Tag Archives: can’t think of anything to write about

At least I’ve got this

I get so worried that I won’t be able to come up with anything to write about. This anxiety is most acute when I open up a brand new Word document, I hit the full screen viewing mode so as to block off any other stimuli, and the result, for a second anyway, before I type out the first word, is me staring at this glowing white rectangle, just pure LCD light positioned not even a foot away from my face.

Maybe that’s the source of a lot of my worry, that I have to stare at this screen. Is it any different than staring at a blank piece of paper? I like to think that it’s different, that if I were living ages ago and I made up my mind to write something, that there’d be a lot less pressure for me not to waste my time. If a minute goes by and I haven’t thought of anything to write about, that’s fine, that’s just a minute. But two minutes, five minutes, my eyes are already starting to hurt from staring into this flat screen light bulb.

Ten minutes and I’m starting to sweat. The feeling that I’m getting when I can’t come up with anything is somewhat familiar. I love to draw, but I never really pursued it like I did writing. To a big extent, I was never able to get past that fear of a blank page.

I guess fear is a strong word, I don’t want to come across as dramatic or anything. But even as a little kid, I’d get out my crayons or colored pencils or whatever, I’d lay everything out just right, and then I’d wind up staring at a piece of white, not really sure how to get going. Invariably I’d wind up drawing some version of Spider-Man, a kind of tic, like instead of facing that fear, that feeling like I’m not good enough for the page, I just put down anything.

It’s still one of my go-to drawings, Spider-Man. It’s one with the muscle memory of my right hand. I could probably draw a pretty decent Spider-Man if I were blindfolded. Which isn’t really saying anything, not about drawing, or making anything. It’s just a way of dealing with the fact that a lot of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, or even what I’m supposed to be doing.

I guess writing about not having anything to write about is kind of like the written equivalent of those Spider-Man doodles. It’s a trick that I fall back on way too often. For every one of these posts that make it up on this blog, there are at least five or ten that thankfully never see the light of day. But it’s just something that I have to work through. Often it’s mandated by time constraints. For example, I have to work a double shift at the restaurant today, and so in order to get any writing done, I had to wake up early, sit myself down, commit myself to moving my fingers for a fixed amount of time.

Talk about pressure, I don’t have a moment to stare out the window, let my mind wander. No, I’ve got to get going. If these two hours pass by and I don’t have any work to show for it, it’ll drive me nuts the rest of the day. It’ll make me question whether or not I have what it takes to be a professional writer.

It’s better than nothing, that’s what I have to tell myself about writing like this, that I’d rather have something shitty than nothing at all. And I guess I can live with that, knowing that I at least made use of my time, that I forced myself to sit down and crank out something tangible, something that I can look back on and maybe use as motivation for a future date when I struggle to get words down on the page.

I’ll think, well, I did it then. Certainly whatever I put down now can’t be any worse than that. Right? And that’s something. It’s definitely not nothing. At the very least, whatever happens with the rest of my day, at least I’ve got this.


I can’t think of anything to write about. I had the whole day off today, I got up really early in the morning, totally committed to getting a bunch of writing done, but I’ve just been stuck here in this chair, unable to make sense of the sheer amount of time I’ve been sitting here not getting anything done. I don’t know how to turn it on. This happens sometimes. It’s incredibly frustrating.


On my really good days, I’ll have too many ideas, not enough time to turn all of those wild thoughts into actual stories. But then today, man, I’m just drawing a total blank. Even getting through this sentence is torture. It’s like, this is an absolute last resort, I wind up doing it about every month or so, my bank of ideas will be completely empty, and so I’ll force myself to write something like this, something about not having anything to write about, just to get it out of me, just to get past whatever it is that’s clogging up the idea pipes in my head.

Idea pipes, that was kind of creative, I guess. It was different at least. Aside from that phrase, all of my thoughts today have been very boring. It’s like there’s a skeleton crew manning my thoughts, permitting only the most basic of impulses and instincts, like going downstairs to make myself another snack, or drinking another cup of coffee.

It always happens on my days off too. If I’m working, I have to leave for the restaurant at around four, and so there are always these two really productive hours right before I have to head out the door, it’s like I can feel each second ticking away, and so, I don’t know, maybe it’s the pressure, maybe my thought process is sort of jolted into action.

