Dealing with Writer’s Block

writers-block“The other day on Facebook, on of my friends (*ahem, Lisa Hendey*) suggested I recommend some tips for overcoming writer’s block. Being a Catholic editor and all, my first thought was to swipe the advice of St. Benedict: “Ora et labora” (pray and work).

Then I thought I’d do what I SAID I’d be doing here, which is to open it up to the wisdom of other writers. With that in mind, I’d like to connect you with this article from “Fire Your Mentor: Top 15 Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block.”

“Pressure, fear, stress, trauma, anxiety, the beginning or ending of a particular project….the list goes on, can cause that crippling feeling of frustration and fear,” writes Munmi Sarma. “Fortunately there are as many techniques to combat writer’s block as there are causes.” He goes on to list 15 of them, most of which can be divided into three categories:

* Environmental diversions. (electronics, other deadlines and demands, unattended bodily needs

* Internal distractions. (stress, negative self-talk, and lack of focus)

* Lack of inspiration.

It’s this third category, it seems, that most writers associate with “writer’s block,” though to be honest the first two are the most likely culprits. Writing is both an art and a discipline. And while writing exercises, “artist’s dates” (courtesy of Julia Cameron) and writer’s retreats are all wonderful in their time and place, for most of us writing is 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration!

I’ve heard more than one author compare writing a book to childbirth. I’d say it’s also like parenting: a lot of it is just showing up. Setting goals, and dividing them into manageable tasks. Priming the pump with solid source material. And just showing up at the appointed time, and not getting up until you’ve reached your goal.

What are some of the ways YOU have dealt with the empty page?

For more tips and information for Catholic writers, head on over to my NEW blog, “Ask a Catholic Editor.”

Lunch with Fiat #GraceofYes

When I picked up an advance copy of Lisa Hendey’s new book The Grace of Yes, the goldfish (“Fiat,” or “Yes”) whispered to me … “Say, I’ve never been on a walking tour of Notre Dame before. How about it?”

And so, to celebrate with the rest of Lisa’s MANY fans in and out of cyberspace, Fiat and I hit the Grotto, where we introduced Fiat to Bernadette, lit a candle, and took a selfie with OLoL (who had already gotten her advance copy, and enjoyed it very much.)

Fiat and Bernadette Fight lights a candle Heidi and Fiat

Congratulations, Lisa! Looking forward to your launch on the 18th!

Wee Read Wednesday: “Handbook for Catholic Moms”

Happy Ash Wednesday!  Are you a bit late picking up your Lenten reading?  Here’s an idea for you … creator and podcasting dynamo Lisa Hendey is a consummate networker, forging partnerships and making connections between women (and a few lucky men) with charm and grace. Using the most cutting-edge “new media,” including multiple blogs and podcasts, she has become a force to be reckoned with … and yet a kinder, gentler soul you could never hope to meet.

Her latest contribution to the media is a book entitled The Handbook for Catholic Moms, a dip-in-and-set-aside, mom-friendly offering that brings to min the kind of connections that were for centuries part-and-parcel of the womanly experience … dispensing and gleaning nuggets of feminine around the village well, quilting frame, or (more recently) the comment sections of  e-zines such as “Faith and Family Online.”

This book, then, is vintage Hendey. Drawing from the collective wisdom of dozens of faith-filled women, Hendey edits and expertly arranges each offering into readily accessible form, with sections dedicated to healthy hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.  Checklists, quotes, online resource, and snippets of advice are intermingled with the wisdom of saints and prayer starters on topics ranging from health maintenance to character formation to friendship and intimacy.

Pick up a copy to savor the next time you need a relaxing read!