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How to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write

I hear this from my clients all the time:

I don’t know what to write.
I have so many ideas, I don’t know where to start.
I sit down to write and I can’t come up with anything original. Everything I want to say has been said before. Everyone is tired of reading about this topic. It’s oversaturated.
I just need a road map. An assignment. I need a FOCUS.

Here’s the ironic thing: I’ve been putting off switching the focus of my blog for a long time. Because I didn’t know what to write. Because I wasn’t sure how people would receive it. Because I didn’t know what my third blog post would be…so why would I write the first one?

I recently heard Marie Forleo say that she thinks about money and creative ideas in the same way: There’s always more where that came from.

If we aren’t afraid of the well running dry, we can put our ideas out into the world and trust that we’ll always have more ideas.

And this, from Alexandra Franzen: If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, try a tiny project.

A tiny project you can complete in a day or two or three, instead of a giant project that’s going to take many months.

I read about tiny projects and I felt the tingling at the base of my spine. So I came upstairs to write this post for you.

If you don’t know what to write, pick one thing … and write about it. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. You don’t have to say anything brand-new. You don’t have to change anyone’s life with one blog post, or one tiny e-book, or a new landing page for your website or a new Facebook post. You don’t have to be all things to all people.

Everyone doesn’t have to like you. And not everyone will.

So if the voices of your critics (or just your mean-girl self) are howling at you that every sentence is terrible, try this exercise from Anne Lamott: imagine all the critical voices are coming from tiny mice. Then, pick up each mouse-thought and drop it into a jar. Screw on the lid and enjoy the silence.

If your fingers are itching to check email, to scroll through Instagram, resist the urge. Sit your butt in your desk chair for a tiny amount of time (20-30 minutes) and write the thing. You don’t have to finish it. Just put some words down on paper that weren’t there before.

After all, the way that you create big things in the world is by creating a little bit every day.

You don’t need to decide on your absolute perfect client profile to start writing. You don’t need to overhaul your website before you update the copy on your About page. You don’t need to plan your next seventeen business moves before you create that new opt-in, or that free video series.

You just need to pick one thing and create a little bit every day.

Happy writing.

March 12, 2018

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