What to Write About When You Can’t Think of Anything to Write About

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Are you a writer without anything to write about? It happens, homie. Some days, you just don’t have anything. You’ve scoured the deepest recesses of your mind and skimmed through all of your favorite news outlets, but nothing tickles your fancy, and you need your fancy tickled to work.


You’ve gotten to the point where you’ve literally surveyed your surroundings, looking at flowers and trees and wondering if they will provide some eureka moment of inspiration. Chances are, they won’t. Sometimes you got nothing. And that’s OK. Every day won’t be a winner winner, chicken dinner. Straws are meant to be grasped, but even they can elude you at times.

I’m the kind of writer for whom ideas hit when I’m driving or showering or at the most random of moments. Or somebody will say something to me and then [light bulb] I’m off to the races. But I also have those moments of nothingness. It’s why I have to leave my house to do work. The longer I stay indoors, the more difficult it usually is for me to come up with things to write about. And I work with a large team at The Root now; for the most part, if it’s meant to be covered, it’s being covered.

So what do you do when you need to write something and you don’t have anything to write about? What do you do when the news just ain’t newsing like it usually does? Here are a couple of suggestions from me to you:

1. What’s your absolute favorite thing on the planet?

For me, it’s music. Usually I can default to something music related—an ode to an artist here, a list of songs or artists there. Music is the great deliverer of ideas. But for you, maybe it’s crocheting. Or cooking. Or hiking. More than likely, there’s an article in your soul about that thing you love that hasn’t been written because you haven’t written it.

2. What’s something interesting that’s happened to you?

I’m an experience person. I’m just as likely to write about something mundane and attempt to turn it into something interesting as anybody else. Seinfeld isn’t my favorite show, but I appreciate the show’s premise as a way of doing business. Life keeps lifing, and I promise you that there are people out there dealing with or experiencing the same things you are.


3. Lists, lists, lists!

Some people abuse lists. But a list is something you can put together that gives folks something to argue about. Is Hotel Rwanda the best movie set in Rwanda? I have no idea. Rank them. Movies starring Meg Ryan, ranked from best to worst? Has it been done? Probably. Did you do it with your own ranking and reasoning? Nope. Do that. Greatest TV dads of all time? Talk about something you can argue about all day, every day. It’s Charles Ingalls, by the way. Fight me.


4. Find a new take on something everybody’s talking about.

That might be difficult, but there are always takes out there that have yet to be explored because most people have the same take with different words. Give it a go.


5. Have you tried something new lately?

Write about it. You’d be amazed at how many folks might be interested to read about, I don’t know, a stepladder. Or paint. Or an app you’ve just discovered. I’ll bet you just got some new shoes or a new hammer. Or maybe not, but if you did, what about a nonreview review, or a functional living review? Or “I copped some new old Adidas shell toes that were awesome in 1985—here’s how they feel today.” There are options. Avail yourself, homie.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


K. Araújo

You are everything, my dude! But the best TV dad EVER was Cliff Huxtable. Shit man in real life but the shit on camera.