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Overcoming the Dreaded Writers Block

Written by David Thalberg from BrandStandBooks

“Oh God I need to write. I really need to write. I’ve got to get this book… done!” 

With apologies to my favorite musical, “A Chorus Line,” the line above is a variation of a line from the opening number of the show: “God, I hope I get it. I hope I get it…. I really need this job. Please, God, I need this job!”

This song has been going through my head for the past few days. Why? I was asked to write a blog post for Bookstr about overcoming “Writer’s Block”. As someone commented on my last post 5 Steps to Writing Your First Book, “if only it was that easy!”

You want to write. I want to write. We have the vision of our book in our heads – be it your first or 10th book… but alas, you deflect. You find reasons not to write. Inconveniences. Conveniences.  But you need to write. 

 So how to begin and get over your Writer’s Block: 

1.     What I Did for Love: We write because we love to write… right? There’s an inner passion that drives us to create and want to share what we have written. Always remember that. When you’re putting off writing, or just can’t get started, recite a mantra to yourself: I write because I love.  I love because I write.  Clear your mind, RELAX, and get to it.

2.     I Can Do That: Mantra #2 – I can do that!  You have the confidence and you have the enthusiasm. You believe in yourself – even if you think no one else does. What’s the word? What’s the joke? What’s the important line of text that will keep the story moving forward. You have it. It’s right there.  Don’t get frustrated. You can’t force the words to come. Take a breath…  have a snack. Then, keep writing. – “it” may find you, before you find it.

3.     The Music and The Mirror: Keep a mirror by your special writing place. Look at it. Tell yourself: Give me someone to write for. Give me someone to show. Find your audience. Find your words. When you’re looking for that right word, or are lost in a plot going all over the page… know that you can bring yourself back to the right place. Look yourself in the eye. Find the images in your mind that will get you back to your pen or keyboard. Remember (again taking more liberties from A Chorus Line: God I’m a Writer… a Writer Writes! 

4.     One: One point of light. One piece of inspiration. Sometimes it’s out there, just beyond your reach. Grasp it. You know it’s there and you have to find it.  As my friend Tom Bird puts it,  “Allow your creativity to flow through you like that of a river; and no one tries to force a river to flow. They flow because that’s what rivers do; naturally and all on their own.”  Listen to that flow, and the ideas will come.

Next week, I’ll share more tips from me and other writers. I’ll likely stay away from musical theater, because, like I’m guessing many of you did – I’ve spent the last hour or so clicking on the links above and listening and watching to songs from A Chorus Line!  Did the music influence me to write? Absolutely. Is this how I thought this post would flow? Absolutely not. But that’s what writing is about, correct?  We listen to what comes from within, and we translate it to pen and paper.  And then our writing is complete.

Please share your thoughts on writer’s block in the comments. I’m sure we could all learn from each other.

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David Thalberg is the founder of BrandStand, an affiliate of Stryker-Munley Group. A book publicist with more than 25 years experience, he is a frequent instructor at publishing and writers retreats and has a regular publishing column, Writing from the BrandStand on Bookstr.com. He can be reached at dthalberg@brandstandpr.com or http://brandstandpr.com.

Featured image: ‘The Passion of Creation” by Leonid Pasternak