Subject Matter

Sometimes we sit down to write and can't think of anything to write about. Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

It's true, isn't it? Sometimes ideas for writing flow fast and furious.  Have you noticed this often happens when you're in the midst of something entirely unrelated to writing - like mopping the floor, walking the dog, taking a shower?  Times when it's hard to get your hands on a pencil and paper to jot those ideas down.  Finally, having stolen those precious few minutes we talked about last week, you sit down before the blank screen and nothing comes to mind.


Keep a list of writing ideas and prompts in the back of your notebook or on a separate document in the writing folder on your computer.  These can be ideas you've come up with on your own during those times when the muse is working overtime, or prompts from favorite writing books or websites.  Don't spend too much time reading the list - just pick an idea and start writing for 10 minutes.  You'll be surprised what happens.

Here's a list to get you started, courtesy of one of my favorite writing books, Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg:

  1. Begin with "I remember."  Make a list of small memories, or fall into one large memory.  Don't be concerned with whether the memory that first occurs to you happened 10 minutes or 10 years ago.  Delve into it and see what develops;
  2. Describe your morning routine in as much detail as possible.  Make the reader feel as if they've been there with you;
  3. Visualize a place you really love and write about it so the reader will understand why you love it;
  4. Write about learning to do something you thought you'd never master but did;
  5. Open a book of poetry, pick a line, write it down, and then continue writing, in prose or poetry;
  6. Write about leaving - leaving home, leaving a relationship, leaving the coffee shop yesterday morning.