What to write about

I dont’ know what to write.

So I should not write.

Do you write when you dont know what to write? Or when you don’t feel like writing?

Do you make yourself write? Or do you wait. Do you wait until you feel it again?

Sometimes people say it’s good to take a break. What if you could take a break for years? Would that be good for you?

Or maybe you’re just a little stuck.

What do you do when your stuck?

One time my brother got his hand stuck in a vending machine. This was sad. They had to call the fire department.

Another thing that is sad is my mom got lost last week.

I should not write personal things. Do you think we should not write personal things? I dont think we should because then a stranger could walk up to me and say, i heard your mom got lost and I’d feel sick inside because why do they know that? Why do they think can get to know that and then I think, oh wait, that’s my fault. I wrote that on a blog.

One time I wrote a personal essay about getting kissed upside down by a boy I thought liked me and then he never called me back. We met one night on the fourth of July and he kissed me and i thought that meant he liked me so then I was happy and I waited for him to call. When he didn’t call and didn’t call and didn’t call I realized that I just got played by an upside down kisser. I wrote an essay about that and how I kept thinking he was going to call. I turned that essay in to my workshop group in graduate school and after they all read it, the room fell silent.

Do you like to read the words the room fell silent?

The room fell silent because most of them were writing literary fiction about deep things and I waited for them to critique my upside down kissing episode. No one knew what to say because they felt sad for me. I said, it’s okay. And they said, it is okay. You know that right? You’re such a great girl and someone very nice will someday want to be your boyfriend. And I said, what?

I’ve been thinking about how we all have stories. We have important stories and we should spend time telling those stories. Why are we scared of each others stories? Why are we scared to tell them? Why do I feel safe telling them sometimes but other times not at all? Why is it easier to write things that are hard rather than say things that are hard? Why are we not like each other at all but almost exactly like each other if we really knew?

When you write, people find out things. Do you want them to find out things?

How do you decide what to write? How do you decide how to spend your time?

My mom used to tell me what to do. She was bossy. In a good way. Sometimes I wish she would tell me what to do. I wish she would tell me what to write. I wish she was my boss and I did what she told me to do and I could know that it was right because my mom was usually right.

I dont know what to write. I’m sorry.


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16 responses to “What to write about

  1. I think what you wrote was amazingly great for someone who didn’t know what to write.

    In doing NaNoWriMo, I’m getting more done on the days when I spend my non-writing (driving time, carpooling time, waiting for kids time) thinking about what I want to write when I get the chance to actually write. If I could write in the car, I’d get a lot more written. But I’d probably also crash.

  2. Ann Dee I loved this and it made me laugh. Which is good because all I get to do anymore is paint paint paint and not write. And then I’m reminded that you and Carol are out there and still making me laugh and it’s all okay.

  3. hmm. i’m thinking about this because often i feel like i don’t have much to say that anyone would find interesting to read anyway. maybe i’m justifying not writing. or maybe i’m scared to write something that people will think is pointless. i don’t know. i just know i hate that i’m not writing. but it’s the fifteenth almost and i haven’t even done a paragraph a day. i’m sorry. i really didn’t want to disappoint. you or me.

    • Shar. You never disappoint. Ever. You and I both need to be okay with what we can do. I think part of my problem is worrying about what I haven’t done. I should just be proud of what I have done. Blah blah to the rest.

      and they won’t think it’s pointless and also, nanowrimo can be whenever, ya know.

  4. ps. i loved what you said.

  5. This was beautiful. And, for the record, even an upside-down kiss by a boy, should’ve warranted a call. So you weren’t crazy or anything.

    I think it’s ok to not write when you don’t know what to write. And I think it’s ok to force yourself to write when you don’t know what to write.

  6. Dan

    I was like 5 when the vending machine episode happened. I put in a few pennies before I tried to claim what I thought was rightfully mine. Fire department is a huge exaggeration. Try the BYU security police or whatever they are. Rent-a-cops. And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

  7. Andrea

    I loved this post. It helps me to know that I’m not the only one feeling stuck. And I loved your thoughts about sharing stories.

    I have come to the conclusion this month that I suck at plotting. It’s making me really depressed. So I’m just writing my story in random order and hoping that eventually I can pull together a half-decent first draft. Part of my problem is that no matter what I try to do with a plot, I start second guessing myself, like, “Haven’t I read something like that somewhere before?” or “That just sounds too far-fetched,” or whatever. I don’t even let myself go there (or anywhere!), because I’m so worried about being unoriginal or just plain dumb. (Ha, ha, apparently I have some issues?) I think I stifle my own creativity by setting my inital expectations so high.

    Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that I’m trying hard to force myself to write, even though I’m feeling completely lost (and way behind my goal) at this point. Maybe I need to back away and get some perspective? I don’t know. I think I need to keep writing, even when I’m lost.

    • andrea – that’s my problem too! the whole plotting issue. i don’t let myself go anywhere because i’m so paranoid about copying or being lame or boring. and then guess what, i wrote a new scene, and my critique partner read it, and it was eerily similar to one of hers that apparently i’d read a year before. and i honestly remembered nothing of her scene. maybe life just comes in and out and sometimes what we write is kind of copying, and sometimes it might even be dumb or lame, but sometimes it can be brilliant or even a little great too. but in the end at least we’ve written something. anything. i’d rather do that than be the person who is still working on finishing the same novel they started ten years ago. because that is me. and it’s depressing. i think i need to learn how to keep writing.

    • I am the WORST at plotting. Not my favorite. I think random order is the best and then you need a friend or two to help you make sense of it at the end. or take a few months off before you look at it again.

      it’s so hard to know when to back off or when to force it. Ugh.


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