Holy shit, I’m not even making any progress on this. I can’t believe I’m only like halfway through. What am I going to write about for another three or four more paragraphs? Earlier in the day I used this app that I bought to shut off the Internet for a preordained amount of time. I set the timer for two hours, thinking, OK, this will clear my head of any distractions, I’ll be less likely to waste time if I can’t think about everything else I could be doing online.

And as soon as clicked it on, I started to get really tired, like I tried writing out some writing exercises, but I was falling asleep midsentence. I thought, OK, maybe a little siesta will be just the trick into rebooting my imagination. So I went to lay down, and when I woke up, it was dark out, I was freezing. I heard this timer go off on my computer, it was the app, the two hours had expired. Was that my brain’s way of punishing me for trying to deny it its Internet? It was like, fine, you don’t want to go online? Here you go, two-hour nap.

At least I’m past the halfway point here. Whereas at the beginning, I couldn’t imagine ever getting to all the way down here, at least now I know I’m going to finish it. But at what cost? I mean, this whole thing is basically unreadable. And it’s going to be even worse, weeks from now when it’s time to give this another read through, to put it up on the blog, I’ll think, Jesus, what the hell is this garbage? But you know, trying to get something up every day, sometimes I don’t have the luxury of being so selective. That puts way too much pressure on the writing process, if I start getting too picky about what’s good and what’s bad, I’ll eventually think everything’s bad, that nothing’s worth being posted, it’ll just spiral worse and worse.

No, I think it’s good, to put something absolutely terrible up here every once in a while. It’s good for me, not for anybody else. At least I know it’s terrible going in. It’s not like thinking I’m putting up something great only to read it back later and go, oh man, this is awful, why did I think it was so good? No, I’ll put this up, I’ll do it on a Sunday when people are less likely to be online, I’ll hope that nobody ever reads it, and I’ll go on with my life, comfortable in the knowledge that I’m OK with polluting the Internet with another seven hundred or so words of illegible nonsense. And hopefully tomorrow I’ll get at least one creative thought, like that one time I wrote about being a space waiter. Man, that was a good one. I have no idea where that came from.

I can’t think of anything to write about

It’s been a while since I’ve sat at the computer and not been able to think of anything to write about. During this blog’s first six months, I used to have that problem all the time. My solution, mostly because I didn’t have enough content to really get something posted every day, was that I’d write about not having anything to write about.

It works, generally, if only to get words on the page. I haven’t done it in a while though, I’d like to think because I’m getting better at writing, that every since I started this blog over a year and a half ago, I’ve figured out how to get my brain to come up with something new.

But, I don’t know, lately I feel like I’m back to where I started, like I sit down at the computer and my brain is empty. At first it wasn’t a big deal. I had so many of these blog posts saved up that if I miss a day here and there, it’s really not a huge loss. But after a while my surplus began to diminish.

And then my computer got stolen over the summer and I lost like maybe thirty posts or so. Ever since then I’d say I have about six or seven days worth of material at any given time. And now recently I’m back to not being able to come up with anything to write about, and so instead of writing, I’m on the Internet, I’m watching TV. There’s so much TV to watch, it’s ridiculous. I’m watching Breaking Bad, each episode an hour, each session of TV watching not really feeling complete unless I’ve watched two or three episodes.

I don’t think the nature of distraction has changed. There’s always going to be more good TV out than I have time to watch. The Internet is constantly hogging a huge amount of my attention. But it’s just frustrating. I’ve been doing this every day for around a year and a half now. I know that it can be done. I know that I’m more than capable of churning these things out.

So it kills me, it drives me crazy when I sit here and stare at the screen and I can’t think of anything at all. I had off from work yesterday and today. I was looking forward to everything I’d be able to get done. Usually it’s this mad rush to get up in the morning, eat, write, and go running, all before I have to be in the restaurant at five.

But yesterday I didn’t wind up getting out of bed until close to noon. And then I kept telling myself, well, I have all day, there’s no need to rush. So I watched some TV. That turned into a nap on the couch. The next thing I know it’s late at night, I’m still sitting here at this computer not having done anything, telling myself that the next day would be better.

