TK — what to write when you don’t know what to write

Journalists have a great shorthand for “I have no idea what belongs here, but something does.” When they plan to add more information later, they type TK, a funky abbreviation for “to come.”

When my writers worry that they won’t have enough material to fill their 15 minutes a day, I tell them to sit down at the keyboard and type:

I have no idea what to write about.

And keep typing that sentence until one of two things happens:

  1. The ding on the timer signals the end of your 15 minutes, or
  2. You get an actual idea.

I’ve never had to employ this trick myself, but I suppose there’s always a first time.

Coming back from what passes for a vacation in my overworked life, I found it difficult to tap back into work mode. Perhaps because I tried to do it on a Saturday. Well, hey—I’d been away from my office for 10 days. I was supposed to stay away two more just because the neighbors call it a “weekend”?

So my mind kept saying TK.

And I couldn’t find my focus. No matter how hard I tried.

TK, transparency

Two things I refuse to do with this TK state:

  1. Call it writer’s block
  2. Hide it.

Writer’s block doesn’t exist. I’ve written about that enough already.

But not every idea is a good idea; not every piece of writing will be brilliant. Case in point, today: I’m about 80% done with this blog and a good idea is still TK.

Sometimes my writers express amazement that I  can write “so well” (their words, not mine) every day. Well, I don’t. I mean, hellloooooo.

Apologies to my readers who’ve had to wade through this. I thought about tossing this post in the digital trash, but I think we can extract some value from it.

When your idea is TK, focus on the C. As in the lowest acceptable grade for us Type-A folks.

You don’t have to be perfect every time. In fact, you can’t—no one can. So just get it done. Get a C. And wake up again tomorrow and write some more.

  • mindset
  • writing