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Writing Advice from Authors to Authors is a series of books (four so far) with essays written by writers about writerly things. The advice given is as varied as the authors who wrote it. I was honored to be asked to contribute.

So without further ado, here is an excerpt of About Your Writer's Block, my portion of the book.

4 Unusual Ways to Thwart Writer’s Block

By Roxanne Smolen


Writer’s Block is the debilitating fear of the first line. It can occur before you even begin a new project. But as writers we are often exhilarated by our ideas and start writing with ease. More often, writer’s block hits with the first line of the dreaded middle after our enthusiasm has faded.

That’s when self-doubt raises its curly head. I’m no good. My ideas are no good. What am I doing here anyway?

The enemy of creativity is self-doubt. You need to re-ignite your belief in yourself and excitement for your project. How do you do that?


Never give up. Never say I can’t. Take a few moments off to completely relax. Try adopting a positive mantra. Something like I always write quickly or Writing is easy. Say it over and over until it becomes ingrained. Soon you’ll be writing with a new attitude.

Talk to Your Dog

Don’t laugh! Verbalizing your ideas will set them in your mind. By telling your story to your dog, you will hear how exciting it sounds. Most dogs will listen attentively. Never try this with a cat.

Turn Off Your Computer Screen

Perfectionism keeps writers from finishing a first draft more often than death. You need to silence your internal editor. Turn off your computer screen (or throw a shirt over it if you write on a laptop) so you can’t see what you write and can’t self-edit. Just start typing. Try to keep your fingers moving for an hour and see what happens.

Change Your Passwords

Set up your computer so that you need a password to wake it up. Change your passwords on your social networks, your email, and your bank accounts. And make sure your computer doesn’t remember them so that you have to type them in each time. Make your passwords something like actuallyIcan or writerswrite. This tip also works for things like losing weight (iamnothungry) or quitting smoking (nosmoke4me.) By repeating the password phrase countless times over the course of a day, you teach your subconscious something new.

Writing is a solitary endeavor, and it doesn’t always provide the positive reinforcement we all need. If you can find that reinforcement within yourself, you can beat writer’s block. I know you have it in you.

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