I found this screen-capture from an Ask Me Anything Lin-Manuel Miranda held on his Twitter feed awhile back.
Mr. Miranda and I don’t write the same things; we don’t have a common style. But we do share an attitude toward writing, which only makes me love him more.
He doesn’t believe in writer’s block any more than I do.
So what do you do when you don’t know what to write? You write. Anything and everything. Just cover the page. “Bytes on disk” as a friend of mine used to say.
Sometimes the writers in my 90-day writing challenge tell me they can’t think of anything to write about. I tell them to write, “I can’t think of anything to write about” over and over again—like Bart at the blackboard in the opening credits of The Simpsons—until they’re so tired of writing that sentence, or sentences like it, that they finally let an idea break through.
Notice I didn’t say “…that an idea breaks through.” No, no—your inability to write is not the ideas’ fault. It’s your brain’s. It’s telling you a story about how you’ve gotten blocked. Or you don’t have any inspiration. And you—you’re accepting that story as true.
Well, stop it!
Write everything — it’s about to get meta in here
Yes—full disclosure—it’s past 7pm on Sunday, a day I was supposed to take off. Remember the “day of rest” concept? Yeah, me neither.
And yet dinnertime found me still at my desk, dealing with a balky computer and an as-yet-unwritten blog. Inspiration? You think I have inspiration?
But I do have a folder called:
I said a little prayer to the blog-idea gods and clicked it open: Voilà! Lin-Manuel Miranda to the rescue.
So I’m writing, bytes on disk, and hoping you find some valuable advice in here. If not from me, then for Pulitzer Prize-winning, MacArthur Grant-certified Genius Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Write everything. You’ll find something.