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Writers’ Brains Require Random Input


“Where did that come from?” Usually I’m so enthralled by fresh ideas, images, insights and plot points, I immediately focus on weaving them into the story. I’m so busy figuring out where to go with those ideas and images, I don’t notice where they came from. For example, I couldn’t tell you why the leaves […]

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Do Writers Have to Polish the Occasional Turd?


“I’ve been polishing turds,” I confessed to my co-coach Laura. “I spent weeks revising and tweaking and polishing the last five chapters. Then I realized I don’t even need two of them.” “Could you have gotten here without polishing those chapters?” Laura asked. I didn’t answer right away. I grudgingly admitted that I probably could […]

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If It Works for Stephen King, Shouldn’t It Work for Me?


Writers often look to famous authors for role models. We assume that whatever routine works (or worked) for a famous writer should work for every writer. If Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year, every writer should write 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year. The problem is that what […]

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What Else Looks Like Writer’s Block But Isn’t


The gap between finishing one writing project and starting the next can look like writer’s block. It’s not. The contrast can be startling. You were focused and engaged, busy drafting, revising and polishing. You rightfully felt proud of your effort and gratified with the result. Then suddenly, you’re not. Not doing anything apparently. What’s wrong […]

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Looks Like Writer’s Block, But It’s Not


One of the things commonly mistaken for writer’s block is simple unpreparedness. You’re not writing because you’re not ready to write. How many steps do you think there are between getting a great idea and writing? It’s more than you think. Go ahead and list the steps for yourself. Then come back and we’ll compare […]

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So You’re a Frustrated Writer… Are You Frustrated Enough?


If you’re struggling to find a clever transition or the structure for your book, if you’d kill for a killer plot twist or the perfect word, you’re in luck! If you’re frustrated, stymied and stuck, congratulations! Frustration is a sign you are on the verge of a breakthrough. Frustration is not just an unpleasant side […]

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Writer’s Naptime or Craptime?


“Everything stinks until it’s done.” – Dr. Seuss You may have heard me say (or read my post) that to write well, you have to be willing to write badly. But do you know when to write badly? Writer’s Craptime Writing badly is what Anne Lamont calls the Sh*tty First Draft, Marla Beck calls the […]

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Three Myths that Cause Writer’s Block


This morning while I walked the dogs in the park, a young man sat on a park bench playing riffs on his trumpet. Because I’m an introvert, I often have more involved conversations with strangers in my head than I do in reality. In my head, I said, “I used to play trumpet. But I’m […]

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Questions are the Answer for Writers Who Resist Research and Writers Who Can’t Stop


Because writers who resist research often have only a vague idea of what they’re looking for, the task overwhelms them. They don’t know what they’re looking for, so they don’t know how to start, where to go looking, or when to stop. Writers who get in stuck research, on the other hand, are so engaged […]

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Writers Who Resist Research and Writers Who Can’t Stop


Writers who don’t like research often don’t know how to start. Writers who love research often don’t know when to stop. Paradoxically, the solution is the same for both types. Stuck in the Research Some writers say they get stuck in the research because they love it. Whether they know it or not, many writers […]

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