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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Poop on Writer’s Block

Blue and Kelda keep me company when I write

I will always have dogs. I can truly think of no greater poverty for me than to not be able to love and live with a dog or two.

I do not love picking up dog poop, but poop is an unavoidable part of having a dog. We do hire a service to remove it from our yard (Pet Yard Pick Up “We do doggie doo-doo so you don’t have to” – I love that tagline).

But every walk results in a pile or two per dog that I’m responsible for (and we walk twice a day). So I pick up the poop even though I don’t want to. Because that’s what responsible dog lovers do.

The Poop Principle

The Poop Principle states that in any endeavor, no matter how much you love something or someone, there will always be some amount of poop.

You can delegate picking up some of the poop (by hiring the equivalent of Pet Yard Pick Up), but there will always be some poop you just have to pick up yourself. Because that’s what responsible people do.

Sometimes you have to do what you don’t love to do so you can keep doing what you do love to do.

Writer’s Poop List

The top of my Writer’s Poop List is waiting to get feedback from my editor. I love that I’m getting my book published. I loved drafting the book. I anticipate that I will love revising it. But being in “wait mode” is frustrating.

Other things on my Writer’s Poop List are:

  • Writing query letters
  • Getting rejection letters
  • Getting bad reviews or negative feedback
  • Getting no reviews or feedback
  • Getting feedback that’s anything other than “This is perfect. Don’t change a thing. I know exactly who wants to publish this and I’ve taken the liberty of contacting them and they want to pay you a lot of money”
  • Waiting for advance checks that don’t arrive when expected
  • Waiting for any check that doesn’t arrive when expected

It’s oddly freely to let yourself rant and rail on the page about all the s**t you have to put up with. So what’s the poop in your writing/creative life? What parts of being a writer do you wish you didn’t have to deal with? Please share your Writer’s Poop List in a comment.

[Go to the next installment: Love Brings Us Back]

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6 Comments on “Poop on Writer’s Block”

  1. hart June 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Please add writing a synosis to your list. Nothing makes my work sound duller.–Hart


    • rosannebane June 23, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Hart,
      I absolutely agree that writing a synopsis is on the Poop List! I always think that if I could say what I needed to say in 20% of the words, I would have written that short in the first place. But they are necessary. Which is why they’re on the Poop List instead of the Do Not Do List, I suppose.


  2. Fay June 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    I loved this one. It is so true. I guess the poop in writing my blog is that computer work is taking it’s toll on my shoulder.


    • rosannebane June 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      Glad you loved this one! Physical distress is a big poop to deal with; it’s hard to love what you’re doing when you’re in pain. If you were in the Twin Cities, I’d recommend my miracle movement therapist. Do you have a good massage therapist/bodyworker?



  1. Poop on Writer’s Block Part 3: A Habit of Love « The Bane of Your Resistance - June 27, 2011

    […] on Writer’s Block Part 3: A Habit of Love (In Part 1, we identified the Poop Principle; in Part 2, we saw how love brings us back to our […]


  2. Poop on Writer’s Block Part 2: Love Brings Us Back « The Bane of Your Resistance - June 24, 2011

    […] Part 1 invited you to write your Writer’s Poop List of the things you don’t love about being a writer. So why do we deal with all this s**t? […]


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