I’ve read that a blogger should have a list of 30 or so blogs already written before she begins a blog. This is so that she won’t be faced with what I find myself troubled with today: what to blog about. The homework assignment in my “Blog Triage” self-study class tells me to:

1. choose a topic you’re ready to blog about.

2. from the list provided, choose three different people.

3. write the post three times, each with a different reader in mind.

4. post the entry the most closely expresses your voice on your blog before continuing to the next lesson.

There follows a list of six people for me to choose among.

Photo by Paul Harrop

Problem is, I’m still stuck at #1: Choose a topic you’re ready to blog about.

I don’t have a topic at hand that I am ready to blog about.

This makes me think of how as writers we sometimes get stuck because we don’t know what we want to write about. Or rather, we have so many things we want to write about we get paralyzed by infinite choice. That’s where I find myself today: Stuck.

So, that part of my brain that wants to help out when I’m stuck, that soothing, we can make this better, part suggests I go to the kitchen for another handful of M&Ms. Or maybe, it offers, go ahead and take a shower now instead of after you’ve finished your blog assignment. Won’t it be easier to come back to then? “You know you always get some of your best ideas in the shower.” Plus, my mind goes reminds me,  I haven’t had lunch yet. And  there’s the yoga class I wanted to get to later this afternoon. “You can write the blog after you come back from yoga,” that voice tells me, the tone so convincing.

This is my mind on “spin.” This is how time set aside for writing can go by without any actual writing happening. This can go on for hours and sometimes does.

But wait, look. I’ve written a blog post about what happens when writers get stuck before the blank page or the blank screen. Once again, it proves to me that if I start with a simple word prompt, in this case “stuck,”and  do a focused, timed writing to the prompt, I’ll find myself writing. It reminds me, once again, that if I get the ink flowing or the fingers flying on the keyboard, the blank page will soon be filled with words. Not all of them good words, mind you, and not all of them keepers, but words on the page. This is the measure of a writer writing .

Now, I think I’ll brainstorm a list of 20 topics I want to blog about. I’ll do it at the kitchen table while I eat lunch.

How do you get your words on the page?

PS. Here’s a list of 33 ways to get unstuck from A Writer’s Book of Days. How to Get Unstuck

14 thoughts on “Stuck?

  1. I hear ya, Judy. I know STUCK and there are hundreds of topics waiting for me to blog about in my Evernote folder. Still, I don’t seem to want to write about any of them when it comes down to it.

    I do love the 1-word prompt.

    BTW, I don’t believe you should have 30 posts before starting a blog because most people would never begin if that were the case. I always say “start now and figure out later.” BUT, and this is key, don’t tell anyone about your blog until you’ve figured it out.

    • Hi Aylson,
      I hear you, about shying away from writing anything at the thought of having to write 30! Good grief. Maybe that’s why I didn’t follow that advice and waited until I took your “Blog Triage” course to really get excited about doing a real blog, and, by the way, having fun with it. Thanks for writing and for all you taught me through the course. I’m also learning more about blogging by following yours.

  2. Excellent tactic, your stuck article. I tried that one in school when I had to get up in front of the class and give a report or something (didn’t listen to that either?). I made it up as I went, likely did not fool the teacher and who cares, and got a passing mark.

    I never cared for the books they made us read yet in grade five I holed up in the library and read Shakespeare (nobody told me to). As far as getting words on the page I probably work better when I am not telling me to. I find ways to fall in love with my work in progress and that keeps me going for a while. There’s always chocolate of course.

    • Let’s all hear it for chocolate.
      Thanks for commenting Linda. I bet you were something in grade five… or any class.
      So how do you fall in love with your work-in-progress?

      • Well … I have a horrific tendency to gnash over old resentments and a great creative bent for anger scenarios. Finally I told myself look shut up and use that skill (man is it honed but good) and make those mental videos for your novel.

        Interesting to see which shoulder whisperer I listen to sometimes but like any new habit it takes a lot of discipline.

        I use lots of tactics but mostly it ends up with me telling myself okay get to it and just straighten this one out today. Just one thing this day. Just do it.

        I find I get lost in it and when I come to it’s as if I want to work but don’t let myself, almost. Like savouring the chocolate until later. Or a good book. I think that type of false mortification is a form of stupidity whatever it is.

  3. I used to keep a blog where I posted a thread every single day, and sometimes two. I never ran out of things to say. Now I have a writing group on Facebook, and every day I find an article to post, some cartoon or other, a quote on writing, and I will either pose a question or a challenge with it. For me, that stuff comes easy.

    Writing stories, if I just wait, one will come along, but I found that is very productive. If I use a prompt, makes the job simpler. Just tell me to produce a short story by such and such a date and I can do it. Don’t think I could do a novel in a month like some people, though.

      • Hi Katherine,
        Thanks so much for your comments. I know for some people this stuff comes easy. And for others of us, not so much. I guess this is why it’s taking me years to finish my novel. I’m a slow-going girl.
        And I couldn’t agree with you more about how unproductive it is to wait for the stories to come along. Who was it who said (I’m paraphrasing here), if you show up at your desk every morning, inspiration will know where to find you.

  4. Stuck!! exactly where I am right now as stuck as that bicycle in a flood of mud. will try some of your suggestions. thanks so uch Una

    • Hi Una,
      Thanks for checking in. I haven’t seen you or heard one of your poems for too long. I hope you get unstuck soon. Make mudpies of that muck.

  5. Thirty pre-written posts? Really? I suppose it depends on the nature of the blog. When I first began blogging in Scotland, it was so cool to capture the essence of my activities, experiences and feelings on a daily basis while fresh in my mind’s eye. One of the reasons for the blog was to let family and friends know how I was doing on my first trip abroad. If I had waited to publish after writing 30 posts, I’m sure folks would have wondered if I was alive, lost, ill, etc.! 🙂

    Sometimes my posts are simply recapping a time period while other posts are about a specific subject. Ideas and often entire paragraphs/posts start in my head and make their way to the keyboard. I think you did just fine today!

    • I know, Betty. I might be able to get a list together of 30 topics I’d like to write about… but 30 pre-written. When exactly would I do that? My goal, when I recommitted to my blog was to have fun with it, not make it be “work.” I’m still feeling that way. This is a playground I want to play in.
      Thanks for commenting.

Comments are closed.