And today was better. I got some writing done. Some. I should just take it easy and not stress out, it’s not helping anything really. Sometimes I need to do this, I just need to write, to not be afraid to write stupid, boring pieces about not knowing what to write about. Because I’ve been here before and I’ve gotten past it.

This is all coming off as way too dramatic, but I’m trying to think of a way to at least end this without just abruptly stopping. I always find that endings of anything are the hardest part to figure out. I’ll be so satisfied with what I’ve already put down, and then I get to the end and I can’t think of an ending. It’s the same with titles. Jeez, it’s like, trying to come up with a line to summarize everything, I can totally see why they hire people dedicated to copywriting, to solely looking to come up with something nice.

I guess I can’t think of an ending either. So here it is. I hope nobody reads this, it’s so incredibly boring. I’m saying that as I put it on the Internet. A blog post about absolutely nothing. Whatever, it buys me another day, right?

Eight to ten paragraphs

It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. I’ve been putting this off for as long as I could, and I don’t think I can put it off any longer. I mean, I could, but then I’d be bone-dry, totally out of blog posts. There’s almost nothing left. So I’ve got to get down to business. I’ve got to start writing, and I’m not going to stop writing until I’ve got a whole blog post here, something that, well, and I think I’ve said this like twelve times already, but something that, if you came into this room right now, you’d look at the computer, and you’d be too far away to actually read anything written on the screen, but you’d see the writing, you’d say to yourself, “Oh wow, Rob’s writing right now. And it looks pretty serious. I’ll come back later.”

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And I’d see you coming in, in fact, I’d have made a big noise, maybe dropped a stack of books on the floor, with the intention of getting you to stand up, come into the room to see what the noise was all about, but, like I said last paragraph, you’d look at the computer screen, and look, I’m already two paragraphs deep here, how long would you stand there watching me write? Two, three more paragraphs? You’d be transfixed, you’d think, man, that’s a lot of typing. It looks even more serious that it looked before.

And, again, even though I’d be pretending to ignore you, standing there, muttering stuff to yourself about the seriousness at which I’m going about my business, I’d be more focused on you standing there watching me write than actually writing whatever it is I’m writing right now. Because, look at this, three paragraphs and I haven’t really gotten at anything yet. And so I don’t want you to ever really read any of this stuff, I just want you to look at it, to look at all of it, all of these words, day after day, just think of me toiling away here, say to yourself again, “How does he do it? Where does he get all of these words from?”

Because if you actually took the time to sit here and read this, you’d be like, what, he’s just going to keep writing about how many paragraphs he’s writing? It’s four by the way, so far, you know, hopefully I’ll have eight to ten by the time I’m done here. And again, if you do happen to be reading all of this, I apologize. Well, it’s only a half apology, really, because I’ve told you already, this is more like landscape writing. You know, like a landscape painting. You’re not going to get up close and examine each brushstroke, no, you take a few steps back, it’s a huge painting, this is a huge blog post, you look at it, you go, “Wow!” and then you move on to the next one.

And so, to start off this fifth paragraph of words here, I’d like to say that, if you’re looking for something a little more concise, well, there’s always Twitter. And please, feel free to follow me on Twitter. But again, I caution you, don’t take individual tweets as meant for individual consumption. More often than not, I’ll just start tweeting individual sentences, beefing up the tweet count, making it look like I’m super busy, it’s the same with my Facebook posts minus the whole character count limit you have to worry about on Twitter.

Just don’t even bother. Follow me on Twitter, but don’t read the tweets, because if you see a lone tweet having something to do with a sixth paragraph, it won’t make any sense, it’s out of context, you’re supposed to be reading them all together, and what I mean by that is, not really reading them at all, so you know, you can see the paragraph breaks, maybe I put like an image somewhere in there that I stole from Google Images. It’s about the whole.

Which is, I mean to say, that the whole isn’t about anything. Just … just look at it. That’s it. These blog posts are great for looking at. Like if you’re sitting in the living room with someone in your family, I don’t know, your husband or wife, and you don’t feel like listening to them or talking to them, just pull up one of these blog posts. You don’t have to read it, you just keep it on the screen. Whoever it is that’s sharing the room with you that you’re trying to ignore, they’ll see you, they might see this wall of text, they’ll think, wow, you’re really reading, huh. That’s a lot of reading to do. And they’ll respect that, you reading, they’ll see this, it’ll look serious, you’ll look serious, you won’t be bothered, feel free to stare off into space, get some thinking done. Seven paragraphs by the way. I could force it to eight, I know that I said eight earlier, I actually said eight to ten, but whatever, this is enough. Right? This looks serious enough. I don’t need to go any further, right?

