Posted in Reading & Writing

How to Get Through a Writer’s Block (or, How to Be a Healthy Writer)

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For writers of all genres, “writer’s block” is as inevitable as death and taxes.

All artists experience this. The brain needs its rest, the muses need their vacations, and everyone who’s ever been serious about creative endeavors has sat staring at a blank page, canvas, brick wall, stage or computer page and thought, “I can’t do this.”

But did you notice that I put “writer’s block” in quotation marks? That wasn’t a typo. I “know” how to “use” “quotation marks.”

Seriously, though: I believe that the phrase “writer’s block” is a crutch we use to make our creative clogs seem more serious than perhaps they are. I’ve known writers who treat it as an illness; when they’re blocked, they can do little more than sit around drinking soup and binge-watching Netflix. They spend a lot of time nursing themselves back to health, so to speak. This can last indefinitely.

Of course (to extend my metaphor) there are people who vegetate through an illness and there are those who just keep truckin’. Then there are those of us who used to vegetate but have had to learn to push through. Continue reading “How to Get Through a Writer’s Block (or, How to Be a Healthy Writer)”

Posted in Reading & Writing

The Writer Who Doesn’t Write

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I have not written in a couple of weeks.

Sure, I’ve rattled off a few blog posts, though you’ve doubtless noticed a decline in quality. And lists: ’tis the season for list-making. But my novel has sat, neglected, inside my laptop. My journal is empty, my mind filled not with whimsy and dreams, but numbers, time frames, estimations.

For me, this is an aberration. It happens occasionally, but pragmatism is not my status quo. It baffles me that there are people who always live in this mind space and not just because they have to. Perhaps it shouldn’t–my husband is one of them, and without his attention to detail we would be in a whole heap of trouble–but while I understand the necessity of all this infrastructure and organization, and even revel in it from time to time, it will never give me the thrill I get from creativity.

At least, I hope it won’t.

A lot of the numbers and lists lately have had to do with my online business: selling vintage books and handmade creations, attempting to figure out what people want to buy, trying to learn to think like a business person. It’s the kind of thing I’ve long known I could do, but have avoided because of the immense amount of time and energy it requires. For me, writing has always come first. I’ve had mostly mindless jobs, partly because I didn’t want to drain my brain and come home too exhausted to write.

It has occurred to me several times over the last few months that what I’m doing now, pushing for an actual career outside the literary world, is a form of giving up. Continue reading “The Writer Who Doesn’t Write”

Posted in Friends & Family

SBT Gift Guide: The Outdoorsman (or -Woman)

It’s the Christmas shopping season, people! Maybe you’ve got someone on your list who loves to be outdoors–maybe they hunt and fish, or maybe they just love to commune with nature. Maybe they love to watch TV shows about survivalists just so they can quibble. They own more than one pair of hiking boots and know why people say moss grows on the north side of the tree (and that they’re actually wrong).

Unless you are equally outdoorsy, this person might be tough to shop for. So here are a few ideas, and all of them from small-time sellers on Etsy (including my own shops–gotta be up front about that). {For more info on any item, just click on the picture.}

My first idea when giving to just about anyone is to find the perfect book:

trees Continue reading “SBT Gift Guide: The Outdoorsman (or -Woman)”