Guest Bloggers

Writer’s Block = Argh!

Today’s Guest Blogger is Lisa Alpine.

Originally published on her blog, Lisa Alpine, Dancing Through the World of Words, Lisa shares her thoughts about how to crawl out of the swamp of writer’s block.

Stuck again in the swamp of writing defeat and word avoidance even though I love writing my stories. What’s up?  I’ve been a writer for 35 years. Holy moly. Can’t I just sit down and write? Why do silly menial chores seem suddenly inviting?

But I have found, once I chain myself to the blank page and force words to be birthed, with a story in mind, I thrash but the engine thrums and starts. Those dang words begin to flow. I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m psyched. The story emerges—but only after a hell-of-a struggle.

And I have a method:

I make an agreement with myself that I will write for one hour with no interruption. I set a timer. I turn the phone off. I don’t check email.

After the hour is up, I give myself the option to go outside in the garden and look at birds, bees, weeds, whatever. The important task is to move and get circulation back in my derriere.

I allow myself 15 minutes of distraction then it is back to the chair for another hour commitment—still not checking email or voicemail. Both of those are alluring rabbit holes.

Oh boy—another hour of diligent word-sculpting achieved! The carrot of the garden or yoga—some form of movement—is grabbed for another 15 minutes.

The intrigue of my story—as it comes into focus on the page—draws me back. I’m over the hump and the opposite effect takes place. I need to force myself to walk away from the page(s) and keep my life rolling forward.

Try this daily—or a few times a week. Your writer brain will hum with activity and the story will call you back to complete it.

Give it a try and see what happens for you.

Note from Marlene:

Lisa Alpine will be a Writers Forum presenter, along with Kate Farrell and Mary Mackey, on February 10, talking about “Storytelling for the Armchair Traveler.”

Please join us for this free Zoom event.

Lisa is a contributor to Story Power. A copy of Story Power will be given away at both the February 10 and the February 18 Writers Forum events.

Lisa Alpine is a renowned dance teacher, travel writer, and author of Dance Life: Movin’ & Groovin’ Around the Globe, Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman and Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman.

Her award-winning, dynamically delicious stories grace the pages of many anthologies, including Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing.

When not wrestling with words, exploring the ecstatic realms of dance, swimming with sea creatures, or waiting for a flight, Lisa divides her time between Mill Valley, California and the Big Island of Hawai’i, where Pele’s lava licks at the edges of her writing retreat. Read her timely posts about travel, dance, writing, culture, and inspiration.

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