4×4 Sources of Writing Inspiration: Virtual Places

Electric Touch

It’s probably no surprise that one of the places I find inspiration is via the internet. There is a truly enormous amount of inspiration to be found on many different kinds of websites, but for this post I’m going to stick to blogs. For me blogs are like an extension of the blogger who produces them. I often feel as though I’ve been invited into their (virtual) home for a brief while, and when I leave I take with me a new way of thinking about something. Blogs don’t just offer me a great source of entertainment, but they alter my perception. So here are a few of the blogs that I know will offer that inspirational spark:

  • Postsecret – For a long time I didn’t really ‘get’ Postsecret. I didn’t understand what would drive someone to send their deepest secrets, albeit anonymously, to be shared with the rest of the internet community. However, I took the time to really pay attention to it, and became just overwhelmed with emotion at some of the stories these postcards told in so few words. The creative attention which goes into these customised cards is extremely imaginative, and the narrative fragments themselves often provide much food for thought. Here’s a clip with a few, so if you’re unfamiliar with it, then it’ll give you an idea:
  • Haha.nu – I have no idea how to go about classifying this blog. The blogger that produces this ‘lifestyle ezine’ describes it as providing interesting finds from around the net. And yes, it is random, but it’s also wonderful. I’ve discovered profoundly moving short films. I’ve listened to clips of music being played in a way I didn’t even know was possible. I’ve found incredible images. The list just goes on and on! I never know what I’m going to find when I visit haha.nu, but often it’s through these random combinations that we become our most creative selves.
  • Kottke.org – Just celebrating it’s 10th birthday, Jason Kottke’s blog is one of the oldest active blogs in the blogosphere.  According to its tagline, it is ‘the home of fine hypertext products’, but I’m not really sure that does it justice. I like it for much the same reasons that I like haha.nu; I find many seemingly completely random posts on everything from a newly published booklist to a great Flickr pool to a link to an amazing archive. It’s a little bit like being on a magical mystery tour where you don’t know where you’re going, but you know you’re going to be amazed at what you see when you get there.
  • The Daily Sunrise – I’ve been a subscriber to this blog since December, and I still have to remind myself every now and again that the blogger behind this photoblog is only 17 years old. Azhar lives in Mumbai and he takes the most wonderful photos. If you are best inspired by visual stimuli, then you simply must go and pay Azhar’s blog a visit. So many times I have clicked to read the feed for The Daily Sunrise and been completely entranced by the story the image tells. Simply stunning.

Well, those are 4 of the places where I find inspiration online. Of course, there are many, many others, but I’m hoping that if I turn this over to you now, you’ll tell me where you find inspiration on the internet. Is there an artist’s blog that you enjoy visiting? Do you like to peruse photoblogs? Why not share the blogs which jump start your creativity?

PS This post is the 3rd of a series of posts on sources of writing inspiration (following the 1st on populated places and the 2nd on unpopulated places) as my contribution to Joanna Young‘s group writing project. If you want to join in, why not check out the rules and the prize she’s offering!


March 21, 2008. Inspiration.


  1. Zhu replied:

    Good series! I have just read all the posts in a row and got some great ideas. Like you, it took me a while to get into Postasecret… but I’m addicted now! Most are really touching.

  2. Megan replied:

    I didn’t “get” Postsecret for a long time…I don’t think I was even really interested in trying to get it. Then I really looked at it, and I couldn’t believe how my heart went out to all these strangers with their secrets and how some of the other ones just made me smile. I don’t think there’s a way to describe exactly how it makes me feel, but sometimes I think the word “universal” is closest the mark because don’t we all have something like what we see on these cards- stuff that we wish we could do, ways we’ve been hurt that nobody seemed to notice, things that we know that we wish we didn’t? It just kind of gives the impression that underneath the facade we’re all more the same than we are different. I can definitely see the inspiration potential there. I mean, it did just inspire me to write this overlong comment, after all. 😉

  3. amypalko replied:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the series, Zhu! I’ve loved putting it together.

    You can leave as many ‘overlong’ comments here as you like, Megan! Oh, and I think you’re spot on that Postsecret highlights that we are more similar than we often think. Thanks Megan 🙂

  4. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, what a great post and thanks for introducing me to some new sites. I loved the postsecret video! One of my favorite places of inspiration? Well that would be right here dear Amy!


  5. wendikelly replied:

    My favorite imaginary places were The Secret garden. I always gardened there and redesigned in my mind and often imagined that I was reading there on sunny summer afternoons. Also I am a lifetime member of the Kingdom of Narnia in my heart.

    Your up-close floral pictures were stunning. I would like to paint them. I am not Georgia O’Keefe, so I am not sure I can do them justice, but they are truely inspiring!

  6. amypalko replied:

    I find that so encouraging to hear, Karen 🙂

    Wendikelly, if you do decide to have a go, do please let me know – I’d love to see the results!

  7. Nicholas replied:

    Post secret fascinates me. Sometimes it is like not being able to look away from a road accident. If even half of those secrets are genuine, the world is more full of heartbreak than I ever suspected.

  8. Results from the 4×4 Sources of Writing Inspiration Group Writing Project } Group Writing Projects replied:

    […] Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary: Virtual Places […]

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