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Writers on Writers’ Block

If you’ve ever suffered from writer’s block you’ll find some inspiration and useful tips on National Public Radio’s Novel Ideas series – featuring professional authors talking about how they write and how they overcome writer’s block.

Having worked with many writers on writer’s block, I’ve noticed that one of the most helpful things for them to hear is that they aren’t alone in their frustration. All writers seem to experience blocks at some stage, and I notice clients visibly relaxing when I tell them how familiar their descriptions of being blocked are to me. I often say I wish I could get all my writing clients in a room together, so they could compare notes and realise how similar their situations are. Maybe I’ll do something like that in future, but in the meanwhile it can be encouraging to hear about the experience of the seasoned professionals in the NPR series.

Some of my favourite tips are Max Apple’s “Carry earplugs. Always.”; Neal Pollack’s “I look at my checking account balance”; and M. T. Anderson’s “random infusion of fact”:

I go read about a topic about which I know nothing (there are a lot of them) and see if anything floats to the surface. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I know when I find it.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, you might like to read my post 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block, and the article I wrote for Magma, Poetry in Practice: Creative Flow, for which I interviewed poets Paul Farley, Myra Schneider, Matthew Sweeney and Susan Wicks about their writing process.

Thanks to Verna Wilder of Coachamatic where I found the NPR link.