The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, September 21, 2012

I Don't Know What to Blog About

          It's the end of another summer, which means I'm coming to the end of my Hijack This Blog! experiment.  I'll have more to reflect on about my summer campaign as well as a look at some of the changes I'm pondering for the future of Tossing It Out, but you'll have to come back next Friday for those thoughts.  Before that though we'll be closing with a bang with special Hijack! posts from Stephen Tremp on Monday and Captain Alex J Cavanaugh on Wednesday.   I still have a few more guest posts coming in October and November, but mostly it will be back to good ol' me.  

           Today's post is an expansion of a comment I left on a blog a couple weeks ago.  It's nothing new.  In fact this post relates to an oft-cited problem that's been around since people decided they needed to be writers.  I'm talking about that age old problem of "Writer's Block".   I've written about the topic before and so have many of you.   But I guess it's a subject that never really gets old and the blog post that inspired my comment just got me kind of fired up.  I hear this unnecessary lament so often and I don't know why.

          Some of you will go through those dry periods that you label "Writer's Block", but really now, there's no good reason to be crying this excuse when it comes to blogging.   Here's my reply to those who try to justify some other problem with the lame claim of not knowing what to write about.

An Open Letter to Bloggers Who Don't Know 
The discouraged Nenene suffering from writer's...
The discouraged Nenene suffering from writer's block continues to lament the disappearance of Yomiko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What to Write About:

Lacking inspiration eh?  Hmmm--you call yourself a writer in training so why not just write about anything.  Topics are everywhere. Once I was trying to think of something to write about on my blog so I just looked at my desk to write about the first thing I saw.

I ended up writing a post about my stapler. I started coming up with so much content I eventually had to stop writing about it.  What I did was studied the stapler and started writing about everything my mind free-associated with about that common office supply product--how it felt, what it could be used for, where it was made, the name of the company that made it, and so on.

You likewise should just write.  What's your day like?  Who was an interesting person you've met or known in your life?  Do you have any hobbies?--talk about one of them.  Topics are everywhere and you don't have to write very long posts about them.  Just write something pithy that you can try to relate to something meaningful, but if you don't, no matter.  Blogging makes for great writing experimentation for any writer in training.

If you are a writer at heart, once you start writing it will probably be more of an issue of getting you to shut up.  Then it will too late.  You will no longer be "in training".  You will be a real bonafide writer.

And don't forget to read other blogs and leave comments. I've gotten some great training by leaving comments and I'm writing when I do it.  Plus I get ideas for my own blog posts by reading other blogs and commenting on them.

Sorry for this ramble, but I can't help it. I'm a writer and I want to see you attain your dreams.  If you want to write, I want to see you write.  When I see you write, I want to be inspired to write more.  Writing inspiration should never dry up.  Your mind is like a muscle that must be exercised to stay in shape.

If you're going to blog, then be consistent and crank out content.  Blogging is not the same as writing a book, but it's good training for writing a book.   Blogging can be good training for writing just about anything.   You might think of it like those essay questions on high school or college exams.  To make a decent grade you have to come up with content in the best presentable way you can muster.   No teacher or professor is going to accept the excuse of "Writer's Block".    And I don't think it's an acceptable excuse for any blogger.

Whether you call it "Writer's Block" or just say you don't know what to write about, please don't ever use that excuse as a blog post entry.   If you truly want to write, then you will write.   If you don't feel like writing then that's something else that doesn't have a whole lot to do with your ability to write.  Just come out and admit that you don't feel like writing for the time being.  Go for a walk, watch television, sleep, read, or whatever helps you feel better.

 Then, after you've taken your break, you should have something to write about.  If you don't, then maybe writing is not really something you want to do.

          Do you think "writer's block" is a good excuse for bloggers to use?   Have you ever written a blog post telling about how you didn't have anything to write about?    What are some things that provide inspiration for your blog posts?

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  1. Looking forward to appearing here next Wednesday! Stephen and I will rock the last week for you.
    What do I blog about? Never had that problem! There's always something awesome going on in the blogging or entertainment world that I can blog aboout.

