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.

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.


Write better when you write more often. Join my 5-day writing challenge: Write for 15 minutes a day and I’ll donate your registration fee to a global literacy nonprofit. More info and registration link here.

 


Also published on Medium.

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