One of the many things I enjoy about writing here is that, unlike writing fiction or nonfiction articles, I never worry much about word count. I don’t track the words I write on a daily basis. On some days, I’ll write a short post, on other days, a longer post. Some days, I’ll sit down to write a post and write two or three in a row. Other days, like today, I’m hard pressed to think of one idea to write about. On these days, there are a few tactics I use to generate ideas:
- I skim through collections of Andy Rooney and E. B. White essays. Usually this just makes me envious, but sometimes, something will catch my eye that will trigger an idea.
- I take shower. This is really the only time of day when my mind is completely free to wander and it is amazing how often I come out of the shower with an idea, or a solution to a problem I’ve been pondering.
- I flip though my current Field Notes notebook and see what ideas I have jotted down that I haven’t yet written about.
My current notebook dates back to September 6, or a little over two weeks. I skimmed through the pages and counted two dozen ideas that I’d jotted down. Of those, there are ten that I haven’t yet written about.
- There’s the best meal I’ve had in a restaurant in years, at a place called Mariachi’s in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. The meal was Lomo Saltado: sautéed strips of prime sirloin with fresh tomato, cilantro, red onion, green pepper and jalepeño in an amazing Peruvian sauce. It was the first time in recent memory that I actually considered ordering seconds.
- There was the sunrise that Grace and I watched together on the beach in Rehobeth. All my note says for that is “beach sunrise.” I suppose I didn’t write it because it would be difficult to write 500 words on a sunrise that haven’t been written before. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is the sunrise in question:
- There is an idea to write about beach towns, and in particular, how they are often crammed with little tourist shops full of things you don’t need and that you could get in your own town if you did need them. Some beach towns seem to try too hard and it shows. There are exceptions. But I just couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm to write about this.
- There is an idea about digital photos with some handwriting that I can’t quite make out, and so I’m not entirely certain what I was getting at with that one.
- Here’s one that says, “Radio Days — KNX1070.” I was trying to think of things I’d never written about before. I began to think about how I used to listen to old radio shows on Sunday evenings (I think) in Los Angeles, on KNX1070. This seemed like a great idea for a post! I must have been, because apparently I wrote it about it in 2017. I even gave it the same title. Copycat!
- Pen’s I Use is another idea I jotted down. Since I’d been writing about the notebooks I use, I guess I thought the next logical thing would be to write about the pens I use. I never did and it’s probably good since I’ve written about pens before and I don’t like being too repetitive.
- Here’s one that says, “History as thriller.” I know what this means, and just to be sure, I looked in my Drafts folder and found an incomplete draft from February called “The Impatient Hindsight of History.” I like the idea behind this post, but just haven’t figured out a good way to write it yet, so this one will have to wait, although it will eventually get written, I suppose.
- Watching Zach play in a recent soccer game, I jotted an idea, “Love to watch soccer.” Could be Ted Lasso’s influence here, as much as Zach’s. Stayed-tuned on this one.
- More recently, there’s one that says, “External memory,” which I’ll probably write eventually.
- From earlier today, there’s one that says, “I Am Sam.” This one is all about nicknames and is an amusing story, but I’ve already told it back in 2007. That’s the problem with having nearly 7,000 posts.
- Finally, there was this idea: “Recent posts I didn’t write.”
Okay, so I guess we can take that last one off the list. And my tactics worked! I sat down uncertain about what to write, pulled out my Field Notes notebook, and turned out this 750 word essay.
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