What Should I Post Today?


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


Hi SEers. John with you today.

When I considered what to write about, I thought of several things. After taking a tour of some of the topics, my fellow members had scheduled, it became very obvious most of the erudite subjects had already been taken. I was also surprised to see that most of our group’s genius members already have their posts scheduled for the month.

Of course, you are looking at the work of one who doesn’t know from one day to the next what will be written. I am the pantster’s pantster. As a result of such a libertine approach to writing, each month brings me to the edge of sanity as I stare into the abyss of the unknown about what subject to write for Story Empire. I call this situation the “stare ball.” At times like these, I would just like to write, “Hi, I’m John, and I don’t have anything today.” Certainly, the temptation would rise in these patient and gracious members of Story Empire to drum me out of the organization for that kind of post. So, I continually try to write about something interesting since that kind of drum ceremony is not one I wish to attend.

Maybe you can feel my pain. If so, you can fully appreciate that such a situation leaves one with sweaty palms and a genuine desire to be struck by lightning. If we pause to think about the problem, though, maybe there is food for a post after all. I figured that by sharing those feelings of desperation, perhaps we all will not feel so much alone when these feelings come to us.

I have to be frank and say I never have a problem responding to a prompt or constructing any of the six posts I write weekly. I can honestly say I’m not blocked from writing. However, when it comes to Story Empire, there is an obsession to write solid advice to help others be better writers. It is time to drop that expectation and substitute one that might be a little more germane to the issue. Maybe my obsession should be to help just one other writer know they are not alone when it comes to being in the dark on what to write.

Bingo. I like where that bar has been set. I’m not going to solve all the problems of the writing universe. No. Instead, it would be good to just let one writer know that there are times when writing my way out of a paper bag is an impossibility. It doesn’t matter how long my stare holds on the curser and screen; nothing magically appears. For those agonizing moments, it feels as if the writing life has ended. Sharing that circumstance may help someone who is faced with the same problem.

So, what is the best thing to do when the stare ball hits? Walk away is my advice. Go smell the flowers, take a bike ride, walk the dog, or have a nice cool drink in the shade. Sooner or later, the inspiration to come back and complete the task will hit.

Now, where was I? Oh yes trying to figure out what to write for this Story Empire post. Hey, hold on. I think I’ve done it. How about you? Ever get the stare ball while you are trying to write? Tell us in the comments how you deal with it. Have a great weekend.


81 thoughts on “What Should I Post Today?

  1. Pingback: What Should I Post Today? – YUCCYMAINE MEDIA

  2. I have themed days: Music Monday, Tuesday Tirade (or Tidbits is I’m not angry), Weird Wednesday, Thursday Thoughts, Free Book Friday, and The Weekend Wrap-up. I’m about 50/50 on whether they are written off the cuff or planned out. I have to admit, some of my favorites are done with a cup of coffee and a bit of pressure.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi John, your post made me chuckle. I write three posts a month for Writing to be Read and I never schedule them in advance. I am a two days before kinda girl and sometimes it’s the day before so cheers to you. After three and a half years of writing Growing Booksworms about ways of encouraging reading and writing in children, I must admit I sometimes struggle for inspiration. I think you have nailed it when you said that if you are trying to give solid and useful advice, it is much harder as the bar is higher.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A fun post! I often wonder how the people who write comics come up with a fun strip day after day. That would be a lot of pressure for me! I can see how writing for Story Empire would be challenging. You all come up with topnotch posts. A lot to live up to.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The “stare ball.” What a great name for it, John! Like you, it seems to strike me the most when it comes to SE posts. I feel like I’ve run the gamut of posts over the years. Because time is always an issue for me, I do like to work several months ahead. It takes some of the pressure off, but even then, I have plenty of stare ball moments and struggle for content. My blog is never an issue and writing is never an issue, but providing advice to others…well, that’s a bit harder, especially when I’ve tapped the well so many times.

    Loved this post!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Haha! Good one, John! This reminds me of some of my students who fill a page and hope I don’t read it but just give them the A because the page if full. Lol! 😉 All joking aside, your post is definitely relatable. One of my favorite authors told an audience that when you don’t know what to write, just write. You can always go back and delete what doesn’t work, but sometimes, when the fingers start clicking the keys, the ideas start clicking in the head. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. While you are the consummate pantser, I’m the quintessential planner. I had my entire year of SE posts written in December of last year. I get a sense of accomplishment from checking items off my list (which, obviously, means I make a lot of lists, though lately I haven’t been checking many boxes). I don’t think either way is right or wrong. Whatever works for the writer, right? I don’t really have the “stare ball” issue, but sometimes I have the “do people really care what I have to say” problem. Other times I have the “I don’t have the will to do this today when no one cares anyway” issue. (I believe they’re related, and the latter is just a more depressing expression of the former.) But I think my concerns are solved the same way yours are. We just have to put our fingers to the keys… then actually use them.

