Is your writer’s block telling you something?

Usually you tend to consider the writer’s block like an obstacle that prevents you from putting down on page your ideas. Or even an obstacle that prevents you from having any fruitful ideas in the first place. In the first case, you can usually overcome your writer’s block in several different ways. Go for a walk. Have some coffe or a cappuccino. Do some sport, like running or cycling. Reduce distractions. Read a book. Listen to music. Try to stick to a routine. Force yourself to write anyway, no matter how shitty your writing is going to be. Cook a meal. Chop wood. All these solutions can help. And many others as well. But sometimes the dreadful writer’s block you’re experiencing is just the way your body, your subconscious, has to tell you to stop a moment.

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Linguistics – how we relate to language

It has always fascinated me how we relate to language. We use it every day, constantly and quite skillfully. Yet we know little about how it works. Think of it. We yell at the dog to get him off the sofa. We pause a moment to make sure we have actually scared the damn thing away, then we resume our chatting on the phone with our friend. Later on, when our spouse gets home we say hello to him, or her, and ask about their day. Finally, we promptly adopt motherese to speak to our three year old daughter, who has just come out of her room screaming like a banshee. Or maybe not if we are males. But still adapt our speech to our child’s ability to understand and process information. With writing pretty much the same applies. We’re able to tell a well written work from a badly…

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Seeds of creativity – what really are great ideas?

If you believe great ideas come in a sudden flash and offer themselves complete down to the last detail you might be in for a shock. We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from making nests on top of our heads. Similarly, bad thoughts sometimes appear in our mind, but we can choose whether we allow them to live there, to create a nest for themselves, and to breed evil deeds. I read this quote some days ago. I found it in Tolstoy’s Path of Life, but the quote itself is attributed to Martin Luther. Be that as it may, this quote made me think about ideas and productivity from a writer’s point of view. In fact, while it’s is true that occasionally writers experience the dreaded writer’s block, it’s also true that in general any self-respecting writer has the opposite problem. I mean, like…

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Procrastination for writers – the urge to write and the high place phenomenon

To be a true writer you have to do just one thing. Yep, you guessed it right. You’ve got to write. You’ve got to write (almost) every day. If you write, you are a writer. Even if you never publish anything, or your marketing efforts are practically non existent, like in my case — but I promise I’m going to change that. The fact is, as a writer you should feel the urge to write. That almost physical necessity to give shape to your thoughts and feelings, arranging and rearranging words into ever new tapestries—no, I haven’t said travesties. It doesn’t matter if you also experience resistance, and have to fight a daily battle with procrastination. Writers are known to be quite eccentric, to say the least. So, if you have the desire to write, and your head is full of ideas, and yet you find yourself striving to sit…

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Invaluable advice for writers: know yourself

It never ceases to amuse me the way we have to be reminded over and over again of things we should have already learned a long time ago. For example, there’s no doubt that the ancient Delphic maxim Know thyself—know yourself–holds true today as it did when it was first uttered. Indeed, there’s no doubt at all. And such a maxim holds true for everyone, writers included. In fact, if you know yourself you can avoid a lot of stress and useless worrying about your career as an independent writer. Just think of it. If you spend some quality time thinking hard about what makes you happy, what your values are, what is your definition of success, how hard you’re willing to work to attain certain goals, and so on, you can build your personal road map from here to whatever destination in life you choose. Besides, having chosen and…

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Rereading books – the art of change

A couple of nights ago I was sitting on the porch at my friend’s place. The sun was gone, just like the wine we had been drinking. So, with that particular predisposition of the soul that most often comes when the right amount of food and booze and stimulating company all happen together, we started chatting about books and writing. My friend isn’t a writer. And he isn’t planning on becoming one any time soon. Indeed, he is perfectly content with being a voracious reader. And of having the opportunity to chat, as often as possible, about books and the inner mechanics of a story. Now, while we decided whether or not to help ourselves with a last glass of wine–it was a damn fine Rosso di Montalcino we were enjoying–we ended up chatting about books we had reread and found dramatically different from the first time around. For me,…

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Vacations for writers — why they improve your creativity

First off, let’s make it clear: writers do not need any vacations. After all, theirs is a dream job. They get to do what they love precisely when they prefer to. And if this isn’t the definition of a dream job, I don’t know what else could be. Ok. Ok. I’m just kidding. In fact, a lot of writers, also the successful ones, have a day job. Because, you know, it helps pay the bills, and forces some kind of structure on their day, things like these. Secondly, writers too have families, and pretty much all the same social obligations each of us has. Yes, they learn to say “no” more often to be more productive, but still… Indeed, apart from those who sell in the millions, writers are just human beings. This means they are strange clusters of idiosyncrasies, fears, addictions, aspirations, noble intents, and bullshit. A lot of…

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