10 Tips for Finding Inspiration

What do you do when the creative well seems to be empty? When you don’t know what to blog about or what to photograph? When the creative juices just aren’t flowing? Inspiration disappears for all of us from time to time, and it’s something I personally have struggled with for months.

Visiting the park in Anthem Arizona. Waterfalls, ponds and birds.

Since Al and I won’t be traveling much this winter (we’ll be in Phoenix, Arizona, till April), I find myself wondering what I should blog about and what might be new for me to photograph. Ever since our son moved to Phoenix in 2009, we’ve spent a substantial amount of time RVing around the Phoenix valley, and I’ve written dozens of posts in the past about our time in this Arizona city.

I suppose I could re-purpose some of my old blog posts, but that would keep me inside the RV and in front of the computer, and as much as I enjoy my computer time, the reason for living the RV lifestyle is to seek out new experiences and new sights and not sit in front of a computer screen all day.

The incentive to go out and about is easy when we’re visiting new places, but takes a little more effort and reflection on my part when I’m living a stationary life.

Reflections of life. Tips on finding creative inspiration.

Reflecting on the past can help direct you in the future

Now that I’m sitting in a familiar city that we’ve already spent a significant amount of time exploring, I find myself reflecting on the past for inspiration.

During our last year of owning a sticks and bricks home along Colorado’s Front Range, Al and I decided to pretend we were tourists.ย After all, Colorado Springs is a major summer destination for many. It was amazing the beautiful sights we discovered right in our own backyard (well, not literally in our backyard, but around town).

I’m grateful that we took the time to explore a little more of Colorado Springs before moving away. We still never made it to the top of Pikes Peak, but perhaps that’s an impetus for us to revisit.

So, think about your past. Think about a memorable place or time, and ask yourself where, when, and why? Memories can serve as wonderful inspiration. All I have to do is think about our five week stay along the shores of Lake Powell this past April, and a smile comes to my face. There was no lack of creative inspiration with scenery like that!

Alstrom Point
Me enjoying the scenery – overlooking Lake Powell.

Meet new people

Attending a conference, a seminar, or engaging in a local “meetup” group, forces us to mingle with new people. In the RVing world, this is an everyday event as our neighbors are forever changing. RV parks are a social mecca filled with activities, and meeting new and interesting people is always inspirational. But what if you don’t live in a setting that’s easy to meet new people?

At the end of November, I decided to attend a local WordPress meetup group. I thought it might be a good way to meet locals outside of the RVing community, as well as get a little WordPress help. You see, I’ve had difficulties commenting and liking some of my favorite blogs.

It all started about a month or so ago. I have a bunch of blogs I follow via the WordPress Reader along with receiving posts via email. I used to be able to easily comment or ‘like’ an emailed post, but no more. Grrr … without getting into the nitty-gritty of my frustrations, I was hopeful in meeting some local techies.

Although I enjoyed mingling, this meetup group is geared toward the self-hosted WP user, and therefore, of little help to me. With that said, listening to other creatives was inspirational, making my attendance worthwhile. I might go again or maybe I’ll try some other “meetup group.

waterfalls

Go for a walk and search out the beauty around you

Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its mild winters and beautiful blue skies. The other day was cold and dreary. There was a thick cloud cover and the threat of rain. It was late afternoon when I decided to don my sweatshirt and head out on a photographic outing.

My husband was perplexed and expressed concern about the poor weather conditions, but when I explained that today was the perfect day for me to shoot a waterfall, he understood …. well, not really, but he did a good job pretending he understood.

I headed off to a local park in the quaint town of Anthem, Arizona (far north Phoenix valley). It’s a beautiful park with ponds, waterfalls, a Veterans Memorial, baseball/soccer fields, a skate park, railroad, a Sunday morning farmers market, and more.

I had a fabulous time playing with my camera and searching out creative inspiration. That little outing was exactly what I needed to get the creative juices flowing, and I’m so glad I didn’t let the weather deter me.

holiday railroad. Enjoy a festive holiday train ride through a park

Study other creatives

Visit a local art gallery, museum, or library and immerse yourself in other works of art. My recent sculpture tour in Scottsdale found me appreciating the talents and vision of the various artists and asking myself, “What inspires them?

If your creative outlet is writing, are you as awed by J.K. Rowlings talent as much as I am? Sometimes I like to go to the local library and peruse cookbooks looking for recipe and photography inspiration. A library is a great way to discover works of art.

