If you’re like me, you’ll oftentimes sit down to write and find that you have no idea what the hell you want to write about. It can be when drafting a story, a scene, writing in a journal, scribbling on some looseleaf we found… there are times when we don’t have a theme, or a topic, or a burning idea to get down.
What then? Do we wait until tomorrow?
(Insert Andy Serkis as Caesar yelling “NO!” – if you know, you know).
The answer for me is the same as it was for Caesar – NO!
I’ll write on anyway, because that’s when I learn the most about myself.
We’re often more creative, more fun, more exciting than we give ourselves credit for. Our well of ideas doesn’t dry up, our energy doesn’t disappear. It’s all there if we just close our eyes, stop trying so hard to outsmart ourselves, and let it out.
Writing when we have a pre-planned idea – one that’s been percolating in our heads for months – is amazing. It’s fun and liberating and makes us feel like geniuses – “Wow, look how much amazing crap is spewing from my fingers without even an ounce of effort!”
But, it can also be limiting. It boxes us in to a certain topic, and sometimes (not all the time, but sometimes), our best ideas and learnings come when we aren’t limited in any way, shape, or form. When we’ve exhausted our prepared topics, scraped the well dry, and have to dig deep into our thoughts to write even a single word, we’re free to write any word.
Which is why I sometimes love to write when I don’t have anything left to write about. At first it comes out disjointed. For a few minutes it may be sporadic and nonsensical. I often write down stupid words like “Blargh!” and “Grrrrroof!” But eventually I hit my stride and, because my mind is still in writing mode but there isn’t a limiting template or box around my thoughts, something entirely unexpected comes out.
I learn about myself. I come up with great ideas. I have fun (fun?! what fun?).
So take off the training wheels every once in a while. Work until you’re done working and feel like you don’t have any good ideas left, or sit down when you don’t think you have a single creative thought to give, and let it out! Don’t spare any time – not even a second – feeling embarrassed by what might come out. Nobody else has to see it if you don’t want them to.
Unleash it, have fun with it, let it all shine.
Sometimes I’m surprised by the amazing things I come up with. Sometimes I learn something interesting.
No matter what happens, it’s worth it, it’s fun, and it’s good to surprise myself every once in a while.
What do you think? Do you ever work when you don’t think you have anything to write about? What interesting thoughts or ideas have come out when you least expected them to?