What to Say When You Have Nothing to Say?

Aaron McHugh

whispy clouds canyonlands
Canyonlands National Park

I usually have an idea in my head or a concept that I am looking forward to unpacking with the keystrokes of my Mac.

This time I don’t!

At the moment my idea reservoir is about as dry as the Canyonlands of Utah.

For today, my entry is to say that I have no big idea to offer you.

Yet, I suspect this discomfort is more common than we might want to admit to each other.

Sometimes we just don’t have a revolutionary idea or project that we can’t wait to work on.

I wouldn’t call this writers block

It’s more like the time right after a big race or shipping your project.

You did all of the work, trained well, showed up on race day and delivered.

The day immediately after the race is a bummer.

There is a let down of excitement.

The lead-up anticipation is over.

The daily motivation of the deadline is gone.

It’s back to the drawing board to start working on the next “big thing”.

The Next Big Thing

I envy people that are more even keeled than me.

I love watching them as they do the work without requiring a new injection of “what’s the next big thing?”

They have an amazing ability to move from one day-to-the next without much thought.

I know athletes like this.

They finish one race on Sunday and then on Monday they start their training cycle over again.

They don’t need a goal or mission or a big story to chase.

They simply wake up tomorrow and do the work.

Dreaming of a Reason

My heart drives most of what I do.

Unfortunately I don’t wake up on Monday after a race and just jump back onto the hamster wheel.

I go for a run, but not with the same zeal I had before the race.

I go searching for a more allusive question

"What is my heart saying is next?"

I usually need a reason or an idea to drive me to get all of the way to the finish line.

This same mystery surrounds writing this blog.

I am familiar with the Steven Pressfield “Do the Work” idea.

I am not talking about work ethic here.

I am talking about the internal fire burning at a dull glow instead of a hot fiery furnace.

Friends I am not going to conjure up some list of five things to do to cure this predicament.

I know some of those lists are very popular and even helpful.

Instead I’m going to leave us both with the mystery of the question

“What is our heart saying is next?”

Keep going.

  • jodyberkey

    Yet when you have “nothing to say”, you still say a lot and share words of wisdom. I see what you did there… diminished expectations then BAM! We learned something! Sneaky, Aaron! 🙂

    • Jody you give me wind in my sails just when the there are no gusts. thank you. bless you.

  • The words “pilot light” came to mind as I read the post. Aaron, I have been through many spells just like this and I too operate form the heart. Having a pilot light keeps us ready when the idea does come. What many do is let it go out all together.

    • Bro. I love this a Pilot Light. that is a brilliant glow of an idea. Yeah….my pilot light is still light but the BTU’s are not flowing through the pipe these days. I have stumbled on a couple the past two weeks that I’ll work on sharing. Keep Going John.

      • Hmm. We may need to collaborate on that idea then. 😉

        • John-I like the idea of a pilot light a lot. I’ll shoot you an email and maybe we can work on a piece together.

  • DonnaT.

    Loved this post! I’ve been stuck in neutral since taking a blogging break in August and can’t get back to it. Forgot the simple…I moved over to writing from my head instead of writing from my heart. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Donna-Love that this is encouraging to you. The irony is that I put off writing this post as it seemed a thin idea. Once I sat down and left it open ended I realized that was more true and honest than attempting to throw a bow on it. I think the invitation to marinate a bit longer in the questions to our heart is better than a list of techniques. Keep going Donna and good luck with your blog writing.

  • Dianne Nicole

    Aaron, thanks for writing this. I just recently started my blog because my heart has something to say and every time I write for the sake of writing it never reaches final post. Readers can tell when you’re being true and you are being true.

    • Thanks Dianne. Appreciate you saying this. This whole blog thing has its benefits and some pressure. On the one hand I know the discipline of offering new ideas is part of the fuel that will keep people interested. And I’d rather leave the best practices behind if I’m just going to offer words on screen that are not full of substance. Good luck on your blog Dianne. Appreciate your comment here. Merry Christmas