Scrolling social media, Tait finds, is never a waste of time. “It’s people organically telling their stories and organically trying to get their life stories out into the world,” she says. Tait advises screenshotting and emailing things to yourself to prevent “journalism brain” from seeping into every moment of your life.
However, Tait is conscious to add that she is not a stranger to the blank page. “I don’t want to sell myself as some amazing fountain of ideas because I have been there, and I understand […] that sheer panic and that sensation that you will never have another idea again,” she says.
“Sometimes you look at your emails the next day, or your notes, and you’re like, ‘what did I even mean by this?’ It is not always a winner, but if you just get used to doing that and jotting it down all the time, you will find there will be some nuggets in there,” Tait concludes.
‘Writing On The Tube’
In short, it’s about finding a space that works creatively, no matter how unconventional. Crucially, you’ll also need a way to capture these thoughts too. Journalist and digital producer Effie Webb recently shared a writing exercise on TikTok called ‘Writing on the Tube’. Webb acknowledges that writing an article can sometimes be really daunting due to feelings of overwhelm, perfectionism, and self-doubt.
Instead, she uses the notes app while commuting to and from work, dedicating around 20 minutes (or however long the commute takes) to simply write. “I put a timestamp, and then I just write,” she explains. “No stopping, no breaks; you can’t go back, you can’t edit it. You choose a topic — it can be anything, it doesn’t have to be journalistic or newsy.” Effie stresses that it is not meant to be easy, but rather, it’s intended to help make the process of writing quickly and without predetermined structure, thoughts, and ideas, more possible.