I don’t know what to write!
I don’t have anything interesting to say.
I don’t know why I even bother…no one will ever read it.
This is stupid…
I’ve heard it from other writers and all these statements have certainly spilled out of my mouth on more than one occasion and, will likely spill out again should I be faced with another creative drought. So, what’s one to do when the thought of facing a blank page is both unbearable and intimidating?
Show up. Sit your butt down in your chair and just write. It doesn’t have to be a critically acclaimed piece of work—it just has to be yours. Embrace the act of throwing some words down on that page and don’t worry where they came from or how they fit together. No pressure. No expectations.
Yikes, I’ve shown up…now what?! For a little jump start, two of my favourite tools to help get those creative juices flowing are writing prompts and free writing.
1. Writing Prompts
If I’m really blocked, I quite appreciate not having to come up with an idea for a prompt, therefore I tend to utilize what’s already been developed; there are some fantastic writing prompt ideas online. Some of my favourites include:
May I suggest, having a selection of writing prompts on hand therefore, they’re ready to go when you are.
2. Free Writing
I was introduced to the concept of free writing when I committed to Julia Cameron’s 12-week program The Artist’s Way, the premise of this program is to help unblock artists. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it. One of the tools Cameron recommends is the morning pages/free writing.
Every morning before I launched into my day, I sat down with a cup of bean in hand, a journal that I had bought specifically for The Artist's Way and a purple pen with the task to write 3 pages of whatever popped into my head. Now, there were many a day when I filled up an entire page (or three) with “I don’t know what to write," or I complied my ‘To Do’ list for the day or a grocery list. Many, many days. But that was OK, my task was to 'just write.'
Kindly note, you can use your computer if you prefer. On some occasions I do, but I will confess I find the old-fashioned pen and paper liberating. Try both. Alternate. No rules.
Ohhhhh this is soooo bad.
I cannot emphasis this next point enough, do not worry about the quality of your work when using with these tools. The idea is simply to get that writing muscle working. Much like going for a run, there are days when you feel like you can run forever and other days when you may wonder why you even bothered putting your runners on.
I'll keep saying this until you believe me...there are no rules, the idea is to experiment and have some fun. Your writing muscle will strengthen. If you walk away from your desk tomorrow without an idea for a best-selling novel be kind to yourself—the most important thing was to show up and try; the quality and ideas WILL come.
How do you tackle writer's block?
Activist, World traveller. Fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.