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10 Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block

I’ll also post these under tools so it will be easy to find later on.

These come from my own experience.  Suddenly after a silence, I’ve written seven poems in four days.  One isn’t finished.  The others are– and I like them.  So here are 10 ways to defeat writer’s block.

  1. Watching the imagery that emerges from your mind.  Assume it is a thread in your writing project.  It probably is.
  2. Don’t wonder if it is relevant.  Assume it is.
  3. Don’t consider it’s quality– whatever the unconscious delivers is relevant and OK.
  4. Trust the silences.  They are the unconscious ways of storing up psychic energy for the big projects.  Also trusts the spurts of creativity.  Both may come in a single day or every day that you sit down to write.
  5. Be willing to prime to pump by playing with the imagery and writing whatever pops into your head for a few minutes.  You will probably find yourself writing on your current project.
  6. We are far more complex than we know.  This can be difficult to accept in a culture that values superficiality.  In fact, the culture is highly anti-intellectual.  Most writers read a lot and that raises their chances of being intellectuals.  So self-acceptance may be difficult but try for it anyway. Great writers accept their complex thoughts and feeling to create literature.
  7. Accept that your life– your experiences, history, suffering, ecstasies– ethnic and religious identities– is all worthy of literature.  This means that everything you write is unique.  You have all the material to write deeply meaningful stories.
  8. Don’t try judging your work.  Mark Twain didn’t think The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was very good.  The work he thought was his finest was Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.   We aren’t good judges of our own work.
  9. Don’t be too quick to accept critics or your sales as a sign of your worth as a writer.  Melville sold 8 copies of Moby Dick.  Van Gogh sold 1 painting in his whole career– and that was to his brotherl.
  10. Accepting that even exhausted, half-dead and ill, you are thinking about writing. That makes you a writer, in the most basic sense.  Deep down, beyond will-power, you need to write.   Can you think of anything more that would make you a writer?  At the deepest part of you, you are a writer, so stop obsessing about whether you are or aren’t a writer.   You are.
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