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What to Say When You Have Nothing to Say

I have a lot I want to write about. A lot of observations about the world I want to communicate. Sometimes I have so much that inspires me, the ideas compete for space in my head.

And other times...nothing. It’s like the wind blowing across the plains in there.

I know I’m not alone in this. So what do we write about when we’re banging our head against the desk and the document’s still blank? What do we say when there’s nothing demanding to be declared? What inspiration do we share when nothing feels inspiring?


Maybe nothing.

There’s a difference between writer’s block and needing a creative respite. There’s a difference between giving up and claiming rest. There’s a difference between not believing you have worthwhile things to say and taking a break from saying them.

I have a million writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing. I have methods for centering and grounding to get into the right headspace to write. I believe that every person has a unique way of viewing the world and that, when shared, sometimes even the simplest glimpses can be profound.

I also believe that sometimes we need to take a damn break.

When we’ve tried the prompts and the walks and the music and the meditation—when we’ve tried all that and still nothing comes up, maybe that’s when we step back for a bit. Sometimes, creativity can’t be forced. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s nothing pressing enough for us to say right this moment.

Marketing experts reading this are horrified. (“You have to post every day! Consistency is key!”) People indoctrinated into capitalism are writing me off as a failure. (“Try harder! Buy more products to get over writer’s block! Maybe you just aren’t cut out to write!”) But humans...people who are attuned to their natural rhythms and cycles, you’re maybe thinking I’m onto something.

We’re cyclical beings. We go through phases. As artists, we’re sometimes prolific and other times empty-headed. I truly believe that’s ok. It’s not just ok; it’s normal. It’s what it means to be human, of nature.

Imagine getting frustrated at a strawberry plant for not growing a new flower every day of the year. That’s bonkers. How would that be sustainable, let alone possible?

Sometimes creativity needs to percolate. Sometimes that part of our brain needs to rest in order to produce something truly brilliant. Ever work on something for hours and keep coming up empty, only to have a brilliant idea the moment you step in the shower?

If we keep forcing ourselves to be creative, if we try to muscle our way to ingenuity, it doesn’t really work. We end up burning ourselves out rather than taking advantage of the beautiful ebb and flow naturally within us.

And also, imagine this: Imagine a world in which people speak when they feel inspired rather than out of an obligation to keep talking.

This, of course, requires acceptance on the part of the listeners: we need to be ok with intermittent, inconsistent streams of information. But imagine the richness of each expression. It would be like biting into the perfect summer peach, each bite more juicy than the last.

This also requires a certain level of confidence and maturity as communicators. We need to believe that we are worthy even when we are silent. We need to remember that brilliance will come, that it’s worth waiting for.

What’s the most terrifying part of staying silent?

What’s the most rewarding part of revealing that long-awaited brilliance?

Which is worth more to you?


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