Essays on Technology and Culture

What to Say When You Have Nothing to Say

The biggest worry I had—and still have—about blogging daily is whether I’ll actually have anything to say each day. It was sometimes a struggle to find something to write about on a weekly basis, after all. For this go around, I’m trying to prime the pump, making sure to read—not skim—good writing on the web. I’m putting my Instapaper, Google Reader, and Flipboard accounts to good use, keeping an eye out for anything that might spark an idea. All the best writers are voracious readers. Reading gives a writer not only ideas, but a voice. We synthesize what we see, hear, and read, combining it into something distinctly our own. A writer who does not read risks stagnation. [1]

I know the day will come, sooner rather than later, that I’ll be sitting here, facing the blank page, and be unable to think of a damn thing to say. When that happens, I’ll try to figure out how to work around it. However, I shouldn’t force it. Iain Broome put it well:

Here’s a rubbish analogy for you. If a plumber cuts his or her hand on a pipe and it’s bleeding all over your nice new carpet, you don’t say ‘Carry on plumbing! Plumb man (or woman). Plumb like you’ve never plumbed before!’

Instead you say, ‘Goodness me, you’ve made a mess of that haven’t you? Here, sit down. Let me make you a cup of tea and get you a biscuit. Perhaps when we’ve got that blood cleaned up and you’ve had a chance to think about what’s happened, you can crack on again. Tell me, do you charge by the hour?’

I’m not afraid of sucking. I’m just afraid of being silent. This brings it around to why I’m even doing this whole blogging daily thing in the first place. Yes, it’s because I want to write more, but also because I want to read more. I want interesting writing, interesting links, interesting commentary, and interesting people providing it. What better place to start getting all of that than on my own blog. Be the change you want to see on the Internet, or something like that. As long as I can keep my pump primed with good things that get me thinking, I’ll never want for something to write about.

Until the day I do.

This will hopefully be later rather than sooner.

When that day comes, I hope any ostensible reader of this site doesn’t notice. Either I’ll manage to find something to write about, or I’ll find a great link deserving of commentary, or I’ll just bang on the keyboard and pray it doesn’t suck. I figure the more I make the clackity noise, the less likely I’ll be unable to find something to say. Once the pump is flowing, the job becomes a lot easier.

  1. By way of example, see the series of posts from when all I was digesting was stuff about doing creative work.  ↩