I’m staring at the screen, wondering what to write today.

I have a blog to write. I feel totally uninspired despite two cups of coffee and a LED light block shining at my face. (I just made the mistake of looking at it, and a phalanx of dots is fouling my vision.

I have a short story to write. I promised myself five stories this year, and I’ve only written one so far. I have the idea fleshed out in my head. I just have to write.

So I’m writing about not writing. The irony is not lost on me. It’s something I learned over the years — if you can’t write about something important, write about something trivial and see what happens. It’s called free-writing, and I use it a lot.

Sometimes, to snap an idea out of my head, I write differently than I normally do. I use notebook paper instead of the computer. I write with a fountain pen (mine is pink with pink ink) instead of a ballpoint. Sometimes I write on black paper with bright metallic gel pens.

Free-writing opens my mind to the rhythm of words. Almost like the trance writing of mediums, it opens my mind to ideas. And, worse comes to worst, it’s a great way to practice my handwriting.

So I’m here to recommend a different type of writing for writer’s block — nonproductive writing that’s secretly productive.

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