Or why writer’s block is scarier than clowns*

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Perhaps the simplest way to deal with writer’s block is to prevent it in the first place. This means to assume that at any given time you may encounter it, so proactively arm yourself to keep it at bay.

Here are five simple ways to prevent writer’s block (or kick it in the butt when it rears its clowny face):

Headlines

Spend time the day before a writing session brainstorming headlines so that you are not facing a blank page. One of the best ways to do this is to read articles like…


Helen Kesler Pautz (July 11, 1931 — March 20, 2021)

Image property of Carla Paton

My mom died three days ago. She was 89. She survived the year of COVID in a nursing home and yet did not die from COVID. She died from normal things that people normally used to die from.

While I sat with her body in her room waiting for the Hospice social worker and nurse, a small woman appeared in the doorway. It took me a while to recognize her because it had been a year since I last saw her and she had her mask on. …


Three-time poetry Pulitzer Prize winner

Painting by Lilla Cabot Perry (1848–1933), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935) was born in Head Tide, Maine, but grew up in Gardiner, Maine. Many of Robinson’s poems are set in the fictitious Tilbury Town — based on his boyhood home of Gardiner, Maine. He attended Harvard for two years and then worked for a time in New York. He spent the last 20 years of his life as a regular summer resident at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire.

One of Robinson’s most famous poems is “Richard Cory.” (Made into song by Simon & Garfunkle, and Paul McCartney). …


Best known for Spoon River Anthology

Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Almost as much as their poetry, I enjoy reading about the lives of poets. Because I am beginning a poetry graduate certificate next month, I decided I would commit to a project of learning and writing about a poet a day. So, without further ado, where is the first in that series.

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950) was born in Garnett, Kansas, and grew up in Lewiston, Illinois. Lewiston is also home to the Oak Hill Cemetery whose permanent interred residents inspired Masters’ Spoon River Anthology (published 1915). The collection includes 212 separate characters, providing…


A fascinating history of computing told through vintage computer ads

If you are a fan of vintage advertising and are interested in the history of computing and computers, you will find the book, Do You Compute?: Selling Tech from the Atomic Age to the Y2K Bug 1950–1999, by Ryan Mungia (editor) and Steven Heller (introduction), an irresistible combination.


Rereading the classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald as an adult

Like most American high school students, I was required to read The Great Gatsby as a teenager. I remember not liking it, or at least not being impressed by it, but I don’t remember why.

Fast-forward (mumble-mumble) number of years…and it is required reading in my graduate English “Twentieth-Century American Novel” course. This time around it was an entirely different experience.

For one thing, I didn’t remember that Gatsby was such a hopeless romantic. And by hopeless I mean that he is frozen in time with his dream of what…


Here is a reasonably priced BuJo with extra goodies!

Image by Carla Paton

Earlier this year I took a short class on keeping a bullet journal for writers. I also bought two different bullet journals. One was a pricey gold-colored 6th Anniversary Special Edition from the originator of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll (Leuchtturm1917), or bulletjournal.com, and the other is a cheaper version but one that came with all kinds of goodies. I will discuss both and an alternative.

The Original Bullet Journal

If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal, it is basically blank numbered pages with a grid of tiny dots. The grid allows you to…


The Narcissus and Metamorphosis

Photo by Jonathan Diemel on Unsplash

“And whenever the earth blossoms with all kinds of fragrant Spring flowers, you will come back up again from the mist darkness, to the astonishment of gods and mortal men” (Boer 126).

What does it mean when Persephone takes hold of the narcissus? Why does her action open up the underworld? What does this set in motion? Does Gaia truly trick Persephone? Or, does some unconscious potential within Persephone push her to action like the life-force of a germinating seed seeking the light of the sun?

Some have argued that the capture and rape of Persephone…


Speed up your writing every time using AIDA

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

If you’re like me, you need to write fast to squeeze as much writing as possible into a session before the day makes other demands on your time.

In this article, I share the copywriting technique known as, “AIDA” — which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Normally, the function of AIDA is to sell a product or service, but here I will explain how you can use it to increase both your writing speed as well as your reader’s engagement.

Before jumping in, it is always a good idea to…


Getting down your first draft doesn’t have to involve bloodshed

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Unsplash

Once you have established your writing habit, you’ll want to find ways to make the most of that hard-fought-for time. Below, I share three time-honored ways that have helped me to successfully complete first drafts.

Write Before You Write

Perhaps I should label this, “Think Before You Write.” Every time/day that you write, come up with at least one more related topic to write about the next day or future days. In my last post, I talked about the spreadsheet that I use to keep my future topic ideas. …

Carla Paton

Writer, Poet, Rancher, Ph.D. ABD, MA, MASCIS — Free writing prompts! https://dailymusebooks.org — As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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