Not sure what to write next? Sometimes the idea is the reward for showing up.

Last week, I wrote about the power of an idea as its ability to get you to the page. But what about those times when you're not sure what to write next? Or you just don't feel like writing? One of my clients is writing a book, and she recently experienced a few days of inactivity. As part of our check-ins, she was going to email me to say that she hadn't written. And then, even though she didn't feel like it, she wrote. Here's the email she sent me instead:

"I had no inspiration but by the time my fingers hit the keys I had this little tiny inkling and it just opened up into something new I hadn’t thought about."

 

THE SIMPLE ACT OF SHOWING UP CAN RESULT IN IDEAS YOU MIGHT NOT DISCOVER OTHERWISE.

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Yet it can feel uncomfortable to write without knowing where the story is going to go. Maybe your day job has trained you to think things through or be clear on the end result. Maybe you like assurances that you'll create something worthwhile. Maybe you just aren't sure it will work, or you're afraid of wasting time.

Here's the thing: this approach to writing is thoughtful and methodical. It's not haphazard or reckless. You're showing up. You're putting your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). And then, you're listening.

What comes to mind? Where does it lead you?

It's an actual process, and it creates results. It's just a new process, which means it takes some getting used to. But you know what? Once you do, it's FUN. As this same writer had to say:

"The most fun I have is in seeing where the story goes. To see what comes out of my head when I just let the words flow and I’m not forcing or grasping...

"There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from just writing, just showing up. Writing even when you aren’t in the mood. But, the fun and adventure and excitement comes when I am discovering and following the seed of an idea. Sometimes, like this morning, I had to just show up to even get to that seed. It started with just one sentence and then 40 minutes later I had to stop and was late for work and I was just beaming and I realized, this is it! This is me being a writer!"

This is the kind of thing that makes me so HAPPY to read. (Even the part about being late to work... because it means she's writing!)

 

RELINQUISHING THE NEED TO CONTROL THE STORY OR KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT OPENS THE DOOR TO A NEW KIND OF WRITING PROCESS: ONE THAT'S FUN.

 

So try putting it into practice. Even if you don't feel like writing, put 15 minutes on the timer. Release the need to write something good. Think of the first thing that comes time mind, and go.

When you do, let us know what you discovered in the comments below.