If you've ever found yourself staring at the blank page all day, or cleaning out the refrigerator for the fifth time in a week just to avoid seeing that taunting blinking cursor, then you've experienced writer's block.
The good news? It means you're a writer. It's not important that you have these times; what's important is how you deal with them. OUTWITTING WRITER'S BLOCK will provide tricks of the trade to help any writer break through the dreaded block and become a more creative and better writer than before. Filled to the brim with exercises designed to jump-start creativity, encouraging tips from fellow writers and instructors, and tools for analyzing the causes and cures for the nefarious Blank Page syndrome, this book is like Drain-o for clogged creative pipes.
Glatzer tells writers how to:
* know when an idea isn't going to work, versus when it just needs a new approach;
* apply relaxation techniques to get back the nirvana of writing "in flow;"
* look at writing like any other job, with set hours and required levels of output;
* set up your writing space for optimal performance;
* tell if you've chosen the wrong form, and/or if it's time to pick a new genre or media;
* knock the editor off your shoulder;
* examine other causes--lifestyle changes, depression, stress, etc. that may need to be addressed;
* and more
OUTWITTING WRITER'S BLOCK is a humorous, inspirational, practical guide for writers, college students, businesspeople, and those who would like to write as a means of therapy or "release."
About the Author
JENNA GLATZER is the founder and editor of Absolute Write (absolutewrite.com) and was the Editor-in-Chief of Writer Online. She has written for hundreds of national, regional, and online publications, including Writer's Digest, Woman's World, and Salon. She is the author of five books, including Slaying The Anxiety Dragon. Her work has appeared in anthologies, including The Moment of Truth: Women's Funniest Romantic Failures. She is a producer, playwright, and optioned screenwriter.
Table of Contents
|1.||Know Your Enemy||1|
|2.||Start at the Very Beginning||13|
|3.||Myths from the Meanies||23|
|4.||Planning, Scheming, and Dreaming||41|
|6.||Kicking the Critic Off His Pedestal||67|
|7.||Your Ugly Notebook||77|
|8.||Self-Doubt and Other Stupid Garbage||83|
|9.||Change Your Brain||107|
|10.||Ohmmmm, Ohmmmm: Dealing with the Stress of Writer's Block||115|
|11.||O Deadline, My Deadline||123|
|12.||Dead Ends and Wrong Ways||137|
|13.||The Opposite Game||155|
|14.||Mind Your Own Business||167|
|15.||Your Writing Oasis||177|
|17.||It's Not You, It's Me||193|
|18.||People Who Need People||199|
|19.||Take a Little Trip||207|
|20.||The $6 Solution: Six Items to Help You Beat Writer's Block||213|
|21.||Let the Market Be Your Guide||223|
|22.||Plagiarism is Good?!||231|
|23.||Please, Don't Let This Feeling End||237|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jenna Glatzer is one of my favourite freelancers (right up there with Kelly James-Enger). She understands what it takes to make it as a writer and she isn't afraid of telling all her secrets!
