Writing Tip #51

Stuck? Write something else. Longtime readers of this blog know that I started “Making Baby Grand” back in March 2010 because I was struggling with finishing my novel, and I thought working on a blog would get me writing about my struggles and help unblock me, which it did. Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ethan Dreilinger, co-author of the ebook, Out of the Dust, for our little public access show, The Writer’s Dream. Ethan told me that the reason he started his novel was because he was struggling with writing his blog — the reverse of what I had done.

There are all kinds of ways to get yourself out of a bout of writer’s block — take a walk, take a shower — but turning your attention to another type of writing is a terrific way to take a break from whatever it is that’s giving you trouble and keep writing at the same time. You’d be surprised how many times I’d work on a blog post, utter a sudden gasp and then jot down a note for my book — what Oprah might call an “aha” moment. Why it works, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s a way to stick to a discipline while mixing things up and allowing your brain to change gears. It’s kind of like going for a long walk and then walking backwards for a half a block — you’re still walking, but you’re exercising different muscles. And when you turn back around to walk frontwards again, there’s a new appreciation, a new sensation and excitement, for the simple act of walking, the very thing that had gotten you tired or had become boring in the first place.


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