Things to Write About When You Can't Write Anything

When you are not feeling inspired, it’s extremely tough to find any kind of inspiration to write anything. You might feel like your creative juices are being held up by a dam of nothingness. You desperately seek a spark to come flying out of the creative ether but what you find is a black hole of nothingness staring back at you. Such dreadful situations are not exclusive to writers alone. Artists, photographers and musicians face them as well. On quite a few occasions, artists stare at a blank piece of paper for very long and can’t draw a single line. Photographers can walk for miles with their camera around their neck and return home without clicking a single photo that they like. Musicians spend hours in the studio and are unable to play a single new note when they encounter a songwriter’s block. So if you are a writer who is struggling to write because you can’t find any inspiration, reading this post will hopefully help you overcome your writer’s block. For this post, we will go through ideas that will help you write fiction as well as non fiction articles and blog posts.

Tips to help you write fiction by overcoming a writer’s block:

Whether you are looking to write a short story, flash fiction, or even a novel, writer’s block can strike you. However, with the help of the following tips, you can get your river of words flowing and find something to write when you can’t think of things to write about:  

Listen to a song for inspiration

A good way to find something to write about is listening to a song. All songs have a story. Not just folk songs that are hundreds of years old, but recent popular songs also have different types of stories associated with them. Did you know the story behind the Deep Purple hit Smoke on the Water? During the 70s, the band was scheduled to play a show in the Swiss town of Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. One night prior to their show, during a performance of Frank Zappa and the Mothers, a fan shot a flare gun and the whole venue was burned down. The next day, the smoke from the fire was floating all over Lake Geneva. That sparked the idea for the song and that’s what resulted in one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. 

And just like that, you have something to write about. Take whichever song that intrigues you or piques your curiosity. Listen to the song and sink your teeth into the lyrics. Try to figure out about the characters in the songs and the situations they are facing. Oh but keep in mind, don’t just recreate the song in prose form. Put your own twist to it, trying to imagine the circumstances and people in the song.

Relive and reinvent a childhood memory

Your own mind can give you things to write about. Take a walk down memory lane and think of a powerful and pivotal moment from your childhood, something that played a major role in shaping your future in some kind of way. Now, you can just write about it if it’s something very interesting and something you want to write about. However, you can also imagine if things had gone differently, for the better or for the worse. Instead of losing a race, you won it, instead of not asking your high school crush out for the prom, you did, instead of not leaning in for the first kiss, you actually went ahead and locked lips, and vice versa. How different would your life have been? How different would everything around you be?

Write about a person that you don’t know but see regularly

This will also help you when you can’t think of things to write about. We all have such people in our lives. The paper boy, the guy who cleans your streets, picks up the trash in the morning, drives your bus, the barista at the place where you have your coffee. You see these people everyday, but don’t really know much about them. Invent a story about them. Imagine how their life must be. Try looking at the world from their perspective. You can also imagine scenarios involving yourself with that person. What would happen if you went ahead and asked that cute barista out on a date? How would that scenario play out. Let your imagination run wild.

Imagine your pet as a human being

Pets can give you things to write about in more ways than one. Anthropomorphizing animals is something storytellers have done throughout the course of humanity. In fact in Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religion, a lot of the Gods are anthropomorphic. Giving animals some human characteristics and vice versa is something that comes very naturally to us. Most of children’s cartoons consist of anthropomorphized animals. Can you imagine Disney without Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck? 

Imagine your dog as a person and think how it will live its daily life. How would your pet hamster handle a business meeting? How will your pet parrot be as a used car salesman. 

New England Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman has written a children’s book where he has used anthropomorphic versions of himself and his teammates (the ‘goat’ in the book is called Tom by the way).

Write about your childhood career aspirations

Childhood dreams can give you great things to write about. Yes, you are a writer today, but that might necessarily not have been your dream job as a kid. You might have wanted to be a painter, a doctor, a scientist, an astronaut, an athlete or an actor at some point of time in your life. Whatever it is that you wanted to be, write about it. Imagine how your life would’ve been as one of those things. What kind of a professional soccer player would you have been? How would you have celebrated after scoring a goal? 

Find a writing prompt and get going

You can find a lot of things to write about when you go online. The Internet is an infinite cookie jar of ideas. There are numerous resources available online that provide lots of writing prompts for people struggling to find inspiration for their story. Just like everything else in life, some sources are better than others. If you are struggling to find the right resource, start with a social media page that gives writing prompts. You can try the following out:

Instagram Writing Prompts

The Time is Now (Poets & Writers)

Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts

Things to Write About for Blog Posts and Articles

So we covered the tips that will help you overcome a writer’s block while you are trying to write a story. However, all of the world’s writers are not just story writers. A lot of them also need to write a blog post or fill up content as per a calendar. The creative well for blogs can run dry as well. Writing prompts might not end up being very useful in that scenario. So here are some ways for you to create topics and churn out blogs even when you are in a writer’s funk. 

Find related topics using Google search

Google can give you things to write about. Some times, just having a vague topic in mind is not enough to help you get started. You also need to be sure of the way you would tackle the topic. In such scenarios, head over to Google and type the keywords related to your topic. Using the incognito mode in this scenario might be helpful since the results won’t be influenced by your previous browsing history and you can write the blog in a really fresh way. The Google autocomplete feature will also be helpful in such a scenario. You probably ended up on this page through Google itself. Since I haven’t officially welcomed you here yet, I will do it now. I hope you have found the information useful so far. Keep on reading for more.

Zoom in on the details 

There can be multiple things to write about in a given blog post. Sometimes, a general topic like ‘How to cook chicken’ might contain quite a few other topics for you to write about. Go through the post that you have written and you might be able to write entire posts on topics such as “How to grill chicken” or “How to cook chicken in an Indian way”. 

Reach out to your readers

If you have a mailing list, reach out to your readers and ask what they would like to read about next. You can also create a survey using online tools such as Survey Monkey and ask your readers. You can also use your social media handles to ask people. Your readers can give you a lot of things to write about.

Enter the Twitter-sphere

Sift through the trending stories, hashtags and posts on Twitter. See what people are talking about and you might find a stroke of inspiration there.

Write about your failures

No one in the history has started their journey on the top and just stayed there. Everyone has ups and downs. No person goes through life without encountering struggles. You can write about your struggles in life. Failures are a great thing to write about. When readers read about the times that you have failed, they might even be able empathize with you, enhancing your relatability. If you don’t want to write about your own failures, write about the times when big brands failed. Like how some controversial ads led to a drop in the revenue of the companies that released them.

Write about popular things in a different way

A good example of this is the Elseworlds series of DC Comics where they take popular comic book characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and put them in unusual settings. You can do the same with your best performing articles. Good traffic means that more people want to read more about the given topic. Try covering the same topic from a different angle or provide new and interesting information. That way you can have multiple things to write about.

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