[ PAST LETTERS ]
"I have nothing to write about" is the best excuse to start writing.
One habit that I am working on is writing on a daily basis. I write all the time for school, but I realized that writing for myself is healing and relaxing, especially when I don’t feel like doing it. My biggest excuse was always “I have nothing to write about,” so I figured out a solution to keep myself in check.
Whenever I feel like I have nothing to write about, I’m reminded of those moments when I’m riding in the car with one of my parents, silently looking out the window. If it’s fall, I’m undoubtedly admiring the colorful leaves on the trees. Randomly, and interrupting my thoughts of how beautiful the leaves are, mom or dad asks me “What are you thinking about?” and instead of being able to say that I’m admiring the beauty of the leaves, my mind goes blank. The truth is that my mind doesn’t actually go blank- our minds never go blank. I decide that my thoughts of the leaves are insignificant and not worth sharing. My parents repeat the question and I respond: nothing.
The same thing happens every time I sit down to write and nothing comes to mind. I started telling myself that “nothing to write about is something to write about.” I wrote about the “nothing.” I wrote about it every time. After sentences, paragraphs, and pages about “nothing,” I realized that it was something. It was a look into my thoughts, how I wished I had something worth writing about, why I couldn’t think of anything to put down on paper, and how much I dreaded writing about this “nothing.”
Every time I find myself thinking “I won’t write tonight” for whatever reason, I think back to those “What are you thinking about?” moments, catch myself, and put pen to paper. Some of my best writing has come when I had “nothing” on my mind. That silence, stillness, or emptiness that I thought was there gives way to the thoughts that I really should think more deeply about. Even answering the simple question of why my eyes settle on certain objects in the room as I literally look for something to write about is enough to get started!
As I think about all the times when I’ve been in conversation about Feminessay, I also think about the times when I’ve heard “I have nothing to write about” and I challenge those who think so to pick up their pens, open their notebooks, and try. Try today. Try again tomorrow. Try to turn your nothing into something. Move beyond the thought that what is on your mind is not important and write about it.
If you’re anything like me, after a couple of weeks, you’ll flip through pages of notebook entries that you wrote when you had nothing to write about- some about the tough days you had, the encouraging text messages your friends sent and, sprinkled between pages of deep thoughts, you’ll read refreshing pieces about how cooking dinner on Monday night reminded you of how much you miss your mother’s cooking. You’ll revisit that one short paragraph that you wrote last week about how you’re thinking about dropping out of school and moving to Europe. You may even decide to write some more about how comforting it is to watch your dog sleep while you’re typing away, trying to complete a piece of writing for the world to see.
You never have nothing to write about. Commit yourself to that thinking and see where your pen takes you.
— Tiye Naeemah Cort,
Global Editor-in-Chief + Founder