One of the hardest things to capture as a writer is what you’re passionate about to keep writing consistently. Yeah, I’m talking about writers block.
There are literally hundreds of books on writers block out there. Seriously, I searched Amazon and I came up with about 400 results. Not all of those are books though. Several of them are journals rather than reading material.
For me, reading about solving writers block isn’t something that would help. The only way to really prove you don’t have writers block is to write. But, what do you write about? That’s what I want to talk about today.
Here’s a list of things you can use to approach the “what do I want to write about” question.
To start, here are some questions geared to get you thinking about your passions.
- What do I love to hate?
- What do I talk about for way too long?
- Who was the subject of my last rant?
- What are my friends [or family] annoyed with me for talking about?
- How did [x] happen? [where x is something you keep thinking about]
- What was the most interesting thing I’ve heard recently?
- What was the last petition I signed?
- Who is my least favorite character of all time?
- If I list everything I do in a day, what gets me frustrated?
- What did I search most recently and why?
Another thing you could pick instead of passions is something random. Here are some prompts for finding a random thing to write about.
- Close your eyes.
- Turn around once or just shake your head a few times.
- Open your eyes.
- First thing you see is the subject.
- Plug the word of the day into a rhyme dictionary and pick the third rhymed word.
- That’s your word to either use as inspiration or directly.
- If it doesn’t rhyme, use the word itself.
- Grab a book, or open your browser’s last history page.
- Roll a 100 sided die and count to that word.
- If it’s too high to count, like 100 or 99,
- count the number of words per line
- do a little math (your number divided by words per line) to find out how many lines down your number would be.
- What was the last thing you did physically?
- Count how many pencils you can see.
- then find a list of emotions
- count down the list the number of pencils you counted.
- Use that emotion.
If none of these prompts speak to you, you can roll a die using the dice roller I linked to earlier and a coin flipper. If the coin is heads, use the first list, if it’s tails, use the second. Then, roll the die and see what number prompt you get. If you get over 5 on the second list, pop up to the first list and use that number from there. If you don’t use a 10 sided die, you won’t get the last four prompts for the first list.
Once You Have a Subject
After you have a subject matter, writing could still end up being hard to do, so here’s how I deal with that. For me, it’s less about writing and more about accepting.
I often end up with writers block because I want to write something amazing, and I have to remind myself that failing isn’t a problem. I don’t have to write gold every time. So, if you’re feeling that same tension, I challenge you to write something bad. Give yourself the freedom to write poorly so you’re actually writing, and then do it a bunch. The more you take the trash out, so to speak, the more you’ll hone certain skills, like recognizing your own faults.
For me, I tend to use too many ‘s’ noises. I hop right to metaphors when I shouldn’t. I get a little preachy sometimes. I often change metaphors too fast. I also like to write poems with a mopey tone, and use obscure references that no one gets or that I invented.
I only know that because I’ve written bad poetry on purpose. I do it for a few reasons.
- It helps me identify what I think is bad.
- It shows off faults to look for in the future.
- Sometimes bad poetry can be made into a good theme.
On that last note, some of the poems that I wrote to be bad on purpose actually turn out pretty well. They need to be re-written, but they give me something to write about and that gives me focus. Once I have something I want to say, writing comes much easier.
That’s why I call it finding your passion rather than getting rid of writers block. We’re not removing a block on our creativity, we’re creating a riverbed to encourage our creativity to flow in the direction we want. In a sense, our creativity can stagnate in a lake and until it busts free, we’re stuck with the same ideas we wear at continuously. We have to find or create a new riverbed of passions to move away from our old beaten home.