4 Ways Winnie the Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot Can Inspire Your Writing

This guest post is by Jeff Elkins. In addition to being a Write Practice regular, Jeff is a writer and pastor. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and four kids. He is the author of the short story collection B-More Stories. You can follow Jeff at his blog or on Twitter (@jffelkins).

Ever sit and stare at the page, unsure what to write? It happens to me at least once a week. You sit down to write and draw a complete blank.

Winnie the Pooh Quotes

 

Panic sets in. You worry, “Will I ever think of anything worth writing again.” Your mind screams, “Has the well run dry? Is the journey over? Woe is me; the world is coming to an end!”

Then, I take a deep breath and go to my Thoughtful Spot.

First, Find Your Thoughtful Spot

This is a trick I learned from Winnie the Pooh. His Thoughtful Spot was a log under a tree marked by a sign that read, “Pooh’s thotful spot.” It was the place where Pooh did his best thinking. It was where he got his inspiration when his well ran dry.

Many famous creatives have utilized Thoughtful Spots. For example, as a teen, I visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I stopped and pondered each of his paintings, but I didn’t get them. To my immature eye, it all looked sloppy and vague. “Why is this guy so famous?” I thought to myself.

Then, I found a glass case that opened my eyes. In the display was Van Gogh’s small brown practice notebook. It was filled with amazing sketches of hands and faces and body parts. They were sharp, detailed, and precise.

Van Gogh’s Thoughtful Spot

The plaque explained that Van Gogh would go daily and sit by a fountain in the middle of town, hi Thoughtful Spot, to sketch people as they walked by.

I looked back at his paintings around the room with new appreciation. He had the ability to paint like Rembrandt, but that was not the art that poured from his soul.

Each day he sat in his Thoughtful Spot watching people, sketched hands, and dreamed. Then he returned to his studio and chose to fill the canvas with extravagant beauty.

Where Is Your Thoughtful Spot?

My Thoughtful Spot is my front porch. I love going there to think and imagine. It’s ripe with inspiration, especially at night.

I live in a lower-middle class neighborhood in the middle of the inner city, so there is always something happening outside after dark. The drug dealers down the street chat loudly as they walk to the corner gas station to make their sales, challenging me to invent scenarios for them. People coming home from work unload at the bus stop and trudge down the sidewalk, inviting me to ponder what they have been up to all day. A drunk man stumbles from the bar two doors down and searches for his keys in the parking lot, begging me to tell the tale of where they were lost.

As all this goes on, I sit with my Moleskine and pen in hand, jotting down ideas.

I believe all writers need a Thoughtful Spot, just like Pooh and Van Gogh. We all need a place where we ponder and soak in the world around us.

4 Tips to Find Your Thoughtful Spot

If you haven’t found one, here are four suggestions for creating a great Thoughtful Spot.

1. Take the right tools. Do you write best on a laptop or a legal pad? Go into battle armed.

2. Look for a spot where you will be left alone. You need time and space where you can watch, but people won’t interrupt the conversation in your head.

3. Find a place that sparks your imagination. Your Thoughtful Spot should always be ripe and ready for harvest.

4. When you arrive, turn off your phone. It is a guarantee that electronic devil will ring right as inspiration begins to unload. Stop it before it can strike.

If you’re experiencing writers block, don’t despair! Instead, like Vincent Van Gogh, find your Thoughtful Spot and be inspired.

How do you find your Thoughtful Spot?

PRACTICE

Head to your Thoughtful Spot and spend twenty minutes soaking in the world. Take notes on what you see. Then come back and share the story you harvested with us in the comments.

About Jeff Elkins

Jeff is a writer and pastor. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and four kids. He is the author of the short story collection B-More Stories. You can follow Jeff at his blog or on Twitter (@jffelkins).

Join the Community!

If this post helped you improve at the craft, consider subscribing. It’s fast, free, and you’ll make our day:

You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts.