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Conquer Writer's Block

I recently connected with an old colleague I hadn’t seen in over a decade. Listening to him on the telephone reminded me of how poetic his Southern vernacular and cadence were. He was a natural storyteller, and his knowledge of the English language coupled with his life of service as a police officer made for engaging conversation. I complimented him, and asked if writing ever interested him. He sighed before replying, “At one time, but life gets in the way.” We chuckled lightheartedly, and I shared this lyric by John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”

My friend’s excuse is not unique. I can’t count how many times someone has told me they have an unwritten book inside them, or they love poetry, but just haven’t put pen to paper or finished that manuscript they once started. Writer’s block is real, and it’s unfortunate when it hinders people. These methods always help me conquer writer’s block:

1. Research your topic. Exploring something as simple as the weather on a certain day in a part of the world can lead you to jumpstarting a scene in your novel.

2. Exercise and let your mind wander. Get your heart pumping and release endorphins to help you create ideas.

3. Meet up with some friends and bounce ideas off each other. King Solomon observed that just as iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man.

4. Cultivate curiosity. Growth lives in the land of the unknown. Travel somewhere new and/or talk to a stranger to expose yourself to a different situation and environment.

Write, and feel emboldened by what Ernest Hemingway said about the first draft.
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