Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance


Discover the tricks that your brain uses to keep you from writing—and how to beat them.

Do you:

  • Want to write, but find it impossible to get started?
  • Keep your schedules so full that you don’t have any time to write?
  • Wait until the last minute to write, even though you ...
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Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance

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Discover the tricks that your brain uses to keep you from writing—and how to beat them.

Do you:

  • Want to write, but find it impossible to get started?
  • Keep your schedules so full that you don’t have any time to write?
  • Wait until the last minute to write, even though you know you could do a better job if you gave yourself more time?
  • Suddenly remember ten other things that you need to do whenever you sit down to write?
  • Sabotage your own best efforts with lost files, missed deadlines, or excessive self-criticism?

The good news is that you’re not lazy, undisciplined, or lacking in willpower, talent or ambition. You just need to learn what’s going on inside your brain, and harness the power of brain science to beat resistance and develop a productive writing habit.

In Around the Writer’s Block, Rosanne Bane-- a creativity coach and writing teacher for more than 20 years-- uses the most recent breakthroughs in brain science to help us understand, in simple, clear language, where writing resistance comes from: a fight-or-flight response hard-wired into our brain, which can make us desperate to flee the sources of our anxieties by any means possible.

Bane’s three-part plan, which has improved the productivity of thousands of writers, helps you develop new reliable writing habits, rewire the brain’s responses to the anxiety of writing, and turn writing from a source of stress and anxiety into one of joy and personal growth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
For stymied writers of all stripes, most books that aim to guide them through the challenges they face in productively getting words on paper are ineffective. Blocked writers do not need to learn how to write; they need—and want—to understand why they seem unable to undertake productively the very thing they want most to do. If they understand what is behind their regular procrastination, the perfectionism that halts them, the judgmental voice that stands in their way, they can then learn ways around these blocks, just as Bane’s title promises. The solution for blocked writers lies chiefly, per the author, in understanding how our brains function and how our hard-wired behaviors and responses can take charge. In the first section, “Overview,” Bane explains unpretentiously how elements of our brain, such as the limbic system and the cortex, can do battle in ways that impede our writing progress. Her next section, “Three Habits,” outlines solutions that are modest yet will steer writers toward fruition: “process time,” “product time,” and “self-care,” only one of which may appear to relate to writing. Yet all in fact do. Her last section discusses “Putting the Habits into Practice” and further discusses how we may counter resistance.

Verdict Very highly recommended to all struggling writers for its concrete, friendly, and profoundly useful approach.—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585428717
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/2/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 620,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosanne Bane lives in Minneapolis with her partner and their two dogs, Blue and Kelda.
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Table of Contents

Section 1 Overview 1

1 Introduction 3

What Do They Got That I Ain't Got? 3

Resistance Is Normal 5

Resistance Can Be Resolved 7

The Power of a Writing Habit 10

2 Why is it so hard to write? 14

Why Do We Do That? 14

If I Only Had a Brain 15

Brain Basics 16

Who's Driving the Bus? 19

Limbic System Takeovers 20

Meet Aimee 23

Who's Your Dr. Claparède? 25

Writing is its Own Reward-or Threat 27

Recognizing Resistance 29

Hope Is Not Lost 31

Plastic Brain to the Rescue! 32

Section 2 Three Habits 37

3 Habit One: Process 39

Success Story 39

Process Time 40

Follow Their Lead-or Create Your Own Dance 44

Surrender Expectations 46

When and How 52

4 Habit Two: Product Time 58

Success Story 58

When is it Process Time; When is it Product Time? 59

Why "Product Time" Instead of "Writing Time" 60

Showing Up Is Key 64

How to Evaluate Product Time 66

Stages of the Creative Process 69

The Second Key: Fifteen Magic Minutes 79

First Things First 81

Ten Reasons to Keep the Commitment Small 82

Past Initial Inertia 83

Surrender Illusions of Grandeur and Expectations of Perfection 86

5 Habit Three: Self-Care 91

Success Story: You Can't Truly Care for Others If You're Not Caring for Yourself 91

Self-care 92

Success Story: Self-care, Not Self-indulgence 93

Success Story: Perchance to Achieve a Dream 96

Success Story: On the Move 100

Writers at Work-Attention Required 106

Preserve Time to Focus 111

Success Story: Quietly, Mindfully Refilling the Well 119

Success Story: The Play's the Thing 124

Play is Serious Business 126

Play is Creative 129

Section 3 Putting the Habits into Practice 133

6 Rituals and Routines 135

Success Stories 135

Why Are Writers So Superstitious? 136

Experience Creates Connections 140

Stop in the Middle of 144

7 Record and Reward 148

Success Story 148

Writer's Log: Stardate 2012 150

Benefits of Tracking 154

It Pays to Pay Yourself 158

What Rewards Do to Creativity 160

What Rewards Do for Routine Tasks 163

Puppies and Teeter-totters: Shaping Behavior 171

Shape-shifting 173

8 Why is it so hard to write, revisited 177

Anti-success Story 177

The Saboteur May or May Not Be Your Inner Critic 178

Psychological Origins of the Saboteur 179

Success Story 183

Know Your Enemy 185

Five Faces, Four Characteristics, One Goal 189

Don't Give in and Don't Give Up 192

Success Story 193

An Obsession of a Different Color 198

Get Clear 203

9 Four Steps to Resolving Resistance 206

Learning Story 206

What Went Wrong 210

Step One: Recognize the Resistance 211

Resistance by Any Other Name 211

That's Life; This is Resistance 216

Why the Why Doesn't Matter 220

Step Two: Relax into Resistance 223

Relaxing in the Now 227

Step Three: Respect the Wisdom of the Resistance 234

The Leap of No Faith 235

The Non-leap of Faith 237

Step Four: Redirect the Energy of the Resistance 240

Smarter Than the Average Whale? 242

Spontaneous Redirection 244

10 Why it Matters 246

Your Success Story 246

Habit Begets Mastery 249

Teaching Story: Feed the Right Wolf 252

You Owe it to Them; You Owe it to Yourself 256

Pay It Forward 257

Success Story: Love Matters 258

Public and Personal Success 259

When Audience Matters Too Much 262

Choose Your First Audience Well 263

Can Your Partner Be Your Writing Buddy? 265

Starting Over 267

Success Story: Hope in the Face of Disappointment 270

Keep It Small; Keep It Light; keep it Up 271

Please Tell Me Your Story 273

Appendix 274

Acknowledgments 284

Notes 289

Index 297

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