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About Writing Right: The Blog


People often ask me how I get past writer's block. Usually, I tell them that writer's block is nothing more than a writer's unwillingness to write.


That's what I said: unwillingness.


Oh, sure, I know. You want to write, you're eager to begin, you're desperate to create, but "writer's block" jumps up to stand squarely in the way of you and your creativity.


Bull cookies! Let me explain.


When I was a kid of fourteen, the glamor and allure of becoming a writer were overpowering. I had to write. Often, that meant staying up all night, when everyone else in the household was fast asleep. Writer's block? It was a killer. At times, I'd sit, trying to think of things to say, for hours and still come up empty. Or, I'd throw some rough ideas down on a piece of paper and go back to read them the next day. And, I'd crumple it up and throw it in the trash.


Writer's block existed for me, and I'm a testimonial to its very reality.


As I grew older, I took a position as an assistant editor at a national magazine based out of the Windy City. And, I answered a call for a stringer for a suburban Chicago newspaper chain, working evenings covering school-board and town council meetings. Really exciting, creative stuff. Read More 

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Deadline ... or Dead End?

When I was a kid going to college to learn to become a rich and famous novelist, I was stunned to learn that one of the pre-enrollment requirements for "Novel Writing 101" was "Journalism 101, 102, and 103." Not just one semester of learning to write what I had no intentions of using ever, but three!

I tried everything I could to bypass that requirement, including begging the head of the fiction department to give me a pass. Thank God he turned me down. Learning to write like a journalist (and think and talk and interview like one) was exactly the kind of iron-fisted self-discipline I needed to learn to apply to my fiction writing. And the single most essential thing I learned from those courses was how to write under deadline.

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