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Jan 06, 2019 08:16:15

What to do when you don't know what to write

by @jasonleow | 552 words | 221🔥 | 259💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 221🔥
Total posts: 259💌
Total words: 104015 (416 pages 📄)

It's been one month into #200wad for me. And it's definitely been difficult maintaining this habit! There were more than a couple of occasions when I sit down and stare at the screen, clueless about what to write. I found some ways out of the writer's block, so thought I'll share what worked for me. YMMV, so would love to hear what works for you too! 


✍️ If you're stuck, don't sit there to think of something to write. Moving about helps. Go shower. Or use the toilet. Make tea. Just don't get distracted by TV or conversation. 

✍️ Create a routine and conducive environment for writing. Write at a specific time, particular space, with your tea/coffee in the morning, or after the kids are asleep. I tend to like writing first thing when I start my laptop before I start other work. Or at the end of the day, if I was busy in the morning.

✍️ Or (contrary to the above point) don't write with routine. Write wherever you are, on your commute to work, while standing in line for lunch, while taking a coffee break at the pantry. I like to do this when inspiration hits. That's when I...

✍️ Write out quick bullet points, outlines, rough sketches of posts in the spur of moment/inspiration, so that you can build on later. It's easier to flesh out something than to seed something from nothing.

✍️ Think of a long post that spans across a few 200-word posts, and write one part each day. Or write it all in one go (without editing) and edit-then-post over a few days.

✍️ On good days where you feel the flow, write more draft posts and save them for slump days. Maybe it feels like cheating because you didn't write that exact 200 words on that exact day, so what I do is I edit the pre-saved draft and send it out, and slowly take my time to write another 200 words draft for that day, without the stress of publishing before the deadline. I don't really enjoy rushing out a pointless piece just to keep the streak, so having drafts in queue helps.  

✍️ Make a list of stuff you wish to write more about and refer to it. I made mine when I started on 200wad, and constantly refer to it to get inspiration. 

✍️ If you aspire to write a book, write the book in public, 200 words at a time! A few of us are already doing that - @timsubiaco is writing The Ballerina, while @basilesamel is writing #publicbook.

✍️ Read what other writers are writing, and get inspiration from their posts. There were many occasions where I borrowed post titles, questions asked, or post format and gave my own spin to it.

✍️ Think about the last interesting conversation/argument you had during the day/week. Write down your thoughts about it.

✍️ Look back at interesting social media articles, tweets or posts that you shared on your feed, or commented on. Something must have made you act on the post. Flesh out that comment into a 200-word post.

✍️ Refer to Writing Prompts under Tools tab on the 200wad home page. Lots of interesting topics there!


What other tricks and tips do you use to keep the momentum going?


🔥 Day 31 of the #200wad challenge. 

  • 1

    @jasonleow Great tips. I keep my notepad open throughout the day and enter ideas that come to mind. My supply of posts is also coming together into a book, too.
    The Street Smart Mindset. Basile inspired many of us.

    Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Jan 06, 2019 14:15:15
    • 1

      @RealNegotiator nice!

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jan 06, 2019 16:05:09
    • 1

      @jasonleow Thanks :)

      Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Jan 06, 2019 19:36:22
    • 1

      @RealNegotiator interested in trying out the dedicated platform once it's out? I don't know when are you planning to release your book but it would be amazing if you tested the features I thought about :) We can chat about it in details on Slack by private messages

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Jan 06, 2019 23:11:34
    • 1

      @jasonleow @basilesamel
      Sure. I'll meet you on Slack.

      Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Jan 07, 2019 03:09:31
  • 1

    @jasonleow This is gold! Mind if I feature it in the Tools section? :) Thanks for sharing your tips

    Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Jan 06, 2019 10:35:31
    • 1

      @basilesamel sure!

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jan 06, 2019 16:04:09
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