Coaxing Out the Masterpiece Within

Do you sometimes feel the desire to write but don’t know exactly what to write about? Join me as I sort through this very problem on the page—and come out on the other side victorious.


what to write about journal image

Excerpted from my lagoon blue “Ecosystems” journal on September 26, 2014

Writing As Therapy

I can tell this is going to be one of those “what to write about?” types of entries. Really, I’m just writing for the sake of it. I want this notebook to be useful, even if it’s just for the sake of taking a much-needed break from everyday life to simply write.

Even if I can’t think of what to say, the mere act of writing is therapeutic. For instance, it forces you to take your time. I can probably type close to 80 wpm on my computer keyboard [82 wpm at my last check from], which is good for capturing thoughts as fast as I can think of them! But writing with pen and paper in hand is an entirely different beast. It causes you to slow down and, thus, better process your thoughts.

Besides, I don’t have any particular thoughts right now that are racing to be dictated onto the page. Therefore, I can enjoy taking my time and leisurely strolling across the page.

Even if I can’t think of what to say, the mere act of writing is therapeutic.

- me

Writers Write

Writers write. It’s a simple fact. They even write when there’s nothing in particular to write about. Why? Because, to a writer, the act of writing itself is a journey that brings the joy of discovery along with it. By writing, you discover things that were buried in your subconscious, things you didn’t know were there waiting, screaming to come out and join you on the page.

This is what breeds fiction and storytelling. You just have to plunge in sometimes and meet new friends, new characters along the way. This causes them, like in any relationship, to trust you. And with that trust ultimately comes the telling of stories; not just telling stories to your reader but your newfound fictional “friends” telling their stories to you first.

Writers write, even when there’s nothing in particular to write about.

- me again

The Writer's Hammer and Chisel

I’ve heard the act of writing fiction compared to what Michaelangelo said about his process when crafting his magnificent sculptures. A story, like a sculpture, comes in an unrecognized, "nothing special" form. From there, you can see the finished work in all its glory, but you’re limited to working with its plain form and thus can merely try your best to reveal as much of it as humanly possible.

This process of chiseling away is not necessarily, I believe, in the initial writing of the story, novel, etc. Rather, it’s in the rewriting of it. Just as an artist must chisel away at the shapeless block of stone and marble, the writer edits and trims the excess away from the story, revealing, piece by piece, the glorious work underneath.

Even now, I didn’t know what to write about before I started this entry—or if I had anything to say worth writing about. But by sorting through my thoughts on the page, my mind ended up at a place of marvelous revelation. How sad if I hadn’t had the tools of pen and notebook—the writer’s hammer and chisel—in hand to begin the work!

All the same, even if nothing but empty words had been written down, it would have still been worth it. For, now, I am relaxed and calm, the sound of a bubbling water fountain near me, knowing that the writing itself is its own reward. All the rest is icing on the cake.

The writing itself is its own reward.

- guess who

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