  2. I love the post about the stapler haha, this post is very true, writer's block is only an excuse to an extent. I think I've blogged once before about not having anything decent to write about our running out of inspiration but you're right in what you say about writer's block, great post Lee and I can't wait for the other guest posts.

  3. Great post :) When I find myself with nothing inspiring enough to write about, I look to the past and usually find many memories worth sharing. Nobody can say they don't have any interesting stories in their life.

    To answer your questions, I never write about how I have nothing to write about. I don't think readers appreciate that. Nobody wants to read that. If I really find myself unable to write, then I just won't.

  4. I've had to step back from the amount of posting I have done in the past on other blogs not so much because of the time it takes to write a post but because of the time it takes to read and comment on other posts.

    There is always something cool or interesting or funny or inciting to read on other people's blogs but it is an ever-churning cauldron of content and it's just too time-consuming to keep up.

    Anyway, I hope you write more stories about your childhood, in the fall. I love those posts.

  5. Hear, hear! Well said. A blog post about having nothing to write about is a great place to start. When I sit down to write (fiction, not a blog post) and I feel like I don't know where to start, I usually start with that: "I don't know what to write!" Eventually it evolves into something more, takes me back to my story, and the inspiration clicks on. The way to get through, passed, or over the block is to just write!

    Like Madeleine L'Engle said: "Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it."

  6. I'm in complete agreement, though I don't always follow the advice. I often neglect posting due to 'writer's block' but you're right that there's great content all around us just waiting to be written.

  7. your own posts are always much more interesting than the visiting ones, Lee :)
    In my film news business I have fresh news only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and maybe Fridays, the rest is either poor or totally lacking in news, so I have to come up with spotlights and such things, but the good thing is that such posts are always much more visited than the regular news ones, especially since I have the tendency to chose material which not many people around the net write about.

  8. I do sometimes have a dilemma pondering what to write about. Sometimes I just say that and leave it there. Other times a I dredge up a topic. Having a blog feels almost like having a column with people depending on you to deliver, but really, it's just us talking about whatever. Perhaps we need to ease up on ourselves.

  9. There is always an opportunity to write about something if we just look around.

    Writer's block can be a terrible thing if we let it take control of our writing life.

    Hugs and chocoalte,

  10. Alex -- Like you, I can always come up with something to blog about, and even if it's something rather stupid or mundane, I'll try my best to make it interesting and entertaining.

    Matthew - I think the temptation to use the excuse of having nothing to write about is an easy out that we've all done or thought about doing.

    jnana-- I certainly don't want to hear that someone doesn't have something to write about. It's like going to a concert and having the performer say they don't know what to sing or play.

    Suze -- I hear what you're saying. I've been overly consumed with keeping up with the blogging world and neglecting other parts of my life. I now do most of my memoir writing on Wrote By Rote.

    Laura -- Good thought. It's okay to be stumped at the beginning of the writing session, but a real writer is going to let thoughts flourish into words on paper (or the computer screen).

    Jamie -- If one doesn't feel like writing then that's a much better excuse than saying one doesn't know what to write about.

    Dezmond -- Well, thank you, but I did enjoy most of my guest posts--such an array of interesting content. I agree that sometimes what the writer thinks is least interesting to them is actually interesting to the reader if the content is well written. Your increased visits speaks well of your writing abilities.

    Karen -- I think perhaps easing up on oneself includes just writing without stressing about whether others will like what we are writing about. If something feels good for me to write about then that's pretty good for me and if others enjoy it then that's an added bonus. I don't stress to much about the writing of my posts anymore, the stress comes more from keeping up with social interaction and that part is the worst part.

    Shelly - Something is always right in front of us or in our heads. Writing for a blog is one of the best writing exercises I've ever experienced other than essay tests where you have a time constraint and just have to come up with something on the spot.


