idea of the items I already had, ones I wanted to tweak, etc.   Inspiration City, especially when you had a veritable Monica Gellar Closet to contend with.   This process is how Lucas’s Lack Map side table was born…

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3.  I visited thrift stores.  You never know what diamonds-in-the-rough may present themselves and throw project ideas your way.  I can’t even tell you how many projects I’ve encountered simply by visiting a thrift store.   My spray-painted trays for one…

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My mid-century tables for another…

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4.  I visited my favorite “pretty” stores.   Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, and the less-expensive-but-still-totally-droolworthy Target.  When I saw this bench on display, it churned in my mind for several weeks…

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I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  And it was during a period of writers/project block that I remembered the bench that we had in the attic and realized that I could transform it into my own version

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So, visiting the store gave me the initial inspiration, but really, the reason why this project presented itself at the time that it did was…

#5. I RELAXED.  I decided to just forget about it.  To stop trying to think up something brilliant.  To just BE OKAY with the fact that I deviated from my posting schedule.  To just be.  Enjoy our house.  Chill with my men.  Do nothing.  And BAM!!!  DIY Bench was made.  And I have to say, it was a project that improved our space.  It prettied up the view into the bedroom.  Provided seating. Was cost-effective (under $8!).  And was an overall useful improvement in our home.  And it happened because I didn’t force it.  I think this was the hardest lesson to accept, but one of the most important.

After a bit of soul-searching, I realized that (for me) quality beats quantity any day.  I thought of some of my favorite blogs, and realized that schedules don’t really matter.  Some post daily, some 2-4x/per week, some once per week, some every few weeks.  In every single case, I look forward to getting that email notification of a new post, regardless of what their schedule may be.   A DIY diary is a DIY diary.   Sometimes projects get done in quick succession, sometimes activity slows.   Such is the case with inspiration.   We can’t all be geniuses all the time (at least I can’t).   All I can do is be true to myself and do what I can.

So anyways, these are some the techniques that have helped me find inspiration.  I know everyone is different and what works for one may not work for everyone, but I figured this was worth putting out there.  Just in cases (name that movie!).

Before I sign off for today, there’s one more thing I’d like to know… After 11 months of blogging, I realized that I’ve never really asked ya’ll your opinions… What do YOU want to read about??  What topics interest you the most?  Project posts? Simpler decor ideas? Personal stuff?  Any questions you have for me?  Also, what helps you battle the all-consuming writer’s block?   Leave me a comment and let me know your take on things.  I’d sure love to hear read it.  🙂

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Linked up at: Tatertots and Jello, Lines Across, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Anything & Everything Turn It Up Tuesday

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Foyer Plans

So, while we get the guest bath completely wrapped up (the faucet part still hasn’t arrived.  Two-day shipping, my foot, is all I have to say.), I’ve moved onto planning my next victim project…  Ever since posting our house tour page, I’ve been absolutely, positively itching to tackle our foyer.   It currently looks like this…

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Our foyer houses leftovers from our last home which looked great there, but no longer fit our style preferences. With the mahogany-toned floors the collection really makes the foyer seem dark and disjointed.

These cabinets were the end units of our media cabinet of yore…

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I just squished them together and called it a day.  I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to replace them with something with more character.   And I would.  But I’m tired of waiting for the perfect piece to enter my life.  So, I’ve decided that I’m gonna try my hand at tweaking these guys to make them suit our current style a bit more.   My thoughts are:

1. Refinish them with glossy white paint

2. Remove the rice paper glass film and replace it with a bold fabric, like the one that I used for our new shower curtains….

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3. Replace the stainless knobs with some sort of oil-rubbed bronze handles. Maybe something like these or these.

4.  Remove the baskets beneath the units to make them feel less heavy.

Then, I definitely want to address the art over top…

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This guy was a Ross find years ago, and again… although, he’s nice, he’s not really my style anymore.  So, I have two thoughts.   First, spray paint him a bold color (or maybe brass?).  Second, send him off to greener pastures and replace him with something bold and modern (Like a large colorful marquee-like letter or some sort of bold, colorful painting).   I’ve also considered painting thick, white stripes on this wall behind the units.   The result would be subtle because our Dolphin Fin grey paint is so light and soft, but it would definitely add oodles of interest.  For some reason, this thought has always been on my mind for this space.   Maybe I should just go with it.

Next, this rug…

First, it’s seen better days as one of the corners is unraveling.   Second, this is probably my longest-retained piece of decor.  I purchased it over 8 years ago for my first non-college apartment.   Like the other items in this foyer, it’s not really jiving with the style or color palette of the rest of the house.   I really, really want to replace it with a round jute rug that would be centered under the light fixture.   I always see rugs like that at Homegoods and Marshalls, but go figure… they’re nowhere to be found for me right now since I’m actually looking for one.   Hopefully, soon.

Speaking of the light fixture….

It’s nice and it came with the house, but alas, a boob-light is still a boob-light.   I would love an oil-rubbed-bronze lantern-type fixture to replace it.   Or maybe a capiz pendant of some sort.

On this wall…

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I’m liking the leaning mirror, but think it would be more practical to have a small mudroom-ish area to sit and remove shoes, hang coats, etc.   I’ve mentioned this before, but still haven’t officially decided how I want to do it.  We’ll see what comes of that since, down the line, we’d like to add tall horizontally-planked wainscoting to all of the foyer walls.   On which I’d like to mount hooks and stuff for said mudroom.   I’m just not sure when we’ll get that done, so I don’t want to guarantee it as a “will be done soon” sort of project.  But it’s on the agenda eventually.

So, that’s what I’ve cooked up so far.  Anybody have any ideas to contribute?