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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Truth About Writer's Block: There is No Such Thing

I'm calling you out.

You do not have writer's block. There is no such thing. It is not contagious, and no one, not you, not anybody will ever catch this non-existent ailment. It's an excuse.

Who says so? Me. And many others.

From Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver:

"Did you ever go to have your braces adjusted and hear your orthodontist say. 'Oh, I'm sorry, I can't dot it. I have dentist's block today.' Of course not."

And from Linda Sue Park, author of A Long Walk to Water:

"I think it could be called I-do-not-feel-like-writing block."

Face it. Writer's block is bullshit.

Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of Love in the Time of Cholera, once said the only cure for the writer facing a blank page is death.

So, if you don't want to die...you better write!

I agree that we all have times when writing feels like digging a ditch or we are simply ill-prepared for the task or Game of Thrones is on or the NFL season is getting started or our car needs an oil change. Pick a reason not to write. There are a million. But if you are a writer, you must write. Something. Anything.

Make a goal. "I will write one good paragraph today." Stay away from word count. You'll focus too much on the numbers. Then whatever you write, before you close the laptop, leave a little behind, a bit in the tank. Ernest Hemingway said he never stopped writing until he had a pretty good idea where he was going next, so when he returned he was ready.

And lastly, drop the phrase from your list of excuses. Drop it from your vocabulary. If it isn't there, then you can't see it, hear it, feel it, or experience it.

Think of your writing as working out. It may not be pleasant getting started on that elliptical, but once you get going, you'll feel great. And when you're done for the day, you are on top of the world.

So, sit down, open your laptop, your journal, your note pad and write, write, write.







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