If you are sitting down to create, and you find yourself facing a blank screen, blank page, blank canvas … with nothing to put on it … you might need a few minutes of prewriting.

When I write a blog post, for example, it’s often after I’ve already thought about the topic of the post — usually on a run or a walk, or while talking with someone about the topic. If I write a book, I don’t just sit down to write, but spend some time on walks and other times of solitude thinking through the topic. I also talk with people about what I’m thinking about, testing the thoughts out loud.

When I’m stuck, I often will get up and walk around, pacing back and forth while I think about the topic. This isn’t an excuse to take a break — it’s focused thinking about something, while I move around. I might also go for a walk outside, go for a run, or take a shower, all while thinking about my writing.

It’s also useful to seek inspiration from others, online or off, writing down any ideas that excite you in a notebook or a notes app on your phone. How can you use these ideas in your own way? Riff off the inspiration of others, and see what you can come up with.