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Monday, August 03, 2015


Tricking Yourself Out of Writer's Block

As you know from reading my letter to my work-in-progess a couple of weeks ago, I have been stuck. But this past week, thanks to my critique group's night of writing and a little trick, I finally fixed the beginning of my middle-grade novel. (And my work-in-progress is very thankful about this.)

Here was my Facebook post on my page the following day:

"Here's the weird thing about writers. I have been stuck on my latest middle grade novel. Really the first 12 pages. Last night, I copied and pasted them into a new Word doc, changed the font, and voila, solved my entire plot problem. ‪#‎mindtricks‬ "

Several writers commented on this post. It seemed to resonate with many.  One writer said that she uses a different computer sometimes if she is stuck. A couple offered more words of encouragement, saying to do whatever works and that I had a cool idea. And finally, some are considering trying it, after also being stuck and not writing much all summer (or maybe even longer). 

Writing is an exhausting process--even if it brings you great joy and satisfaction--it is not very easy. Many writers have a love-hate relationship with their profession, but could not imagine doing anything else. Even when some writers (such as me) are not making much progress on a creative project, we are still writing in some way--whether we are expressing ourselves through blog posts, social media messages, or even emails and journal entries. 

The point is--we are writers, and sometimes writers get stuck and run out of fuel and spark. So it is important to surround yourself with encouraging, like-minded people (such as the writers in my critique group) and find a method that works for you TODAY (because it might not be the same method that worked yesterday).

In two weeks, my critique group and I are going on a weekend writing retreat. I'll be sure to let you know what tricks work for me and how my work-in-progress and I are getting along after spending more time together than we have all year.

Have you ever tricked your mind when writing? What works for you?

Margo L. Dill is a children's author of three books for ages 3 to 18. She also teaches writing courses for WOW! Women On Writing. To find out more, visit

light bulb photo by thomasbrightbill ( 

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Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Well, when my WIP's first draft proved itself to be a steaming pile of poop, I started from scratch. I later incorporated parts of the first draft into this draft, but I knew I needed to leave the scene of the accident and burn rubber as I got away. (There were THAT many mangled bodies and the story was totaled.)

I also divorced myself from the original beginning--which was humorous--since it didn't really set the tone or hook the reader. I'm hoping my new intro DOES.

I know that neither one of those are "tricks" but it's the best I could come up with.

Where are you going on your retreat? To Conception? (I'm planning on going there in October.) Write fast and furiously and write well, wherever you're going...

5:58 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

We are lucky in that one of our members has a lake house in a very peaceful, remote spot!

What you mentioned may not have been TRICKS, but they were at least strategies. :)

One day, when we are on the bestsellers list, we can laugh about this.

8:32 AM  
Blogger MP said...

Margo, I do the font/size change trick all the time! Mainly for a draft that's close to done (i.e. an article or essay). I can edit with "fresh eyes" because it seems different. I seem to catch errors or things that can be worded better.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

7:39 PM  

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