Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another Cure for Writer's Block

My deadline was Friday.
It was Wednesday.
And my article was dead in the water.
I had nothing. Not a beginning. Or a middle. Or an end.
In my defense, I hadn't ignored my deadline. I'd tried writing something. Anything. The tried and true writer's rule: Just throw up on the page, produced nothing but dry heaves.
What's a writer to do?
In my case, I took my blank Word document to my writers group.
Want a sure-fire cure for Writer's Block?
Tiffany, Scoti and I gathered around Scoti's table. The first thing I did was read them the editor's notes about what she wanted for the article. That way we all knew what I was supposed to be aiming for.
Then I handed them a page with some extremely sketchy ideas: a quote, a sentence, a phrase. Maybe something would prove to be worth nurturing into an article.
Scoti manned the laptop, ready to take notes.
Tiffany asked questions. (She's very good at it.)
I talked. I told them the lead sentences I'd thought of and discarded. I told them stories. I told them what I thought the article was about--and what it wasn't about.
Scoti typed.
Tiffany questioned.
I talked some more.
They told me what they liked. What they thought might work. What they thought was a rabbit trail or was done to death.
By the time I got home from the group, Scoti's notes were in my inbox. I printed them out and used them as a guide to start pulling together an article. I sent Scoti and Tiffany two drafts to critique on Wednesday. Another two drafts on Thursday. On Friday, I submitted my article on time.
And the editor loved it.
Once again, I thank God for my writers group.

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