What can I write about and how can I force myself to write

I stumbled across this Q&A – of which I wrote neither part – and it reminded me of that quote attributed to Ben Franklin about writing something worth reading or doing something worth writing about.

Q: I love writing and I really do try to write as often as I can, but very rarely am I satisfied with my own ideas….I want to be able to find inspiration on my own…what kinds of things should I write about and how can I force myself to keep on writing?

A: Don’t force yourself to write. And when the alarm clock goes off in the morning, don’t get up. And when the bills need to be paid, just pack your stuff and go to the next place. Don’t ask yourself the difficult questions about you. About who you are, or where you come from, or why you are doing this. And when the true sentences strike you, don’t bother to write them down in your phone, or on that napkin, or whatever. Just forget them by the time you’re in the door of your house. And then procrastinate some more on the computer. Don’t examine your bias’s, just post your opinions and waste the best parts of your talents on instant messenger conversations or clever Facebook posts.

Every time you think about putting it off, just imagine never doing it. And dying, and those things, the really important things you had to say, never being said. By anyone. Because no one is you, in your exact shoes in the space time continuum. On a planet of 6+ billion people you may not be the most unique or beautiful snowflake. But you have a story, at the very least. And it’s yours to tell. And it’s your problem if you don’t tell it. No one will miss what they didn’t know about.

As for subjects: challenge your process all the time. If you always write one way, force yourself to do something different. Never be scared of dumb. Be scared of stagnation. Stagnation is worse than stupidity. Write a few pages or a poem made up from the words on the bathroom stall you just sat in. You had time to examine them. Write about a philosophical point you had with your friends, or a sentence that got stuck in your head. Or a person. Write your passion, because other people can feel when you don’t give a shit. The trick isn’t to just write about a few subjects, but to become passionate about life. That’s why you started writing, right? Because you wanted to show someone else how you saw the trees, or the highway or whatever beautiful image. And you had a story to tell. I remember when you had a story to tell man. What happened to that story?

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