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Avoiding Writer's Block

Although we can all name various distractions, from those that are life-altering to fairly minor ones, writers face daily hurdles in the process of writing and completing a book or work of considerable substance. Once in a while, my dog has gotten sick just as I've had a half-formed thought that was working its way into an unique construction. How many times has the phone rung? On occasion, the electricity goes out in a storm, I'm without power for seemingly no apparent reason.

But the other kind of distraction is the one writers provide for ourselves. We are our own best distractors--with everything from getting up to fix something to eat or drink to deciding we need to check our Facebook or other social media pages right then. We make excuses about something needing cleaning, even clearing out our closets, arranging our shoes. I've taken my dog for a walk many times in one day. He was, of course, happy I was so distracted. Some times, we're really generous with helping someone else out with a problem or issue, but more often than not, we are the ones responsible for all of those diversions. The book is waiting, or rather, that malleable thought that could become the book is in hybernation.

Writer's block? We don't have it; we just keep getting interrupted. Now, that is established, what do we do to get back to working on that book? Here are a couple of suggestions that seem to work for me and might for you if you give them a try:

1. Read something. Anything. Even reading a poorly written article or story causes the brain to start reacting, imagining what we could do better or differently.

2. Imagine someone is preventing you from writing, not allowing you to write a word. Stay away from pen and paper and that computer or laptop for at least a day--longer if needed. You want to write, but that dictator is saying, "no." Finally, you sneak down to your computer and start writing; write anything because you and your imagination have escaped the tyranny for a few hours.

3. Write something without design. Anything. If it's terrible, that's okay. One of the amazing aspects of writing is that it's a process, and you can change everything and anything.

4. Describe one character in your work, using all of your senses.

5. Let that character talk to you all day without writing anything else until something important starts to develop. You'll know it. Just listen.

6. Listen to music without words--just music.

7. All right. Walk your dog. He might give you a few ideas while you're both at it.

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