I gave myself two days to read through Jenna Glatzer¿s ¿Outwitting Writer¿s Block¿ and found myself on the last page within a few hours. This book deals with the nuts and bolts, get-your-hands-greasy-changing-the-flat-`cause-you-didn¿t-renew-the-AA A-membership approach to overcoming the creative block and also gives insight into the likely deep seated psychological basis from which the block may stem e.g. it just may be your defense mechanism for self-preservation. Don¿t go to a shrink next time ¿ plunk down the money for this book and Jenna will be beside your couch, gently guiding you through the emotional hurdles that lie between you and your creative potential. It¿s a kind way to put your harsh inner critic to rest and let the blank page be a ¿blank canvas¿ on which you are being invited to play. The fear of writing might just be your friend trying to warn you about something from the past ¿ and it¿s about time that this fear is addressed and turned into creative fuel. Her suggestion to form a mental literary triumvirate of a critic, an advocate, and a pragmatist is a very useful tool to balance the left brain, the right brain, and the checking account. Power of positive thinking and visualization are some additional aids to keep the critic at bay. The basic message is simple: ultimately, writing is an end in itself and is its own reward; the writer needs to move towards self-validation rather than external validation. It is a well researched book and I would recommend either highlighting the websites and books recommended or jotting it down in your ¿dirty notebook¿ (see, you just did it! You wrote down something!). One idea I found quite intriguing is to give a free outlet to your subconscious while writing without lifting your pen up from the paper (so as to not let the critic have any time to creep in). Of course, if you type, then come up with a creative solution of your own (short of splashing crazy glue on the keyboard). If nothing else, buy the book for the Prompts ¿ these are the gems strewn across that are fun and practical exercises to help unleash your creativity. I believe that creativity is spiral ¿ something done in one seemingly disparate area feeds into one¿s writing skills when one least expects it. Jenna exploits this principle to its fullest in this book. Merely reading Jenna¿s book gave me two new screenplay ideas! And I wasn¿t even warmed up to do the exercises. One of the most fundamental suggestions that this book makes is to change one¿s method of thinking. Although it sounds trite, the suggestion is to think like a writer. How often do we look at the mundane, banal items around us and try to put our thoughts about them into words, into strong nouns and strong verbs? I know I will make a conscious effort now on. She also addresses what I like to call the ¿tyranny of should(s)¿ ¿ a bunch of rules that have outlived their usefulness and float around in writer-speak as the Ten Commandments. However, then, she recommends that you should (oops!) have some rules of your own to bring some discipline to your writing and then, consciously break them if you feel you are getting boxed in e.g. cross genres or discard the self-imposed labels to see if you can have more fun writing ¿ `cause that¿s what it¿s all about, ain¿t it? Stephen King was asked once where he got his ideas from and he replied, ¿Cleveland.¿ Jenna makes some specific suggestions on how to reach Cleveland, some of them quite interesting e.g. listening to country lyrics for stories and coming up with character/story ideas based on magazine ads. Throughout the book, Jenna¿s love of writing and her passion for the craft shines through even as her lively (and zany) sense of humor guides you through the various ways of conquering writer¿s block. Even if you are not creatively blocked (and what species do you belong to?), the methods described in the book will jog your creative muscles.
The book is obviously by someone who knows her stuff. She offers helpful tips - although they are probably more helpful for newer writers. If you fall into that category and you're having trouble with writer's block, you might want to check this out. It's a quick, light read.
I'm a sucker for self-help books and an even bigger one for writer's self-help books. That said, let me nominate Jenna Glatzer as the 'Dr. Phil' for writers. Not only does she 'tells it like it is', she gives writers clear, concrete examples of how to overcome their writing blocks. The book even provides a collection of writing prompts. In her smart, we-live-in-the-real-world tone, she lets writers know that they are not alone in facing their writing demons, and that good can triumph over evil if writers persevere and fight the good fight. Dealing with issues as diverse as a fear of success, deadlines, self-doubt and the power of blowing bubbles, 'Outwitting Writer's Block' is sure to become a dog-eared reference tool for writers facing the blank page.
Jenna Glatzer demystifies writer's block in her typical reader-friendly, feels-like-we-know-each-other, and funny style. She asks in the Introduction: 'What's so bad about a blank page? When did the words 'blank page' become synonymous with the writer's version of premature balding?' She goes on to discuss some of the causes of writer's block, such as: -the idea isn't fully developed -you can't live up to your own expectations of your writing -you've got too many ideas and can't focus on just one Jenna presents strategies for getting the creative jucies flowing in the form of writing prompts throughout the book, and she also offers sidebars from other real writers who share their own experiences with writer's block. She even provides a chapter on dealing with the stress that accompanies writer's block. Perhaps most importantly, Jenna breaks down the carious causes and tells us how to get past them. One solution, for example, is to take baby steps if you're feelign overwhelmed by a large project. This book is an easy yet information-packed read that's sure to get you past your writer's block. Throw away the 'rules,' says Jenna Glatzer, and you'll be well on your way!