November 10, 2015 by Nathaniel Tower
Whether you are trying to write a novel, pen an epic poem, or maintain a blog about this or that, it’s inevitable that you will at some point experience one of the following:
- lack of inspiration
- decrease in motivation
- general malaise
- writing burnout
- general I-don’t-give-a-shit
Some people refer to these symptoms as “writer’s block,” but I don’t buy it. There’s nothing being blocked. You just aren’t trying hard enough.
But what can you do about this lack of trying? It’s not like “start trying” is any kind of worthwhile advice. Being told to just sit down and write is certainly no cure for those I-don’t-give-a-shit moments. You have to write about something.
But what, oh what, are you supposed to write about when you have nothing to write about? Here are ten ideas for you:
- Write about something super controversial that would piss a lot of people off. Maybe it would even piss yourself off. Maybe something politically incorrect. Or maybe something downright irreverent. If that doesn’t get those writerly juices flowing, nothing will.
- Write a top ten list. Nothing is easier than writing a top ten list. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Top ten barn animals you want to spit on while driving a dune buggy. That’s a great topic! If ten is too many, just do six or five or even two. No one really cares how long your list is as long as it’s a damn list.
- Write something that mimics something you read in McSweeney’s. Because if McSweeney’s published it, then it must be brilliant. By mimicking it, you will become brilliant.
- Write a letter to the editor of an imaginary newspaper complaining about the stupid article you didn’t read last week. Remember to use lots of colorful language.
- Write a children’s book about a cow and a head of broccoli. Give the broccoli a machine gun and make the cow a hipster with skinny jeans. But for heaven’s sake, don’t kill anyone. It’s a damn children’s book.
- Write a book proposal for a book that’s already been written. Maybe something about the time you marched through the wilderness by yourself. Or the time you cut off your arm while trapped under a rock. Or the time you got a full scholarship to West Point.
- Write a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story where it was all a dream. And make sure the final story takes place in a bar.
- Write a religious tome that mashes all of the religions into one and call it Mashianity. Make sure it offends everyone and has at least one erotic scene.
- Write the ingredients of all the food in your pantry, but insert a potty word after each one. Like high fructose corn syrup poop or xanthan gum dick.
- Turn off your computer and type whatever comes to mind for twenty minutes. Don’t allow yourself to fix any typos during the entire twenty minutes. During the course of this twenty minutes, you will realize that you just wrote the best thing you’ve ever written, but there is no record of it anywhere. Hire a private investigator to dust the keyboard for your prints in an effort to replicate the exact keystrokes you made during that 20 minutes.
See, that was easy. You are back to writing again. And if all else fails, write some kind of weird erotica story.