I Don't Know What To Write

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

When I taught writing to college students, I often had them start our discussions with a few minutes of free writing, and I always gave them this instruction a la Natalie Goldberg.

Keep your hand moving. If you don’t know what to write, write ‘I don’t know what to write’ until you do.

The idea is that if you keep moving the physical act will eventually lead you to words. It works.  Try it if you want. I’ll wait.

Today, I feel like I need to write, “I don’t know what to write” again and again (but don’t worry, I’ll spare you).  I’ve been putting a lot of energy and thought into the revisions for Plantation Jesus, and I’m reading a ton. But today, I was just kind of at a loss for what to say here.

So I’m doing the blogging version of keeping my hands moving and just admitting that I’m feeling a little parched for ideas at the moment.  The book is partially responsible since I’m giving my best energy there right now, but there’s also something going on with me about blogging.

Now, I love blogging. Or maybe I should be more precise and say that I love the connections that come through blogging, that I love the discipline it gives me to write something publicly every week, that I love the things it has helped me think and work through as a writer.

But I’ve been writing about writing here for almost seven years, and some days, I feel like I’m out of new things to say.  You ever feel that way on your blog? Or in your life maybe? 

I’m weighing what to do about this feeling. Right now, obviously, I’m just riding it out on the status quo train because, well, that seems wisest. But it may be that I decide to let this part of my public writing life go and just do bi-weekly notes to you all via email.  (If you want to get those, be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter at the top right of this page.)

For now, though, tell me, what would it be helpful for you to read here on the blog if I keep it going? What topics? What stories? What tips about writing would be meaningful to you? Perhaps you will spark some ideas for me.

No matter what I decide here, I want you to know that I appreciate your faithfulness in reading what I write, in supporting the work I do, and in sharing your travails and triumphs of the writing life with me.  Truly.


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