Motivation is highly overrated. If you’ve set yourself a daily writing goal, you need to do it whether you feel like it or not. That’s what makes you a writer. This post talks about articles, but it could just as easily be about short stories or chapters in a novel or non-fiction book.
If you have many articles in progress, simply reading through them will lead to working on them. You’ll think of ideas and information you want to add. Keep cycling through article ideas, outlines, first drafts, second drafts, and final drafts. You know this works.
If you don’t have any articles in progress, make some up. Don’t worry about starting with sensible ideas. You feel like doing nothing. Waste some time with silly ideas. Write enough on a silly thought and some sense often comes out of it.
More on this, did you say?
Practice Destroying the Blank Page
This is an exercise in writing nonsense that only you will see. You can make this exercise a little harder by writing an article about the exercise and giving some examples. Yes. I’m talking about me and the post you’re reading now. Here are some examples of first paragraphs to destroy the blank page.
A blue sky today but it’s still winter. Nice day from inside. Shitty day outside unless you’re a kid. I liked winter when I was a kid. I probably didn’t even realize I was wearing five layers of clothes and it was the exercise that kept me warm. Used to build snow forts. As I got a bit older, I built igloos. I wanted to be a carpenter when I grew up until I found out all the ways you can mutilate yourself with the power tools. There have been many power tools featured in horror movies.
A short story about kids who build a snow fort. A teen bully keeps destroying it. The fort becomes rather long as a result of the reconstructions with some parts completely in the snow bank. One day the plow comes by and there’s blood. All the mothers (most of whom we should have met already) fear their child is dead. Instead, the teen bully has lost a leg.
An article on building snow forts and igloos. Which kinds of snow are best for building. How much snow is it safe to have overhead. The dangers of hidden forts and igloos near the road. How to build an igloo by piling up snow and then digging in.
If you want to build a hen-house, you’ll have to kill a few chickens. By that, I mean that most of us can’t start anything new without selling off something we already have or going into debt. Is it that we don’t make enough money or that we don’t save enough? If we’re working full time, the problem is not saving enough. In other words, spending too much. How many things do I have that I don’t use? TV, internet, stereo, home phone, cell phone. Seems to be some overlap there. Food can be a waste too. There’s bad, good, and excellent. Bad food like instant mac and cheese is a good emergency food. Good food should be the standard. Then there’s the excellent or expensive. Just because food is expensive doesn’t make it excellent. Chips and dip? What a waste of money. Pizza in any form. Big waste of money. How often is a treat? I think I may be hungry.
An article on saving money seems obvious. What services do you have but barely use? What costly foods are a regular expense instead of a treat? How often do you drink? Are you still wasting money on cigarettes? How many cars? Do you re-read the best books and magazines?
Could write a story about one of the entrepreneurs in my novel selling one business to finance the next. The second time around he gets cheated by the buyer but the financing has already gone through for his own loan. The cheater thinks he won’t be able to afford to sue. The new business takes right off (so it has to be a good one. Google to find new business ideas that are succeeding right now). The entrepreneur gets the business back from the cheater as well. What’s the surprise to end the story?
If I had a million dollars, I’d buy a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss. Thanks Eminem. Is that fair use? Am I violating your copyright? One line from a song could be too much if it was one of those artists who just repeats a few lines over and over for five minutes. Eminem has lots of lines in his songs and tells interesting stories. I think I’ll be okay. Plus, he got the “If I had a million dollars…” from a lotto commercial. Fair use of fair use.
Research and write an article on fair use and copyright laws.
Just as Eminem puts interesting short stories in his songs, I could write very short stories. They could be ridiculously simple but if there were enough of them I might pull out some good ones.
Enough examples. More ideas.
Journal or Write Spontaneously
The journal is about the same as the examples of rambling above except that you have a file called a journal. You can write anything in a journal. If you are afraid someone else will read your bad writing or some stupid ideas, you can always edit at the end of the day.
Spontaneous writing is just zipping out anything that pops into your head as fast as you can. If you’re a touch typist, close your eyes and charge ahead. Anything will do, even if it’s just a nonsense word over and over. After a bit of nonsense, ideas will come forth. Some will be stupid and some will be inspirational.
Where’s This All Going?
The point behind getting you going when you have nothing to work with is to get you started with some article and short story ideas. Once you have some ideas to work with you can start creating files and working on outlines. Outlines can be worked on until they become first drafts which become second drafts which become final.
It all starts with generating some ideas. From there it’s only a matter of reviewing the ideas and adding to them until you realize you’ve done an edit that produces a final article. Repeat as often as needed.
And that’s how you can write several articles when you feel like doing nothing.
Article by Ivan Izo.