How to keep writing even when you don’t know what to write about

Sometimes writing comes hard. Sometimes the smooth flow of my thoughts is so uneven and my clarity so clouded that I can’t even write a sentence. Deciding what to write is even harder and staying focus is a dread.


Writer’s block?



But if there’s something that keeps me going is the feeling of fulfillment that I get once my writing is done. That moment of personal triumph that makes me smile inside and warms my heart. I am chasing that. And write a word, then the first sentence. This will courteously invite the second sentence. Then the third.


“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.



You can find many tricks out there to quickly and quietly demolish the blank wall you are facing. Sometimes a simple walk or coffee is enough to clear your head and get that sparkle going. But here are few things you can do beforehand to be prepared for times when the keyboard is your worst enemy and ideas flow chaotically through your head.



Keep a list of inspiring topics to write about

All ideas are important. No matter how small and unimportant they might seem in the beginning. Create a folder for all your writing ideas and you might find it will be extremely helpful in the long run. Ideas fly away quickly so better catch them in your creative net as soon as they appear. Not all of them will be the source of something amazing but at least a few of them will support your creative flow.


Have a reading list in place

I’m always looking for books to read. Even when my reading list is so full that I honestly don’t know when I will have time to read all of those wonderful books. The only way to keep track of all these titles is to keep them in a reading list and go through it gradually.



“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

― Stephen King


There’s such a rich choice of books out there that diversifying your reading list is certainly going to boost your creativity and bring you fresh ideas to write about. Read everything. Everything you find appealing, interesting, captivating.



Don’t underestimate audiobooks, podcasts or interviews with authors

I found listening to audiobooks very helpful. One sentence, one thought heard randomly in an audiobook can spark the most wonderful creations. It’s equally important to hear how the phrases flow, the intonation and emotion behind a simple sentence. It defines the strength of a word and enriches your expression.



Bookmark everything

Start bookmarking everything you come across and think it might help you one day. Interesting words, expressions, phrases, blog articles, quotes or anything you find interesting for your writing or personal development. I bookmark books, events, courses, quotes, words that I encounter in my readings and want to use them one day in my writing. If it gets overwhelming, you can organize your bookmarks a bit, create some folders and bam, you have a nice system in place. Or, you can use a Google Chrome extension like Evernote Web Clipper to capture full-page articles or images that you want to keep.



Keep a notepad or record your ideas

I find that writing things down when you get an idea is one of the best things you can do as a writer.


“Ideas come from everything”
― Alfred Hitchcock


Keep a notepad, use an app like Trello, Evernote or Google Keep or any others available out there. Jot down random ideas and go over them from time to time. I sometimes can’t type ideas that I need to put down somewhere. So, I record it using the same Google Keep on my phone. Then I can go over it later.


Whatever method you might choose, there are ways to keep you going when your writing gets stuck and the clouds of doubt are weighing heavily on your shoulders. Just remember to keep going, write a word, a sentence, then the next. And the next.


Out of passion for words and languages... You can find me translating, proofreading or copywriting marketing and communication materials for different sectors in English, French, Italian and Romanian. When not in front of my computer I am certainly following my passion for good books or my affinity for painting.

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