Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Toolkit for Writer's Block: Packing for the Journey

It may not be a good idea to be thinking about writer's block, when I should be thinking about writing.  Or--novel thought (forgive the pun)--writing!  It's probably not a good sign that I am anticipating procrastinating at the outset of a major new writing project.  Be that as it may be, I have relied on others' writings about writer's block in the past, and have learned some useful approaches, which I may have to learn again.  And so I assembling this list in advance--kind of like taking a snake-bite kit into the wilderness, where I hope to avoid encounters with serpents of any kind.

1.  Successful freelance writer Dan Baum's blog post entitled "Avoid Avoidance," which I discovered in Dr. Timothy Pychyl's Psychology Today blog Don't Delay.  A quick little pep talk.

2.  Ginny Weihardt's article, "Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block."  Nice basic list.  And we all love lists, right?

3.  From Merlin Mann's 43 Folders site, "Hack Your Way Out of Writer's Block."  A short list incorporating some standard strategies and a couple of ideas that were new to me, including "Unplug your router," which I originally misread as "Unplug your rooster."  Both good pieces of advice.

4.  Just Jack's music video "Writer's Block," for its distraction value, and whatever impetus may come from its interesting imagery, including an executioner taking out an uncooperative typewriter.

5.  Woody Allen's Writer's Block:  Two One Act Plays.  From the quintessential neurotic writer, written, as usual, from his life.

6.  Jason Rekulak's The Writer's Block: 786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination.  Amazon's editorial reviewer had this to say about this odd little book:
OK, so it's a gimmick. A book in the shape of a 3-inch block. It'll take up too much space on your bookshelf. Its 672 pages are unnumbered, making it nearly impossible to find the same one twice. It is full of contradictory advice. And once you've used the book a few times, it'll more closely resemble a splayed slinky than a block.
Customer reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and include these admonitions to
fork over a few bucks and enjoy the rewards this little block will bring you year after year
7.  And finally, this little gem--again, at Nordquist's "Writers on Writing:  Overcoming Writer's Block."
A compendium of quotes from famous writers on dealing with the writing process, and its emotional pitfalls.  

And now, it's time to turn off my router, and my rooster, and get to work.


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