And let’s not forget about music. Listening to the words of a favorite song or dancing to an irresistible rhythm can be very inspirational. Unfortunately, the music gene doesn’t run in my family, but I’m an appreciative listener.

Reading blogs

I’d have to say, my most favorite (my favorist ๐Ÿ˜†) way to find inspiration is via blogs. Seriously, you my friends, are the best creative inspiration around. When I’m really stuck … you know, staring at a blank screen ‘stuck’, and can’t begin to figure out what to write or share, I turn to my favorite blogs.

If that doesn’t work, I go in search of new blogs. Don’t you love it when bloggers write a post linking to other inspirational bloggers? I know I do! Of course, there’s Pinterest to consider, but blogs still rule in my humble opinion.

Tips for creative inspiration

Write a bucket list

Ask yourself, “If money were no object, I would ….?” Write down a list of things you’d like to accomplish … places you’d like to visit … maybe it’s a dream job … maybe you’d like to publish a book, whatever comes to mind. Be honest with yourself. I bet, when you read that dream list that many of the things you’ve written down are attainable.

Research! Whatever the subject, see what other’s have to say about it. What do they say about that dream job, about publishing that book, or traveling to that destination you long to visit? If you don’t have the physicality or finances, perhaps writing a blog post about those bucket list items will be a start to fulfilling a dream, and your writings might inspire you, as well as others.

Spiritual Enlightenment

We all have something we believe in that helps us get through life. For some, it’s attending church services regularly while for others it’s a way of living one’s life. I have friends who tap into their spiritual beliefs by reading the bible orย devotionals everyday. Another friend of mine has quotes delivered to her inbox daily, and these quotes serve as her inspiration and enlightenment. Many use meditation, prayer, or both.

I know when I tap into my spirituality, I feel a sense of renewal and hope. That renewed feeling helps me focus and work toward goals.

enjoying fall leaves
My daughter having fun with fall leaves!

Meet a friend for coffee (or a drink)

Enjoy some one on one time with a friend over a cup of coffee or a cocktail. Be the listener and really listen to what’s going on in your friend’s life. What are their motivations and goals? How do your ambitions compare or differ?

Maybe they recently read a fascinating book that would make for a great blog article or maybe that photo shared on their phone was taken at an unusual angle, giving you inspiration for your next outing with the camera.

A relaxed get together with a friend is something we should all do regularly!

Take your camera in search

Take your camera (or phone) on an outing devoted to photography. Be a tourist in your hometown. What would you share with someone visiting your town/city for the first time? Walk around your neighborhood and find unique things to photograph.

Myย neighbor, here in the RV park in Phoenix, is a photographer. In an effort to exercise, he walks around the park, up and down the streets, regularly photographing interesting sights … the little yard decorations, door details, interesting plants, colors, etc., and in the process, he gets in his steps.

If the weather is too cold and blustery in your neck of the woods, think about heading into the kitchen and cook/bake something new … then photograph it. Step outside of your comfort zone. Photography is about finding out who you are and focusing on the world around you.

reflecting on life, thought provoking

Listen to your thoughts

Allow yourself to slow down, look inward, and listen to your thoughts. Although my camera shutter clicked often at the park the other day, I did take time to just sit on a park bench and watch the world go by. I watched the ducks drift by on the pond. I listened to the trickle of water from the nearby waterfall. I watched the storm clouds swirl about. I watched the changing light on a mountain as the sun was beginning to set.

I thought about the photographs I had just made, and recognized my strengths and weaknesses. I was feeling creative, a feeling which I hadn’t felt in some time, and it felt good. I needed this time at the park to just be …ย to listen to my inner voice and listen to my thoughts.

It was at that moment I realized, I don’t have to travel to far away places to be creative … to find blog material, photographic material, inspirational material. I just need to look at things from a fresh angle and shake up my routine.

time

10 Tips on how to find creative inspiration

  1. Reflect on the past. Analyze fond memories and decide to create new ones.
  2. Meet new people – interact, learn, and find out what inspires others.
  3. Go for a walk and immerse yourself in your surroundings
  4. Study other creatives
  5. Read blogs
  6. Write a bucket list
  7. Embrace spiritual enlightenment
  8. Meet a friend for coffee or a drink
  9. Take your camera in search
  10. Listen to your thoughts

If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us – Daisaku Ikeda

How do you find blogging ideas and subjects to write about? How do you tap into your creativity or decide what to photograph? What inspires you?

