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Writer's Corner

Writer's Block? Get over it!
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In the world inhabited by writers, much is said, pro and con, about writer's block. Those who have it also think they will never get over it.

Let me tell you a truth: if you are employed by a newspaper, there is NO SUCH THING as writer's block.

So why should there be such a thing in the world of a fiction writer? Or a non-fiction writer? Perhaps there's an answer and I'm just not seeing it.

Some famous writers have given advice for getting over writer's block. I can't repeat them here because I haven't sought nor received permission (remember copyright?).

But there are some things from newspaper writing that can be applied to other kinds of writing to avoid/overcome writer's block.

Lesson one: Reporters who reach a deadline with no words on the page are in BIG trouble. So any reporter worth his paycheck starts working on his story long before deadline. Writers may be in the same position if writer's block continues.

Lesson number two: A reporter must be prepared in advance of the deadline. He/she must have done all pertinent interviews and researched all pertinent facts as well as acquired all other accoutrements (like that word? It's just for you).

Lesson three: If, having started, the words just won’t flow, type just anything: the pledge of allegiance, for example. Anything at all, as long as it's something on a page. It can be changed when you get into your rhythm. If all else fails, take a break. But not one that's too long.

Lesson four: Sometimes, be satisfied with less than perfection.

Lesson five: Don't think you have to get it right the first time. No writer has ever written for very long without a good editor checking out his copy. Rewrite at least once, and more than that, if you must. (By the way, the editor is your friend, whether you believe it or not.)

Lesson six: Your words are NOT gold. If they must be changed -- by your editor, your mentor, or whoever -- you'll probably have a better piece in the end.

No matter what, after the story is published, you'll think of another way it could have been said or something you left out that should have been included. That's normal. Don't let it get to you.