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Outwitting Writers' Block: And Other Problems of the Pen

Outwitting Writers' Block: And Other Problems of the Pen

Blame the pen! That’s why we get stuck in a writing rut. Oh, computers? OK, then, blame the broken keys on the keyboard! Meet the enemy and the enemy is us. Writing a book review is always tough because it begins with staring at the ugly blank white page (or other color if you changed it) and you don’t want it to sound like the dozen other book reviews you’ve written with the usual, “I like this book because… the author discusses… in chapter blankity blank…”

Well, I’m going to write that boring phrase and say I like this book because Glatzer writes like a buddy who supports you with humor without the muckity muck or eye-ball rolling advice. It’s not a book full of nothing but writing prompts, although she sneaks a few good ones into each chapter. Yes, there are a few exercises, too, but not the running the treadmill until your feet fall off kind except for that one nasty guilt-trippin’ reminder saying exercise can help clear the mind.

In a few instances I find myself saying, “Oh yeah, that’s happened to me,” or “That makes me feel better knowing that.” The Myths from the Meanies addresses those hair pulling rules we hear from other writers like we must write every danged day. Relax, it’s not written in stone nor is it an unwritten rule. For every myth, you learn why it’s a lousy rule and how to deal with it. It took a load off my shoulders.

Do you moan and groan when people speak of yoga, meditation, feng shui, and all that? Those are mentioned in the book. Wait, don’t groan yet. I do tire of such talk and the chapter on this talk is needed or it wouldn’t be a complete book. It’s not so bad and the advice is easy to implement. It’s just an itsy bitsy chapter, which also mentions music and animals. How can you not like that? Yyyyyyyyy-M-C-A! At the Yyyyyyyy-M-C-A! Sorry, I got distracted by the music that is helping me work.

Get ready for chills down your spine as we dive into the deadline chapter. Writers know this is a necessary evil of the job, but it’s also a good thing. The usual meet your deadlines and pad your schedule advice is there, as well as other good thoughts you might not have otherwise considered.

Feeling guilty for not writing most of the past summer because of an illness, Glatzer eases the pain in Chapter 17: It’s Not You, It’s Me. Though I’m finally back on track with my writing, thoughts of the lousy summer still eat me. Not anymore, thanks to the chapter. It’s OK to go on a hiatus for whatever reason. The tips in the chapter can help most writers get through difficult times.

Usually, I don’t enjoy reading about writer’s block because I fear it’ll make things worse. Outwitting outwits, outlasts, and outwrites other books on the topic because it’s funny, clever, pleasurable (there is even reference to s-e-x so it’s no G-rated book!). Now I’ve finished praising the “not your typical writer’s block fighter” book, I shall go reward myself with a little break away from the computer and writing. P.S. Check out her wonderful Web site and newsletter. That’s where I first met her and became a fan of her work.

TITLE: Outwitting Writers’ Block: And Other Problems of the Pen
AUTHOR: Jenna Glatzer
PUBLISHER: The Lyons Press
ISBN: 1592281249
FORMAT: Paperback
PAGES: 256
PRICE: US$14.95

Posted October 2, 2003 12:20 PM :: Tags: :: Category: Book Reviews - Writing


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