How to find creative inspiration10 tips for finding blog ideas. How to find creative inspiration.

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96 thoughts on “10 Tips for Finding Inspiration

  1. These are some great photos and tips, I also loved Colorado Springs! I hope to go back and climb Pike’s Peak one day.

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  2. A good post as we all have times when we don’t know what to write about. My travels are easy to write able, it is the recipes that I create that are hard as I’ve done so many things already. With almost eight years of blogging, I’ve covered so many dishes that I have made and thinking of something new can be a challenge.

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    1. Totally agree – when we’ve been traveling, I have a lot to share. It’s when we’re idle that I struggle with content. Don’t feel badly about re-sharing recipes. Some of us may have missed posts ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  3. Another interesting place to see near Phoenix is the Mystery Castle. My husband and I saw it 2 years ago. He also likes to take pictures of new things. Our blog is a bit boring right now as we bought a house last May and are in the midst of renos. We plan to visit the USA again for 5 1/2 months next fall.

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    1. The Mystery Castle is definitely on my list to see. Thanks for reminding me. Home reno’s aren’t boring to me. Last year I remodeled the RV and although it was a fair amount of work, I wish I had done it sooner and am so happy with the results. Enjoy that beautiful home.

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  4. Love love love all your photos! I just read and admired Wandering Dawgs latest picture-ography blog. DH bought a new camera but we haven’t really done much with it, sadly. But I know we’ll never get the shots you get – we need to take a class on how to use a camera! AND like you, I’m not able to “like” and comment on blogs without a lot of extra signing in, etc. Strange.
    Anyway, great post – but my problem with keeping our blog up and more current has been time. Just not enough time – because like you two, we spent four months stationary and somehow that really messes up with our time table. And now we are hitting two months in Myrtle Beach. And boy, did we ever mess up….we decided to look at some model homes…..

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    1. Uh oh … does that mean there’s a sticks and bricks home in your future? Don’t sell yourself short on the photography front. Take images that make YOU happy. Although learning all the camera settings and negating the menu might take time. I’ve learned a lot from reading posts on “Digital-Photography-School.com”. What kind of camera did you end up getting?

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      1. Oh we actually bought a sticks n bricks home in Myrtle Beach. We just keep coming back here. So for the sake of the family, weโ€™re settling down. We bought a Sony Cybershot, DSC-HX400.

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        1. Congratulations! Hope you’ll share photos of your new home. We’ve looked at houses front the start of going full-time and have put in contracts in the past, but are always relieved when the negotiations stall ๐Ÿ˜„ Guess we’re not ready just yet!

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      1. Inspiration does come from other photographers, I agree! Thank you for following my blog. I needed your post on inspiration as Iโ€™ve felt a little โ€˜emptyโ€™, so thank you again! Happy New Year!

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  5. Thanks so much, Ingrid, for this wonderful look at inspiration. You are right, there are so many ways to move forward, and I really appreciated you taking the time to list pointers and examples. Wonderfully organized and thought-provoking post, thank you.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Jet. I seemed to have found myself looking at a blank screen lately, but by taking a computer break and hitting the hiking trails, the mind is working (hopefully) again ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. Wishing you and Athena a very Happy New Year!

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  6. One little tidbit of inspiration, if you have not already visited, is the Musical Instrument Museum just north of you in Scottsdale. Really different, and really interesting. BTW, I can’t believe how many folks posted comments! You must have a huge and loyal following!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. My son lives just around the corner from the MIM and we drive by it all the time. One day, we’ll actually stop in. There are so many fun and interesting things to do around the Phoenix valley that I shouldn’t be bored this winter.

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    1. Thank you. I had fun shooting the waterfalls and playing with shutter speed. This ?? year old always loves being mistaken for my twenty something daughter (she’s the one tossing the leaves). She’s my ‘mini me’!

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  7. Great tips here! And you found much beauty around you to photograph. I find quiet walks in nature with my camera and my assistant truly inspiring. Always something new to discover ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. So many great ideas! I get most of my ideas when I am out on an adventure, so I write them down when I get them. Just a short sentence, or two. I have several different lists on my phone, and sometimes hand written lists at home as well. Thank you for a beautiful post. I’m probably coming your way next week. I haven’t been in that direction for a quiet a while (years,) is there something that I must see? It’s going to be a short visit. I have some business in Phoenix, and will be taking a detour to Grand Canyon on the way back to Vegas. Grand Canyon always takes my breath away. But maybe there’s less obvious places I should stop at as well?

