Blogging, I’ve come to learn, is so much more than just typing up a quick post and inserting a couple of pretty pictures for dramatic effect. Over the past year or so of blogging, I’ve learned a bit of SEO, a bit of social media, and even a small amount of basic coding. There are so many skills involved in coordinating a successful travel blog, it occasionally feels a bit overwhelming. There is so much to do; not to mention finding the time to actually travel!
But for me, the hardest part of blogging is hitting a creative wall, and trying to find a way around it. Most of the spending money earned over the last year went directly toward financing two big spring trips, and that makes my problem all the more perplexing. How am I supposed to write content for a travel blog, when I haven’t been anywhere new in months!?
My first step in overcoming the wall was to create an inspiring, inviting environment for the writing magic to happen. Sometimes I write on the go; other times I blog snuggled up in bed with my cat. But when I really need to get serious, I turn to my newly-redesigned desk. I call it my inspiration station.
Here is the “before” photo of my desk situation. It functioned as a work space for my creative writing courses, a photo shrine to the people I love, and a dumping grounds for whatever receipts or knick-knacks I find in my purse. The work space was cluttered, distracting, and completely the opposite of the creative space I so desperately needed.
My new work area is much more streamlined. I chose a large calendar as the focal point. Here, I write down blog ideas, pin sticky notes, and create a rough monthly content calendar. Giving myself deadlines is, by far, the most effective change I’ve made when it comes to blogging. Because really, who is going to choose a night hunched over the laptop when friends are texting me from the bar? By planning my posts out and incorporating blogging into my daily routine, I can still write well and have a social life. I love this calendar, and the gold edging helps it to feel a little more glam.
Next, I removed all the mismatched photo frames from the wall. I love these photos, but they were terrible for my writer’s block. I’d go from brainstorming or looking for just the right adjective to staring at my digital photo frame, eyes glazed over as my mind drifted to trips I’d taken three, four years ago. Okay, focus. I removed the photos and replaced them with prints that I find calming and inspiring. My favorite is the framed world map imprinted with my blog name. It takes the desk from a cramped apartment work space to my office and headquarters, and inspires me every day to make my blog better. The absinthe print is from a street vendor in Paris, a reminder of the trip that kicked my butt into high blogging gear.
I bought a small storage box with several little compartments, for storing random knick-knacks like ipod cables, SD cards, and mementos.This helps to keep my desk space clear, aside from a couple of decorative gold accent pieces and occasionally my new camera, a Christmas gift from my parents.
Finally, I breathed life into the space with a little bit of greenery and more natural lighting. Okay, it’s a fake plant, but it does the trick. And the lights, mounted under the overhead shelf, help to keep my space cheerful and well-illuminated. I hated sitting under those yellow overhead lights, hunched over to see my keyboard. What I have now is a calming oasis of sorts, where I can let my mind wander, but not get too far off track. My inspiration station is not quite completed. I’d like to paint the walls a lighter, more soothing color, buy a more comfortable desk chair, and of course add a photo or two from my own travels. But the important thing is that it makes me feel centered and inspired, and ready to share my travels.
I’d love to hear what helps you to knock down those creative walls! Comment below and let me know how you keep the good vibes flowing.