I'm having a blank-screen day - you know the kind. Nothing's inspired you to write and you'll do anything to avoid staring at a blinking cursor, so you eat 10 more snacks you're not supposed to have and then clean out and organize your entire craft closet? Yeah. I'm having one of those.
It must be all of the blasted writers' advice I've been reading lately-all of them suggesting in their own way that a successful writer "shows up at the page and writes, whether she feels like it or not"-because instead of deserting the computer and gliding into a nice cozy bed, here we are, the cursor and I.
And I'm left trying to remember what's cured blank-screenitis in the past:
1. Freewrite Until You've Struck Inspiration...or the Required Word Count
Sure, sometimes all that comes out is, I have nothing to write, I have nothing to write, this stinks I have nothing to write and one more rice crispie treat wouldn't hurt would it? for three pages straight. But sometimes you stumble upon Something Good in all of those ramblings. I started this blog post complaining about how I didn't have a topic, and - jackpot! - that became my topic.
2. Brainstorm Interesting Things that Happened Recently
You can only hear "write what you know," or the inverse, "write what you DON'T know" so many times. Don't worry, I'll spare you. But. Thinking about funny or interesting or strange things you've experienced lately is entertaining, at least, and at most it will inspire related - or unrelated - articles and stories. While randomly writing about a surprising question I was asked at the gym the other day ("do you have any bad habits you'd like to get rid of?") I came up with a seemingly unrelated parenting article about how motherhood has "paused" work toward my goals.
3. Make Someone Else Do Your Work for You. Preferably a Spouse.
If you can't come up with anything, hey, maybe someone else can. This coming-up-with-ideas thing can actually be kind of fun for people who don't have to research, write and submit an article on the topic. And who better to ask than a husband or wife? There's nothing like shooting down a few of your spouse's ideas to get the juices flowing. You know the drill: "No, nope, naaah, it'd be much more interesting if....aha! Thanks! Gotta go!"
Now go to it.