Lacking Inspiration

My writing life goes round in circles. At times, I feel excited. I have lots of things I want to write about. My words flow onto the computer screen, no problem at all. And then one day I wake up and I feel flat. When I write, my words are two-dimensional. No amount of effort will pump them up and make them exciting. A few times in the past, when I’ve been in one of these phases, I’ve written a farewell blogging post: Thank you for reading my blog. I’ve enjoyed writng, but it’s now time to move on. I’ve even deleted my blog a couple of times. But was that the right response?

I have discovered that uninspired times are just a normal part of my writing life. They’re also part of my unschooling family life. Yes, sometimes I wake up and life looks a bit grey. Where has my excitement for living and learning gone?

I wonder if our chidren also feel this way at times. Does their excitement for learning also disappear? Do they face the day feeling uninspired? These can be tough times for unschooling parents. We prefer days when our kids are obviously excited by their passions. We can be sure at such times they are learning.

But could quiet times, when our children don’t appear to be doing much at all, actually be normal? Could they even be essential? Should we just trust that our children will pass through such phases in their own time? Will they soon be back on track? I’ve been through the quiet time cycle a few times with different children. And I know inspiration and excitement for learning can suddenly return.

But writing and normal life blues are nothing compared to the blackness that descends when a baby dies. When we’re grieving, people tell us that time will heal all. All we have to do is wait it out. But is that true?

In this week’s podcast, I talk about uninspiring times, times when it feels like we are in a slump. I also tell you a little about my son Thomas. We’re celebrating his birthday today, and tomorrow we’ll be remembering the day he died.

I had a lot of trouble coming up with a topic for this week’s episode. Just when I was wondering if episode 50 would be my farewell podcast – I’ve enjoyed podcasting, but now it’s time to move on(!) – I decided to ask my Facebook friends for some suggestions. I’m not sure I interpreted their excellent ideas correctly. Maybe this podcast will still sound uninspired. If it does, I hope you understand. Podcasting might be cyclic too. Inspiration can suddenly disappear and then reappear when we least expect it. I could return next week with a very exciting edition. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? (I hope it works out that way!)

Podcast Notes

Decluttering book

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo


You can find lots of resources on my Pinterest boards!
I’m feeling rather inspired by all the things I’ve recently added to my Unschool Maths board. I wonder if my girls will also feel excited when they see my pins!

Blog posts



Thank you for listening!

Images: These photos were taken on our annual birthday visit to the cemetery. We always arrange fresh flowers on Thomas’ grave, take some photos and then have a special picnic.

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  1. Reply

    I wonder if you lack inspiration because your emotions and thoughts are elsewhere at the moment…celebrating and grieving Thomas.
    Thanks for giving us inspiration on how to persevere through uninspired times!
    Thinking of you today. Jazzy Jack

    1. Reply

      Jazzy Jack,

      Oh yes! I think you are so right. My thoughts have been on Thomas and not on all the usual stuff. I haven't felt very excited about anything this last week so I had nothing inspiring to share. Your words have made me feel so much better. Perhaps in a few days time I'll feel back to normal and once again have lots I want to tell everyone in my podcasts.

      Thank you so much for listening and finding something positive to say about this episode. I appreciate your kindness.

  2. Reply

    I am saving this podcast treat when I have time later to give it my full attention :-). It is the beginning of my day here and the end of yours. I am heart happy that you are still showing up for work in your writings and podcasts. I know sometimes I am late in commenting but I do appreciate them, I really do.

    It is interesting you talking about quiet times but at this end we have a son who has truly lost his way :-(. He has addiction problems regarding the computer and becomes aggressive, withdrawn and moody as a result of screen time. The teenage hormones are making his memory problems worse and this impacts on his management of the diabetes. I know that your gang are a real testament to a success in in schooling but I wonder has anyone been brave enough to pronounce it as a big fat fail? I am not making judgements or criticising just pondering out loud at the sunny end of the globe 🙂

    Sending you much love, prayers and gratitude for your friendship

    San xx

    1. Reply


      I'm so sorry to hear you're having a hard time with Benedict. You sound very worried about him. Perhaps you don't know what to do next? Yes, unschooling seems to be a perfect way of life for our family. And I'm grateful for that. But it's not the only way to do things. Do you feel you want to do something else? Going in a different direction isn't a sign of failure. It's responding to the changing needs of our children. Perhaps that's the crux of the matter: responding to our children's needs. They can be difficult to identify at times! I wonder if things will be better once the hormones settle down.

