You are sitting and staring at the blank page for hours. But, earlier this year, you promised yourself you’re going to write and publish a story every single day. And now you’re stuck.
Has it ever happened to you? it can be the most disappointing moment there is.
It’s possible you are going through that struggle right now. I know how it feels. I too have been there: You pick a pen to write and your best effort seems not to improve the situation. You pushed yourself, but the more you try the more convinced you’re that you ain’t going any far with this. And all you have is a few unrelated sentences hanging around a bizarre idea.
Here’s the truth: most times we don’t get to overcome that battle of resistance which is sometimes called writer’s block. The reason for that is, just as nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like failure.
In life, there’s a tendency for people, things, and actions to reproduce after their kind. That’s why the rich have the tendency to get richer and the poor to get poorer. It’s more like a law of nature and so, not likely to change soon.
So what do you do when you come to that junction where you have no idea or inspiration… but still need to fulfill the promise to write a story every day?
Here’s one option: forcefully trying to make to write something about the bizarre idea floating in your head.
By now you should know that this doesn’t help much. So you shouldn’t do that anymore. Instead, there’s a better option that’s worked for me for the past couple of weeks. Here’s it:
Start with what you already know and are very familiar with.
Turn the page over and write on a topic you are very familiar with. Topics you don’t have to do any special research to write on:
- A brief description of your room. Color of the painting, number of frames, the bed and its position from the window; your mirror and where it is in the room, your flour and the arrangement of the tiles…
- An essay about your mother. Her name, her age, nationality, ethnicity or race. Her favorite color. What makes her smiles, and how often she does. Her hair, what color they are and how long they are…
- Write about your office. What floor it is, how many other offices you have to pass before you get there. The number of windows and the type of shutter it has…
- Your cat. Describe its color, height from your left leg knee. When and how often it sleeps…
The list goes on. As many of those very familiar things, places, and persons you already know, when you have no idea or inspiration, write about them. Writing isn’t only a means to communicate ideas, it also generates ideas.
The writer Paul Graham renders it better:
“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.” — Writing, Briefly.
The result of this simple technique is twofold:
First, the fluency that results from joyfully writing what you are familiar with will enable you to discuss the idea you were struggling with earlier on; and
Secondly, you will generate new ideas in the process.
“Expect 80% of the ideas in an essay to happen after you start writing it; 50% of those you start with to be wrong; be confident enough to cut.” — Paul Graham, Writing, Briefly.
That’s how you can generate ideas when you have none but just HAVE to write as well as when you find it difficult to write or communicate an idea.