advice from the prolific

There are writers many of us know, who never seem to get blocked, who are prolific and happily so, turning out new pieces on a regular basis -- a story a month, a novel a year. I am fortunate enough to know more than a few of these writers and I find them a constant source of wonder. So when I began working on these pages, after I'd come out of the closet about my writer's block, I decided to ask these prolific folks how they approached balky projects and how they avoided the writer's block ruts.

Their answers contained some surprisingly common elements:

1. Don't obsess on one thing -- have more than one project going at a time and if you get stuck on one, move to another.

2. Commit to finishing everything you start -- if you've left a project, commit to returning to it; continue to work on the problem.

3. Change the mode of putting down words -- if you're stuck on the word processor try a dictation machine or writing by hand; or change where you write -- go outside, or to a friendly coffee shop, or the library.

4. Get some physical exercise -- go out and walk; mow the lawn -- physical activity of the pleasant and slightly mindless kind seems to precipitate mental activity of the kind that promotes creativity.

So, no magic formula there -- just common sense and committment -- but you can't argue with success. Once you're back in the writing groove, you might consider the elegant way these elements work together to keep the ball in motion.


m a i n  m e n u / m y  o w n  p a g e