      I don't know anything about screen addictions, but they sound hard to handle. I haven't dealt with that issue because my children seem very different in personality. Are there other things your son enjoys other than the computer? How's his cooking going? I always love hearing about his kitchen creations.

      San, doing the best for our children can be a real worry at times. When in doubt, I just love. And pray and try to trust. Not much help, I'm sorry, but I am always here to listen. We keep you and your beautiful family in our prayers. I am so glad we are friends. xxx

      Almost forgot: I would have given up podcasting by now if it weren't for my friends' encouragement. Thank you for always listening and making me feel I'm doing something worthwhile.

  3. Reply

    I'm glad you were able to put another podcast together. You've done so tremendously well from beginning podcasting, learning all the ropes, improving your sound and delivery, and now you have 50 under your belt, amazing!
    It seems that uninspired times are just part and parcel of creative living. I guess when we do feel inspired again we tend to go into overdrive and make up for the quieter times.
    I'll finish by saying that one of the things I like most about your podcasts is your calm and quiet honesty.
    God bless

    1. Reply


      I haven't felt very amazing this week so your comment is appreciated very much. Often when we look back, we can see how far we've come. The same with our children. Each day's achievements might not seem too big, but they all add up. 50 podcasts! They've certainly added up! I never imagined I'd make so many. I wouldn't have persevered without such people as you listening faithfully and encouraging me to keep going. Thank you!

      I'm sure you are right and very soon I'll be racing along making up for lost time, doing exciting things once more. I shall soon have lots of interesting things to talk about in future podcasts.

      Yesterday. Sophie was telling me how much she appreciates your kind and helpful feedback when you comment on her blog. She said, you don't just say, "Beautiful photos!" but leave words which encourage or inspire or give direction. I agree with her. Thank you so much for specific encouraging feedback on my podcasting!

    • Wendy
    • November 10, 2015

    I thought this was a beautiful podcast! When you first started podcasting I wasn't sure when I would find time to listen, but it has become a special incentive to deep clean a corner of the house while I enjoy your chatting about things.

    I was thinking about what you were saying about your enthusiasm coming and going, and I have noticed, after following your blog for a while, that there is a pattern. My dear MIL lost her husband (my husband's father) very suddenly when she was in her early 30s. I did not meet her until many years later, but every year, around his anniversary, she would feel sad and low energy. Sometimes, decades later, she wouldn't consciously notice the date was nearing, but she would be feeling blue and eventually realize it was that time year.

    I'm so glad you persist through the difficult times! We're praying for you and your family today.

    1. Reply


      A pattern? Oh yes! It's strange how the date on the calendar can affect us so much. Even if I never looked at the date, I'm sure my heart would know where we are in the year. Perhaps we subconsciously take note of the change in the seasons and other things associated with the time of grief. Feeling blue is very natural and maybe recognising this and being kind to ourselves is quite okay.

      Beautiful podcast? I wasn't really happy with it because I felt it was flat and I almost didn't publish it. Thank you for making me feel better about it. And I'm so glad you listen each week. I hope you've got some more deep cleaning to do. I might chat about Christmas this week. Christmas is always fabulous even if I'm not!

  4. Reply

    I agree with the others, that the thougths on Thomas and his impact on your family is reason enough to feel flat. But then I want to add a citation from one of my favourite books, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lweis: "Has no one every told you about the law of Undulation?
    Humans are amphibians– half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation– the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life– his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon" (from Chapter 8).
    So, wait and pray.
    God bless

  5. Reply

    I think quiet times are a necessary part of a growing life: farmers let fields lie fallow, God rested on the 7th day. When my daughter was a baby, she went to physical therapy to help with her gross motor delays. I remember her therapist telling me that if she was undergoing times of language development or a growth spurt, she likely wouldn't make great strides with her motor skills. And if she was showing a lot of growth with her motor skills, her language skills would plateau. It helped me to not worry if she wasn't growing in all areas all the time. I found that framework helpful in other areas of my life as well. Quiet times are a necessary part of growth.

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for sharing your daughter's story and your thoughts. Yes, quiet times are necessary! Maybe because the world rushes along at such a fast pace, we get the feeling we should be doing the same. We have to look like we're being productive all the time.

      I've been thinking about how the school system expects kids to learn at a constant rate throughout the year. Kids have to keep on performing to someone else's time-table. How difficult that must be. And counter-productive in the end. So glad we have our kids at home and can move to our own tune!

      Record keeping has been on my mind too. When our kids are in a quiet time, there might not be much to record in the homeschool records book which can be a worry because the education department expects to see lots of obvious learning going on. I wonder if I can write about that! Lots of thoughts. It's been good to chat!

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