I was recently asked if I ever deal with writer’s block. I do. I’d love to be able to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw, curling up by my apartment window with a drink at the end of the day and just pouring my experiences into my laptop in a way that touches people.

But my creative habits are not modeled off of “Sex and the City” and deadlines really just make me chug coffee and channel my inner raving lunatic, clawing for words from thin air.

I like to think all creatives struggle with moments of inspirational blockage. I like to think there are some really easy, non-creative ways to break through. That it can be as simple as changing location.

My favorite unexpected spots for sparking inspiration around Charlotte:

(1) The Blue Line. Start anywhere. Find a pole to wrap your arm around and lean into the light rail’s momentum. Plug yourself into some music (try Samurai Heaven), angle your eyes through the windows and watch the city blur by.

Sometimes wandering is the only way to get to where you’re going. @southendclt

A photo posted by Katie Toussaint (@katietoussaint) on

(2) Campbell’s Greenhouses. 209 McDonald Ave. This lush oasis is in constant bloom. The way you wish your brain would be. Move through the rows of orchids, let the light stream across you. Move to the back garden, take in the green. See what grows.

  Your feet don’t have to carry you far to find an oasis. @southendclt Campbell’s Greenhouses & Nursery   A photo posted by Katie Toussaint (@katietoussaint) on

(3) The open road. Climb into your car. Take I-77 north bound and don’t forget to roll the windows down. Turn right off of Exit 25. Turn right onto Black Farms Road. Take it in.

NC fades into farms.

A photo posted by Katie Toussaint (@katietoussaint) on

(4) St. Peter’s meditation garden. 507 S. Tryon St. Look for the wall that rises with ivy and drape yourself across a bench behind St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the water wall.  

Meditation garden in #clt A photo posted by Katie Toussaint (@katietoussaint) on

(5) Freedom Park. 1900 East Blvd. Show up shortly after sunrise.  Walk around the water and see the mist rising from the glassy surface, see the morning runners glide through the air. See the light fracture, shift.

#FreedomPark before work.

A photo posted by Katie Toussaint (@katietoussaint) on

(6) The Evening Muse. 3227 N. Davidson St. When you can’t create, watch another artist in action. Step inside this intimate listening room. Your only task is to hear. Sounds sweetly reverberate.

evening muse

(7) Peruse Sleepy Poet. 4450 South Blvd. The quintessential spot for aimless wandering. Let your thoughts wash over you in the little art gallery — gaze at the walls. Poke around — you’re looking for something, even if you have no inkling of what it is. It’ll come to you.

Little contemplative art gallery. @sleepypoet

A photo posted by CharlotteFive (@cltfive) on

Photos by Katie Toussaint.


Katie ToussaintKatie Toussaint thinks a day without inspiration is a very boring day indeed. She edits for CharlotteFive and community news at the Charlotte Observer.  Follow her on Twitter @katietoussaint.

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