Just another one of those days where I can’t think of anything interesting to say

I bought this book of writing exercises. Whenever I get to the point where I can’t think of anything to write about, like past the point where I start writing stuff about not having anything to write about, you know, after I’ve already written multiple pieces about not being able to think of something, anything, I’ll whip out this book and do a writing exercise. So I already did one, because I was struggling for something, anything to write about. And I felt, OK, I did it, I got the juices flowing, let’s get to work here. And nothing. I’m at the end of this paragraph and nothing. Jesus.

I really wish I knew how to turn it on, because sometimes it’s just on. I don’t even know how it happens. I’ll just sit down and it’s as if somebody else is writing through me. But then there are days like this where I’ve literally just been staring at the screen, hoping for something to talk about, anything, come on, please. In the book of writing exercises that I bought, the whole idea is to just keep going, even when you don’t have anything, and through constant movement of the fingers or whatever it’ll eventually click. Something has to click.

My jaw has been clicking lately. It was like all of the sudden I couldn’t close my jaw anymore without really forcing it shut, and there would always be a lot of jaw clicking. So I went to the dentist and he assured me that I was grinding my teeth in my sleep. And I assured him that it’s not while I’m sleeping, but that I’m doing it while I’m awake. I just always do. I clench my jaw, tight, especially while I’m sitting at the computer, hoping that I’ll make use of my free time, really just desperate to get some of these blog posts done, because I’ve set up this routine, this daily thing, that I can’t miss one day, and so if I don’t keep up with the writing I’ll be in a bad spot. And yeah, my jaw right now is really tight.

My dentist equated all of that jaw clenching with a body builder who worked out too much. He claimed that my jaw muscles were overbuilt. He suggested Botox to paralyze the muscles. Don’t worry, he told me, it’ll only cost one thousand dollars. Gee, that’s it? “Thanks a lot doc, let me think about it for a while,” I told him. “OK, think about it,” he said, “but do you want me to schedule you in for an appointment just in case you decide to go for it?” I see what you’re doing there doc. Stroking my ego, comparing my jaw to a bodybuilder’s jaw, penciling me in for an appointment that I clearly didn’t express too much interest it.

I clench my jaw when I sit there not being able to come up with anything to write about. I also tap my legs violently. I think tap isn’t really a good word, because it’s not violent enough. It’s not stomping. Whatever, I guess tapping is OK. But it’s so fast, like the table moves. And it doesn’t really help me write. You know what it’s like, it’s this staring at the screen, trying to fish for an idea. And when nothing comes up, after a while the only thing my brain is thinking about is the lack of ideas, and it eventually turns into a physical sensation, a discomfort, and the best way to relieve it, some of it anyway, is to start tapping and clenching. And you know what else I do? I’ll shift positions in my chair over and over again until my back hurts.

If I can’t think of anything to write about, pretty soon the dentist is going to be the least of my concerns. My back’s just going to get worse, I’ll have to go see a chiropractor. He’ll be like, “Wow, you are so strong and well-built.” And I’ll be like, “Really? Go on …” And he’ll start in on the pitch, telling me how awesome I am, but to a fault, so that I’ll need to start coming in regularly for whatever it is chiropractors do.

I don’t know how chiropractors exist. Everything I’ve heard about them tells me to stay away. One time I was in the hospital waiting for somebody and I overheard the guy next to me telling the doctor about what his chiropractor told him and the doctor cut him off, “Listen. Chiropractors are not real doctors. Never go to a chiropractor!” And for some reason that really stuck in my head. Plus, I’ve never met a chiropractor. I’ve met doctors. I’m met veterinarians. I’ve met tons of professionals from a lot of different job sectors. But no chiropractors.

Anyway, I didn’t write about anything, but I got a whole blog post out of it. Somebody once told me something about quality vs. quantity, but I don’t think I was paying attention, because I don’t remember what they were trying to tell me about the two, what point they were trying to make.