    I love how you can make any and every post bring a smile to my face. Thanks, John.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. So funny, John. But also relatable! I think we all deal with the “stare ball” now and then. I often get it with time-sensitive writing prompts. The whole mind goes instantly and completely blank. The Story Empire gig has taught me to write down ideas as they come to me, so they’re handy when I need them. But you got a post done, so congrats. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There’s so much truth in your post, John. The world is filled with so many distractions that it’s easy for me to get lost in my thoughts. That, of course, interferes with my writing. It’s definitely a nice feeling to know we’re not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It has to be more of a challenge to write this type of post over your regular blogging. Your personal one is to entertain so you can let your imagination free. Here, you want to help so I imagine the subjects, over time, become more and more scarce. Smart of you to tackle what pretty much every writer faces at one point or another. That blank page and the seemingly blank muse! Well done, you!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I can really relate to this post, John:) I also suffer that desperation each month coming up with a post. Not a planner either, the month comes faster than the ideas. I want it to be a useful post, but you are right if it helps just one person, its successful! One thing about these posts is as I’m writing them, I’m also learning. Great post that did inspire and assure we aren’t alone in our feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Anything that can me smile like I am at the moment has to be a successfu post! I’m a ‘panster of pantsters’ too which means that I’ll hit a bend in the road that I didn’t see coming and end up in a stagnating ditch. I get much pleasure from Story Empire through the companionship and see the advice as a bonus. Perhaps it’s time to build in the option of writing something on whatever you want when it’s your turn to contribute. I’d be more than happy with that! Off to weed the garden – it’s solved many a plot hole…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. John, thanks for the smile and I certainly relate! Truth be told, I haven’t been blogging at all. (Okay, I see y’all shaking your heads and pointing your fingers.) So, yes, I know the stare ball. And, yes, I know a writer should blog. Well, perhaps your sharing today will get me going. Meanwhile, thanks for the chuckle!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Truth be told, I often don’t know where the thoughts that flow through my fingers will take me, but that’s one of the reasons I turn to writing again and again. Allowing for creativity takes time, as you said and finding space in the day to day for that is trickier than the act itself. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hilarious, John, and so relatable! Yep, it’s a daunting task to create a post about writing that’s new and original. Maybe it’s an impossible task? Since I’m also a bit of a pantster, I’ve found peace in just following my curiosity with the hope that others might join me on the trail. Thank you for brightening the day as you always do. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I love the honesty in this post, John. And I love the term Pantster of all Pantsters. 🙂 The truth is, I too, am intimidated by the level of writing expertise of the members of SE. So I found something they all hate and I’m fairly good at – marketing. 🙂 Problem solved, at least until I run out of anything new in the marketing arena. Stare Ball, huh? I’m going to own and embrace that!! It’s happened way too many times to count. I think your advice to walk away and do something different is spot-on. It always works for me. A fun post today!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I’m with you, John. Coming up with posts for Story Empire is the toughest thing I do. Back when we were starting out we had nearly a post a week we were responsible for. I was good with that, but eventually shared all my tricks. I still manage a little something every month.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Oh my gosh! If you only knew the times when I’ve been working late into the evening to schedule my SE post for the following day. Not to mention the times I can’t think of a thing to say on my own blog.

    I do like your idea of taking a break, especially to spend time outdoors. That often helps clear my head and inspire ideas. Even a fiction idea here and there. 🙂 Happy Friday, John!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I follow StoryOrigin with enormous interest and often leave a comment. An invitation to JOIN would send me running for the hills! I have enough trouble with “stuck” in m WIP without adding to the stress.
    My way around writer’s block? Walking the dog, as you suggest, John, but for some reason I can’t explain, it must be by the river.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. Pingback: What Should I Post Today? – MI way (Meristem Intelligence® way)

  21. Oh John, I do know where you’re coming from. I don’t have too much trouble on the inspiration front, if it’s for my own writing. Writing to order, or for any other reason, my brain shorts out… Thanks for making me laugh and for feeling better about everything!

    Liked by 6 people

  22. Hi, John, I can identify with that feeling. I am a fiction writer and like dabbling in romance novellas. My motivating force is to help build a better world, block by block. Love is, in the end, the most powerful force for humanity – if only we could exercise it daily in our relationships with others!
    But when it comes to starting a new story initially I’m often wondering where to start, and how to start. I think, for myself, I’ve learned to trust the process and not to panic. I try to start with the character or the setting and then let it unfold. Somehow the story emerges and begins to take shape and the characters come to life. Afterwards I often look back in amazement at what has emerged.
    Before I started I didn’t know those characters and that story was in my head waiting to be born!

    Liked by 5 people

  23. All day, every day. It comes with the ME/CFS. And if I have three things to think about, they take turns running through my head so I don’t focus on any of them.

    But on the fiction days I have many many tricks – so many prompts for scenes, so many longer plotlines to examine and fill in, the structure to create or check… I tell myself to do something small, anything, and then it usually leads to something – because I want to write fiction.

    I considered giving advice, but work so differently from everyone else that it’s not much use to another writer.

    I don’t want to do any of the other things I have to or should do – my time on Earth is limited, and I don’t want to waste it on trivia. So if the brain is on, I block the internet, take out the Scrivener or Pixelmator or (at the last stage) Word program, and do the next tiny step. And that’s where I can’t wait to get – after publishing the one just finished, and surviving all the nonsense that has been my duty to tackle.

    Can’t wait to get back. Book #3 has to be awesome. I have to make it that way. It may be the last thing I ever write.

    Liked by 5 people

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