Writing for the Waste Basket

I asked my husband what I should blog about today.

“Write about people like me who would love to write something but don’t know what to write about.”

“Well, there are tons of writing prompts…”

“No, writing prompts are lame.” (I agree.) “What if you just don’t have an idea to start from?”

As an editor, I generally come in when the roots of the story are already there. The words and ideas are already pretty well developed and they just need cleaning up, reorganizing, and finessing. So I was honestly a bit stumped about where to start with this question. But here’s what I came up with:

  • Write out your thoughts in a journal to purge your mind of distractions.
  • Write totally derivative, trope-laden, unoriginal prose.
  • Write utterly banal, embarrassing silliness.
  • Write a tiny tweak into a familiar story and follow the curves of that plot twist to see where it leads you. (The fanfic method.)
  • Write the one tiny scene you have in your mind that you have no idea where it can possibly go after this one scene.

The keyword here? WRITE.

You can’t be a writer without actually writing. (I know! Shocking, right?) But even if you write stuff that you’re never going to use, you got some words on the page. It’s more than you had before, and you’ve gotta start somewhere, even if you don't have that brilliant idea yet that you can sustain for 50K+ words.

You have to be willing to write mountains of crap to hone your craft before you can create a masterpiece. Fear of writing something that isn’t great to start is going to try to hold you back. Don’t let it.

Writing begets writing. So get writing!