What To Do When You Want to Write But Don’t Know What to Write

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It happens some days — you want to write, you feel you have to, but you just don’t know how to start. It’s not that you don’t have ideas. You have too many.

Write anything

Anything that comes to mind. However bad or embarrassing. You don’t have to show it to the world, not all of it, at least. You can throw away the first pages.

Summon the past

Our past is full of unsaid words. Through writing, we can use the past as a ladder of sorts to climb among the clouds of inspiration. Remember something, anything, and build your writing on that.

Write your thoughts in real time

I am thinking about what to write. I don’t know what to write. This is not well. It’s embarrassing. This kind of real time writing can be like a warm-up — something that helps you get started.

Leave your writing unfinished

It can be an unfinished chapter, an unfinished paragraph, or even an unfinished sentence. Hemingway did it. He always stopped writing when the going was still good. That way he could pick up the thread the following morning. Stopping before writing all you want to write can be frustrating. Almost like getting up from the bed when making love with someone. You itch to get back.

Don’t try too hard

The great thing about writing is the act of writing itself, how it effaces and at the same time reinforces our existence. All too often, we hesitate because we feel our idea is not good enough. We wait for inspiration before we start, for an idea that we think is worth developing. But that holds us back. We shouldn’t be the ones to judge our writing. We can leave that to others. We should just write. It’s that simple. Not all of what we write will be good. But some of that writing will demand to be shared with others. Like this post.

Do you always know what you are going to write before you sit at your desk?


24 thoughts on “What To Do When You Want to Write But Don’t Know What to Write

  1. Vincent, you are a real inspiration. I love the way you write about ” summon the past”..so poetic.! I started a blog more than a year ago. Have not written one word yet. Too scared to send my thoughts into the world. But if I had your pen, I would. Continue to inspire us dear Vincent. Thank you very much for your sharing. Huguette..

    1. Come now, do post something! You’ll find out that it’s easier than following other people’s blogs. Drop me a link and I’ll be the first to read your first post. 🙂

  2. Wonderful suggestions Vincent. Sometimes it helps to write something personal, drop the safety net, post it or not…it is bound to be inspiring! 🙂

      1. yes, i agree. deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness. use techniques that help to slow down our minds, and yoga too, to help ease the trying-too-hard syndrome 🙂

  3. Great post! I never know what I’m going to write but I try to do a bit every day…it’s more for therapeutic purposes than the expectation I’m going to create anything worth reading. Some days I have to force myself to sit at the table, empty journal pages staring back at me, and all I’ll be able to come up with is “I am sad today” or something of that nature but I’m hoping over the course of time, with practice, I’ll be able to produce something worthwhile.

    1. I’m just confident in your skill-set and your ability if you realize when you’re interested and listen set and a place of Solitude not only will the things that are waiting you down on while blowing your mind you be able to set and release. And let your spirit guide you you have just had your coffee table for today by mr. coffee and as always I’ll see you when I see you talk to you when I can

  4. I’m really not good on giving advice but what I do know when the spirit is free then so are you the truth inner peace is something that you strive for and achieve I’m not much of a writer but I know that when my spirit is free my true self emerges and then I can get accomplished the things that need to be done now you have just had your coffee for today I’ll see you when I talk to you when I can

  5. I started writing sometime back in 2014, left it at that and only started again last month. I concur with you, it does not have to be a grand idea, just put my thoughts to words. I am writing for myself first, then others. Thank you.

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