Blog: Write From the Start

May 2013 Blog Entry: Handling Your Frustration When You Feel Blocked

     One of the most frustrating aspects of writing is sitting down and finding that the words aren’t coming. Even though you had been making decent progress in the past, you no longer feel in the flow. As you try various techniques to reboot your creative mind, and they don’t work, you become more and more frustrated. Stop and take a deep breath. You have reached the stage known as impasse. Some people call this writer’s block, but a kinder perspective is to think of this event as gestation. Members of my writing group have found that often periods of great frustration precede great breakthroughs.  Become curious: wonder what the breakthrough will be and when you will receive it. People often report that the breakthroughs happen when they are doing some kind of physical, non-writing-related, activity such as running, bike riding, or doing dishes. Be compassionate with yourself and don’t try too hard to push the frustration/gestation away.

 May Writing Resource

 Writing for conferences: A handbook for graduate students and faculty by Leo Mallette and Clare Berger (2011) introduces publishing through conferences, gives the reader tips on finding the right conference and dissecting the call for papers, and provides exercises and examples for abstract writing. The authors discuss co-authoring vs. sole authorship, and list the main sections of your conference paper with an explanation of each. They consider the options for presentation including papers, panels, posters, and chairing a session. The chapter on networking at conferences, toward the end of the book, is especially helpful for people who want more information on how to make connections. The book contains checklists, text boxes, and vignettes that offer additional useful information.

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