Mar 15, 2010

So You Think You Have Nothing To Write About!

So You Think You Have Nothing To Write About – Think Again!

I hate negativity, I really do, and I make no apologies for avoiding negative people like the plague. When I see the black cloud descending, I leg-it!
But as much as I hate negativity in other people, I absolutely loath it in myself. And, as a writer, I found that negativity – the daemon it is – has the audacity to voice its unwanted opinions about my chosen profession from time to time.

On one particular occasion, the detrimental whispers were suggesting that I had nothing to write about. Imagine – me – the mouth of the south with nothing to say! I think not!
But it serves to prove just how powerful the voice of negativity can be when it gets a hold. Indeed, if you give the infernal wagon an inch and it will run a 26mile marathon on you. Within seconds, I had an appalling list of detrimental thoughts throwing in their sixpence worth:

What was I going to write about? Who was I to think I had anything worth saying to anyone? What had I done in my life that was worth talking about? Where were my ideas for articles, books, columns, going to come from?
And it went on, and on, and on. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, then fear rose its ugly head to say hello – plunging me into a downward spiral of misery and despair.

It stopped me dead in my tracks, but thankfully, I had experience with the said daemon.

I have learned that when negative carp starts I need to devise a plan, and rapidly, otherwise I end up in the YO-OH-ME mode. Yo-oh-me leaves me, all alone in my canoe, (metaphorically speaking) the weight of the world firmly planted on my shoulders as I row down the Amazon through a dense fog singing yo-oh-me, yo-oh-me: its haunting echo lasting longer than my image as I disappear into the mist with no hope of ever returning.

I went for a walk to rid myself of the despondency that was settling in.

20 minutes later - eureka – I would write a list, a HUGE list of things that had happened to me in my life. Draw from the University of Life was my plan. Excitement replaced negativity as I realized writing down endless things I had experienced in my life would have a double whammy. One, it was going to kick the notion that I was ever going to run out of things to write about firmly in the butt, and two, I could use it when I was editing. Yes, I said editing, I'll explain in a minute.

The List - Things I can write about:
Being a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a lover, a teenager, giving birth, post natal depression, pmt, christenings, communions, conformations, debs, weddings, grief, betrayal, first day at work, playschools, primary school – to third level, football, sons, daughters, dyslexia, buying a house, building a house, decorating, housework, painting, writing, eating disorders, weight watchers, exercise, living in the country, trips to the city, holidays, faith, shopping, fear, mothers day, fathers day, flowers, my love of candles and music, etc, etc, etc.

Then I broke my list down into particular memories under each heading. I now have a folder on my laptop where I write memories and ideas for stories, and it’s growing all the time. This also helps to keep the head clear. And not only that – when I am editing, I look at each chapter and at the list to where I experienced something similar in my life – connect with the emotions I felt at the time and then rewrite from the heart. When you write from the heart it’s far more powerful!

I highly recommend everyone spend time developing a list for when negativity, or writers block, comes knocking on the door!

With a smile

Ita x


  1. Great idea Ita! Must start on my list asap, when the "I have nothing to write about" lands on my doorsteps:)

  2. Thanks Olive - yes that demon pays a visit to us all from time to time eh! Great to hear from you. With a smile for you

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  5. So sorry Ben Hutchins I deleted both of our comments when I was trying to edit what I had replied. My apologies and thank you so much for your comment. Technology - wonderful when it works the way you want it to eh Ben.

    With a smile

  6. Hi Ita (with an I and not an E)...
    Love this post. Totally agree with you about negativity.. I run a mile also it.. which at the moment in this country means I am running a lot!

    Anyway - great idea to make a list of what to write about. I'll be back!
    Drop over to My Kitchen Table sometime - kettle always on!