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    1. Old Town Scottsdale is always fun to meander around if you’ve never been. Maybe a drive up to the towns of Cave Creek and Carefree. I just introduced a friend to the Spur Cross Conservation Area (in Cave Creek). The Jewel of the Creek Trail – https://www.dflt.org/jewel-of-the-creek-preserve is an easy hike with some great scenery and towering saguaros. Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa is a unique experience. Feel free to email me if I can be of further help or if you’d like any company. Oh, and Bearizona in Williams might be a fun stop on the way to the GC.

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  9. Lovely photos as always. If you’d like to get together sometime after the holidays I’d sure enjoy it. Maybe there’s someplace you haven’t explored yet to photograph…although I doubt that.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things around the valley ๐Ÿ˜† but will continue to work my way around exploring. Would love to meet up if you can fit me into your social calendar and in between pickle ball games! Maybe the Botanical Garden would be a good place to meet?

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  10. Really great post. Enjoyed it. I find myself hitting the lack of inspiration wall often. Just find myself being motivated by other blogs and the desire to share our Journey.
    Enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks

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  11. I get inspiration from planning bucket trips and this year we will do the Maritime Provinces, Australia and eastern Europe.

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  12. Great ideas for inspiration. Not that our blog is really creative, just don’t have that gene in my DNA. I remember a few of those photos…a cairn trail to find your way home.

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    1. Glad you found the post helpful. Yeah, the commenting/liking thing is a problem several of us are having and it’s not on all blogs. It is very strange and I hope when WP/jetpack do another update that it’ll somehow get resolved. Just another reason I don’t think I could handle the frustrations of being self-hosted.

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    1. That walk at the park was exactly what I needed. Sometimes it takes a little more effort on my part to go in search when I’m not camped surrounded by beauty.

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  13. Sometimes I think taking a bit of a break can be helpful. This list covers a lot of inspirational ideas. Sorry to hear the WordPress meet up wasnโ€™t too helpful. Hope that issue resolves.

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    1. I’m sure you’re living in a winter wonderland right now . There are times I miss the beauty and stillness when snowshoeing in the Rockies in Colorado, but then I remember the cold and am glad I’m sitting in the desert ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I’m counting on you for images of winter beauty!

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  14. I love being creative but finding time to do so sometimes gets in the way.

    Your pictures of our park are fabulous. I really love the one of you looking down at the bridge. I often park my bike on that bridge and look up at the Falls.

    Meet Up is a great Social way for so many different avenues! We have teamed up with a local 4 wheeling group. Our Rock Club gets so many new members because of Meet Up.

    Looking forward to our Thursday Fun Day!

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    1. I’ve been to the park a few times now and always enjoy my walks. That particular day, with the overcast skies, was a great time with my camera. Perhaps you and I should meet there for a little creative outing.

      Look forward to seeing you soon!

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  15. Excellent ideas and well organized post. It can be a true challenge to be creative in making blog posts and photographs, so your ideas are appreciated. I am sure I will put these to good use. Hope you have a great winter in AZ.

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  16. These are great tips that will be handy one day should we decide to settle somewhere. Since we are still traveling and constantly behind with my post (my own deadline) I struggle more of how to present or how to tell a story or should I even continue to blog. Always a struggle for me.
    But I do know I will refer back to your tips should I get stuck in a rut.
    Great photography, Ingrid!

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    1. Thanks ML ,and as much as the two of you get around, I know you have no shortage of info to share with us. I do hope you continue to blog and share your journey. You always do such a fabulous job writing about your adventure, and of course, you know how much I enjoy your photos.

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  17. I like your list. My work life before retirement was extremely left brained, but my brain is ambidexterous, so now I spend my days working in my studio alone or with art friends or visiting art galleries or museums plus still doing left brain activities. I keep a small sketchbook with me and when I take the time to stop and sketch rather than take photos, I remember that day better. It’s amazing. We are fortunate in Colorado that inspiration is all around us. You are right. All you have to do is look west. We live where other people spend money to visit and I will never tire of the view as I come over Monument Hill. Constantly changes with the light. I get the same feeling walking in the desert. Looking forward to our return!

