Most of the time, most ideas worth writing about don’t show up fully formed at the precise moment we stare at a blank sheet of paper.
Indeed, if we expect all of our useful, original ideas to show up only after we settle into the chair, we are setting ourselves up for a lot of frustration.
The ideas come at other moments. Our job is to remain curious and attentive, so that we stop for long enough to notice our glimpses of passionate insight, of outraged exasperation or of simple, concise observation.
When these moments occur, we must hold on to them for long enough to write down the feelings we have, the core of the insight, and a few scratches about how the argument will flow.
Once that’s done, the writing boils down to the relatively simpler act of putting words around the thoughts so others can see them too.
2 thoughts on “I have nothing to say”
“We can’t be romantic about our practice, because it is hard work that requires time and sacrifice. The beauty isn’t in the way that we sit down to do it. The beauty will be in the thing that we create, whenever and however we can force ourselves to buckle down and start. For me, that means carrying a notebook everywhere and writing down any surge of anything in me—a thought, a memory, a worry. Sometimes, those things turn into essays. Sometimes they don’t. But it’s how I keep track of things, and how I make sure that, when something important happens, I’ll be ready for it.”
I liked today’s post as it was timely to me. Just yesterday, I heard a clip on NPR about an artist who, when asked how is is able to keep it going he answered that he simply sits in front of a blank canvass and will paint a line or a curve and then from that force-fed first step, his piece of art takes shape. And my sister, Sheila Murphy is an executive consultant as well as an amazing poet. I’ve asked her how she continuously is able to write and her answer is that she forces herself, no matter what the circumstances are, to write for 30 minutes each and every day.
As you stated in the title of today’s post “I have nothing to say” that nothing sparked my reply as well as another’s and actually turned into a meaningful post for this day of blankness.