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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.

Winning the Writer’s Mental Game


World-class athletes agree that the mental game is key to winning.

Overcoming writer’s block and other forms of writing resistance is key to winning the writer’s mental game. This blog, the Around the Writer’s Block book and AWB classes give you a significant edge in this part of the game.

I’ve invested years teaching and coaching writers to win the mental game. So it may come as a surprise to hear this from me: The mental game isn’t all you need to focus on.

Doing What Comes Naturally

Athletes say that the mental game is the key to winning because they’ve already mastered the physical game.

Athletes often have a “knack” for the physical game. It isn’t always easy, but it is natural for them to master the physical aspects of their sport. It’s as if they were born to play.

They find practicing, polishing and perfecting the physical game in their sport inherently rewarding. Once they achieve mastery in the physical game, the mental game is the missing piece.

Winning Both Games

For writers, the physical game is the craft of writing – honing the skills, tools and techniques to research, generate, rewrite, edit and revise the words on the page/screen.

The mental game is the habit of showing up and putting in your time when you say you will. It’s honoring your commitments no matter how challenging they are or how resistant you feel.

You need to win both games.

We Teach Best What We Struggle Most to Learn

I focus on the mental game in my classes, this blog and my book because it was what I struggled most to learn myself.

If you’re struggling with writer’s resistance (if you’re not showing up when you say you will, if you’re honoring excuses, distractions and fear more than you honor your commitments), I humbly suggest you keep reading this blog, buy my book and/or take one of my classes.

If you’re eager to polish the physical game, you don’t need a teacher or mentor who was so instinctively good at the skill you want to improve (dialogue, pacing, revision, etc.), that s/he never had to consider how s/he does what s/he does.

You need teachers and mentors who’ve struggled as you’re struggling and learned how to learn (and teach) what you need to learn.

If you think there’s no element in your physical game you need to improve, you’re only fooling yourself. We can always polish and perfect our game. The most reliable source of quality teachers and mentors that I know of is the Loft Literary Center. Explore the Loft’s website today.

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