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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.

And The Winner Is…


winner canstockphoto12613090 (2)The winner of the Worst Writing Resistance Ever contest and a free copy of Around the Writer’s Block is (drum roll) Curtis Freeman. Congratulations Curtis!

An excerpt of Curtis’s entry:

I would like to think I have had some pretty good ideas for a sci-fi story that takes place in the mountains. Characters, locations, plot, conflict, even back stories have come to me in one form of inspiration or another. Getting it all down has been proving to be the problem.

Then I heard an author [that was me, Rosanne] on “Tellin’ Ellen”, a local public radio show, explain what my problem was. She even offered a solution to my resistance!

Unfortunately for me I got about as far as the exercise to “feel free to write as badly as you can.” So I did. It was awful, but in my excitement for having actually written something in years I showed my wife. It didn’t help matters when she quite honestly told me it was some of my best writing!

I have to apologize to you, Curtis, for not making it clear while I was on Ellen’s show that most writers can’t stay with intentionally writing below their own par. Permission to write badly is simply permission to write.

Honorable Mentions

Kudos to Kit Rohrbach, Nancy K. and Kevin Coyle. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

An excerpt of Kit’s entry:

Anna Fenn lost her six children, her husband, and her unborn child in the Johnstown Pa. flood of 1889. I wanted use fiction to write her story, to explore how any woman could suffer such devastation and go on with her own life…

First I had to establish the family as it was before that terrible day… I could see these children; I knew what they would say and do, how they squabbled and played with each other.

Then I had to drown them.

Kate and her dog Scrap were swept away by the flood. I called my son just to chat – but more to reassure myself he was okay.

Millie fell through the sodden lath and plaster floor of the attic where Harriet [the name of the character based on Anna Fenn] had taken the children to escape the rising water. Her red curls disappeared beneath the surface. I scrubbed the top of my refrigerator.

Merle and Petey. I vacuumed the stairs. Even that hated job was preferable to writing another child’s death.

Eventually I got through it, driven by the knowledge that writing the scene and getting it over with was better than dreading it. My house was very clean.

Later that week I joined a friend for dinner at Famous Dave’s. “How’s the book going?”

“I killed the children,” I said, just as the server was depositing a giant plate of barbequed ribs on the table. She didn’t call 911, but I could tell she was thinking about it.

Both excerpts are pretty good, right? All the entries were GOOD. So how did I decide? I didn’t.

True Confession Time

I’m really not cut out to be a judge. I’ve worked very hard to leave judgment behind and for good reason.

I just couldn’t compare one writer’s triumph over resistance to another’s and say one was better than the other. Every writer who faces resistance is a winner in my eyes. So I defaulted to a random selection method — I threw the dice.

A lot of writing wins can be attributed to luck. A causal question at a dog agility trial opened the door to my book being published. But I was ready to walk through that door — I’d written a damn good book proposal ready and I followed up.

Not everyone can win. You can’t win every time. But if you don’t enter, you can never win.

Are you ready to walk through the next door that opens?

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2 Comments on “And The Winner Is…”

  1. Joel D Canfield July 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I want to start an entire blog about things we’ve blurted just as the server walks up to the table, ’cause that’s super.

    Like

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