  11. I don't think about it as being blocked any more. I think about it as my brain taking a break. Actually, when I'm not writing, I'm processing a lot of ideas that may or may not become stories, but I jot those down and I've found that later after a story does come, a lot of what I've written during those "blocked" times is included in my WIP. My motto: go with the flow (not new, just makes sense.)

  12. I hate the whole writer's block thing. Or the "I'm not inspired" thing. I think it's exterior stimulation vs interior motivation that's really at the center of things. Too often, people rely on exterior stimulation, and that's not where a writer should be.
    (and now I'm wondering if this is at all related extroversion and introversion...)

  13. Although, I have never had writer's block in general, ever, I've had blog block --like right now. Sort of.


  14. I'll tell ya what . . . I'd much rather have writer's block than sleep block (A.K.A. "insomnia").

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  15. Well if you had read my last post you will see I wrote about going to the restroom at the hospital only to find a man already in there.....he didn't lock the door. I was scrapping the barrel to write about that as these days don't go too far and see many people. But there is always something to write about.


  16. So funny! On Thursday, someone asked me what I do about writer's block. My answer? I write! Just like you Lee, I start free writing with whatever comes up. I don't really think there is such a thing as writer's block. I think it's more like making a choice to not write, perhaps due to distractions from other pressures or having a crisis in confidence. I agree reading and commenting on blogs helps to generate words, as well as improve writing skills.

  17. Looking forward to hearing your final thoughts on the Hijack Experiment. You had some interesting guest bloggers take over throughout the summer.

  18. Good points, Lee, and walking about helps clear the mind at least.

    It's nice when a post inspires someone else to continue the conversation.

    I'll check in next week for those posts.

  19. Great post, Lee. I've linked to it in my tomorrow post, because you inspired me to write about yarn, my crocheting and Project Linus (blankets for kids). Thanks!

  20. C.Lee-- We all need a break now and then. Breaks help to recharge the writing.

    Andrew -- I'm sure the extrovert/introvert think could be turned into a good blog post topic.

    Teresa -- I'm sure you could come up with blog posts if you really had to. I think you probably just needed a break.

    StMc -- Insomnia can certainly play hell with trying to focus on things. I need my sleep though I'm sure I probably don't get as much as I should.

    Yvonne- That poem and most of your poems are good examples of drawing upon your daily life.

    Liza -- I think you're doing what needs to be done. We don't get much done by just sitting around and complaining that we can't do something.

    Susanne -- It has been fun for me and I hope a lot of others enjoyed the Hijack! experiment.

    DG -- I need to walk more. I've been doing better of late and I get a lot of thinking and brainstorming done.

    Patricia -- I feel like my post has been worthwhile. Thank you for letting me know of this.


  21. Alright! This article got me so pumped up to dive right in and BLOG tomorrow, no excuses and no whining about not knowing what to blog about.

    Because I know you can't guess why I have glitter all over my face right now...

    You'll have to read the blog tomorrow to find out!

    I believe that bloggers use writer's block as an excuse much to often, and I'm ashamed to say that I am one of them. I'm sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of blog posts I read that start, "Sorry I haven't blogged in so long..." or "I can't think of anything to write about..."

    The story about writing about a stapler is funny, interesting and inspirational. It's true, people who are writers at heart should be inspired to write about anything and everything and to never want to stop.

  22. Who is this "Arlee Bird" who has hijacked this blog today?

    Why did you hijack it if you did not know what to blog about?

    It will be good to have you back, Lee (no offense to your many talented hijackers)!


  23. I guess I don't understand the writer's block posts. There is just so much to write about and when in doubt, join a blog challenge. They are the best, not only for having a goal but the interaction with the other bloggers. I so look forward to joining the A to Z challenge this year.


  24. Way to call us writers in training out Lee! Writer's Block is frustrating and drowning in the pain makes it that much more dramatic and dire. Curse of a writer? You can easily get caught in this cycle. Great advice, go out and take a break. I thought you were going to say if you don't have something to write about after your break, you actually may have a problem bigger than writer's block. Thanks!


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