“Write what you know,” instructs the one Golden Rule of writing. I’ve seen this repeated countless times, because I’m too lazy to count them.

It’s always struck me as about as profound as “Breathe the air.” True, yes, but is it helpful? In my case it’d be nothing but books about working in warehouses, working in a homeless shelter, working in transitional homes, working in retail stores, having mutually-destructive romantic relationships…

I know about that.

But it’s not what I want to write TODAY.

When stuck, as I am, there are several methods I use to get un-stuck. I listen to music, especially movie scores (some unusual choices, for me–the one composer whose scores get me going isn’t even in my top 5). I use the Gene Wolfe method–no writing, no reading, no movies, no music, until I HAVE to dive in.

The simplest one is to sit down, open a document and think: “What have I been thinking about lately?”

Not the movies you’ve watched, the books you’re reading. Dig deeper–but you won’t have to dig much.

Are you thinking about some dumb Tweet? Why is it obsessing you?

Are you at work, and at the back of your mind is that comment you heard? That bit of overheard sound from the TV in the other room? A song?

Really consider it. Write down the topics, the words, the images, the incidents you’ve been thinking about in the bathroom, when you can’t concentrate on what you should be doing, at meals.

THAT is what you should be writing about.

If you can’t think of anything, then write about why a search of “life experiences” brings up so many pics of people jumping in the air at sunset.

Guys, why are we all jumping in the air at sunset?