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    1. I still remember that scenery. Driving north on I-25 after cresting Monument Hill, I always loved looking at the ranch and a little further north the town of Greenland. I always wanted to photograph that red barn on the west side of the interstate, but I was always in a hurry. One of these days we’ll get back there and hit some of the sights we missed while living in the area.

      I know exactly why you enjoy your home in Colorado … a great place to live! Maybe we’ll get a chance to meet up one of these days.

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      1. Definitely have to meet up eventually either in CO or AZ! We’ll be here summers for the most part because I haven’t found summer anywhere else that beats our Colorado summers! The wet cold Spring I can do without.

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  18. I think too there’s an internalized expectation that because we live a life “on the road” that we are always doing new things, visiting exciting places, and seeing new sights. The truth is that whether or not you stay in a place long-term (and therefore “do all the things”) there’s a whole lot of normal life stuff that isn’t always appropriate for blogging.
    As for me, it has crossed my mind on more than a couple occasions that maybe people don’t want to see pictures of the same trails or places, or watch people raise walls or shingle roofs. But I try not to worry about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. You’re spot on! I’ve been blogging long enough that I try not to worry about my posts. I pretty much write/photograph for me and have used my own blog as reference. I also realize my grammar and sentence structure isn’t always correct, and I’m fine with that too.

      I enjoy your posts and your photos. So keep sharing!

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  19. Thatโ€™s a great list, Ingrid. I never run out of blog ideas fortunately, or unfortunately, as I always wish I had more time to write or post more blogs. I find myself combining blog ideas now, or skipping places I visited all together. But, if I would need inspiration (or want to feel at peace and be happy), and I have time, my favorite things to do would be reflect or be in nature, read other blogs, and meet like-minded people.

    I think a lot of people had issues with WordPress and Blogger the last couple of months. I donโ€™t think it was something we did wrong, but was more a problem with the behind-the-scenes of those blogging platforms or browsers. Have you noticed a difference now?

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    1. I think you’re right Liesbet – the problems are behind the scenes. I’ll be needing to upgrade my site (running out of media storage) and have tossed around going self-hosted, but after these problems, I’ll probably stay with the .com WP.

      Time isn’t as much of an issue for me as much as limited internet is. I don’t always feel like writing in a library or RV park room and I like to type my post directly into WP instead of Word because I add photos as I go. My photos usually help me tell the story (at least in my head ๐Ÿ˜†)

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  20. So true! There are times I don’t think I have anything worth blogging about, especially when we are in one place for a long time. I have use several of your tips. The “What if?” post I did just last week was one. Sometimes when I am struggling I will be having a conversation with someone and they will say something that gives me a great idea for a blog post. I quickly write it down as I would forget it if I didn’t. Great post!

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    1. Ah Jim, you always have something to say ๐Ÿคฃ A lot of times, I envision having coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and review what I might share. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t!

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    1. Thank you. I specifically went to the park to work on water images with a slow shutter speed. This was the first time that I was pleased with my results. Thanks for noticing.

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  21. Great blog Ingrid! It was interesting reading that you have problems commenting on some Word Press blogs. I have a reader who continually has a problem and I don’t know how to help her as I have never had a problem and don’t know what the issue is. Have you had problems commenting on my blog? Any tips I can pass on?

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    1. I haven’t had issues with your blog but I have with my friend Nancy and a few others. I’m hoping when WP/Jetpack do another update that the problems will get resolved. I’m sure it has to do with all the “cookie” rule stuff.

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  22. I was going to say join meetups. I have been. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have 3 meetups for walking around part of my town in January. I go to Coffee meetups most Wednesdays and we have a brunch in January and February.

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    1. Sounds like you’ve found a great way to mingle. The Phoenix valley is huge and a lot of the meetups I have interest in are a 45-60 minute drive away, which then ceases to be of interest to me. I’ll keep looking! Thanks for your input.

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  23. Good morning, Ingrid,
    For me it’s not so much inspiration. I still have lots and lots to blog about [e.g. I’m way behind on blogging about our tavelling this year, as all my followers well know]. For me it’s that I have too much else on my hands. So far, I have not been able to really reconcile both needs/wishes. Well, we’ll see.
    Have a great Sunday,
    Pit

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