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Writer’s Block…The Experience!

Conundrum: Getting writer’s block while writing about writing.

A week or so ago, I made what I thought was a no-brainer of a commitment.  I promised myself that I would blog once a week.  Since writing is a big part of my job, this seemed like a pretty simple task.  I’d just sit at my desk and, instead of spending the next 45 minutes or so writing for one of my clients, I’d write for me.

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve always been too lazy to blog.  But I know how important it is to be “visible” and get “exposure” and have a “platform.”  And since I’m a writer, there’s probably not a better showcase for my writerly brilliance than an opportunity to write about whatever I want, right?

So I decided, yes, I would do this.  I started last week.  And, ohmigod, it was easy.  In less than an hour, I had a blog post that didn’t make me want to throw up, all written and ready to go.  I was on such a high, I even came up with concepts for my next two posts, just because I COULD, dammit!  This blogging thing?  It was gonna be cake.

So…that was last week.

Flash forward to yesterday (which I guess would be flashing backward?), when I had decided I was going to write my next blog.  I had the topic all ready to go – my son David, a college junior, just got an internship and started writing semi-professionally.  I had decided to write about how he was my first “coaching client.”

It was going to be hilarious, and meaningful, and relatable, and all those good things.

But when I sat down to write, all that came out were a random series of thoughts and sentences and beginnings and middles that had essentially no relation to each other, except that they somehow involved my kid.

Where were the brilliant sentences, the hilarious one-liners, the clever turns of phrase?

They were buried somewhere deep in my brain – if they had ever really existed at all.  Because, horror of horrors, I had writer’s block.

Ordinarily, writer’s block is something I know how to deal with.  I have a system I use and everything – since writing can be essential to my being able to eat.   That system is, in a nutshell, stop trying to be so creative and just write the facts.

Just.  The.  Facts.

That’s when I realized I had forgotten what the facts were.

What was it I had wanted to write about Dave in the first place?  and why was I so sure it would be clever and interesting and funny?  Because, hey, from where I was sitting, it looked more like a pile of self-indulgent drivel.

So I moved on Plan B — Write Something Else.  And decided that, since I was in the midst of a genuine, real-life episode of writer’s block, I could write about that.  After all, wouldn’t that be valuable and interesting? For a writer to share a real-time, warts and all look at what writer’s block looks and feels like?

Guess what happened when I opened a new file and started writing about writer’s block?

Well…nothing you’re going to see here.

So it was on to Plan C – also known as, Screw This – I’ll Write it Tomorrow.

Which is today.

And that’s basically why you’re reading this now, instead of some amazingly witty essay effortlessly illustrating the many hilarious parallels between parenting and coaching.

But I did manage to write something.  And sometimes, when you have writer’s block, something is enough.

By Joel and Lisa Canfield

Joel & and Lisa Canfield are bestselling ghostwriters, expert copywriters, and are apparently married as well. This is their blog where they write for themselves when they're not too busy writing for other people, which, admittedly, isn't all that often. Find out more at (or just Lisa at

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