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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coping With Writer's Block

We’ve all been through it.

You stare blankly at your word processing window, wondering how you’re going to start a piece of writing that might not be particularly inspiring. How do you power through it?

According to John McPhee of the New Yorker, “You write, ‘Dear Mother.’ And then you tell your mother about the block, the frustration, the ineptitude, the despair.” That’s right, address your piece to your mom and pour your heart out, then you work from there.

McPhee is 82 years old and a Pulitzer Prize winner, so you can bet that he’s written his fair share of material. He suggests to simply push something out from your keyboard. “For me, the hardest part comes first, getting something—anything—out in front of me,” McPhee adds. “Sometimes in a nervous frenzy I just fling words as if I were flinging mud at a wall. Then, as you work it over and alter it, you begin to shape sentences that score higher with the ear and eye."

Oftentimes it’s easier said than done, and the willpower comes with experience. But writer’s block is something that every writer has encountered, and McPhee’s strategy is a great way to break the ice. Give it a try!

Do you have any suggestions on how to get the words flowing? Comment on the blog below and share your tips.

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