The good news about having nothing in particular to write about is that possibilities are limitless. The bad news is you have no idea about what, if anything, will emerge.
I decided to conduct a quasi-scientific investigation into the question of ‘fertile void vs black nothingness’ by deciding to write a story, even though I had nothing in mind to write about.
First of all, there is something like faith or courage needed embark on writing when there is no plan, or even a hint of a plan. Free writing exercises move us in this direction, but my experiment also involved a goal of a specific product: a 100 word short story. I sat down with my pad and began. The first word that came into consciousness was “snake”. Thirty minutes later I had this draft:
Snakes on a Plain
Bart was so sick of having his screenplay ideas stolen by the toxic vipers of Hollywood that he finally decided to leave. His dream of making it big in LA had become a nightmare, so when Bart found a surprisingly cheap farmhouse in Kansas for sale on the Internet, he bought it unseen. When he arrived at the house, he popped open a hatch to the attic, and was horrified to see hundreds of writhing rattlesnakes nesting up there. Slamming the hatch, Bart scampered to his van and headed back to Southern California. “Not a bad movie idea.” he thought.
This story proved to me, once again, that nothingness is, in fact, a fertile void. Something will happen, and writers should not get too hung up on waiting for clarity before moving their fingers. Typing into the vast unknown will be productive, and even if something arises you aren’t particularly thrilled with, some movement has taken place, and that is good. You are writing.
Of course, as the protagonist in my story knows, there is always the risk that someone will steal your ideas if you write them down. In fact, I’ve been told that my story title has already been ripped off and used in a movie!
Maybe I ought to give up and move to Kansas……