An extremely effective way not to write, is to pre-judge your life as unworthy of writing about.
Last week, for example, I was experimenting with writing poetry about a single object, as a way ofexploring a theme that has a relationship to that object. It's a technique called the object correlative and I'm learning about it via the IWP Power of the Pen MOOC, published by the University of Iowa (which is a completely free online course, accessible here).
As instructed, I read Seamus Heaney's, 'Helmet' as an exemplar of the technique.
Then I tried to write a poem about my toddler's lunchbox.
While I was trying to write it, I was also thinking that a lunchbox is a bit boring; it doesn't have any interesting features like the crest on a helmet; and it's too ordinary, everybody knows what a lunch box is.
Of course, I didn't get very far. And you won't either, if you pre-judge your experience of the world as unworthy of belonging on the page.
I like what Marvin Bell says:
It's not what one begins with that matters, it's the quality of attention paid to it thereafter. You really need nothing more to write poems than bits of string and thread, and some dust from under the bed.
So, I'm going to try again because I sense, in my toddler's lunchbox, there could be an interesting thread.