Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Cure for Writer’s Block

Filed under: Author Tips,Writers Block — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Linda Stamper Boyne, Guest Author

The human brain is an amazing thing. It has an incredible capacity to figure things out if we just get out of its way.

Example: I’ve had writer’s block. It’s been months since I’ve submitted a column for this publication.

writers-blockI’d sit down to write and, nothing. I’d try writing about some random topic to see if I could get the ball rolling, but the ball stayed motionless. I was a big, black, empty blob. Vast emptiness. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

“I can’t think of anything to write about. Why can’t I write?” The more I tried, the more frustrated I became. It was a viscious cycle of mental constipation.

So finally I just stopped trying. And it made me sad, to not be doing something I love, something that brings me joy. I missed being able to write.

If running was my thing and I was injured, I could go to physical therapy to get back in shape and out on the trail again. But for writing, I’d need to see a mental therapist, and that’s a whole other Pandora’s box we don’t need to open here.

So I waited.

As May’s snow turned into June’s rain, I did not write. In between July’s thunderstorms and glorious moments of sunshine, I awaited the freedom of inspiration.

Last week, the boys and I flew to Central Oregon to vacation with my family at Sunriver Resort, a mecca of recreation. The resort has 35 miles of bike paths, the Deschutes River winding through, the Cascade Mountains a stone’s throw away, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, stables and shopping. Anything we wish to do, we can do it there. And we did.

I threw myself into playing and family time. Family has a way of refocusing your self-image. I know with some family dynamics, that’s not a good thing, but in my case, it’s for the better.

In the hardcore, athletic community in which I live, I see my self on the very light end of the activity scale. I’m not an adrenaline junky. I’m not outdoorsy. I don’t live to bike or ski or fish. My friends call me their fancy friend.

My mom and sister were surprised by this self-description. To them, I am athletic and adventurous. I think it has to do with context, but I began to see myself through their lens. It re-adjusted my focus and, in some way, set me free. It allowed me to do things I wouldn’t at home.

So, while mountain biking along the Deschutes River south of Bend with the boys, inspiration finally came.

It was more trail riding than mountain biking in Vail Valley terms. The dirt trail rolled gently along the bank of the river with only a few rocks and roots as obstacle. Even on the hills, I never had to shift out of the center ring.

imaginaryFriendsRiding through one section where a lava flow made its way to the river a few years back, there were quite a few rocks poking up in the trail. From somewhere, I heard a voice say, “Focus on where you want to go, not on the obstacles.”

Who was that wise voice inside my head? My dad? The Dalai Lama? Mia from Vail Mountain Bike Camps? I don’t know.

I didn’t hit another rock during that whole section and then it came to me: “Wait a minute! I have been staring at the writer’s block instead of seeing the path around it.”

I wasn’t recognizing the interesting article, the fleeting thought or the funny conversation that usually grows into a column because all I could see was the giant block.

“Hold on! This applies to life as well!”

I’ve been focused on the obstacles in my day-to-day life, the problems, the issues, instead of looking down the path where I want to go. It’s all so clear now!

I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer at the end of the ride. I was suddenly flooded with ideas. I was finally free, my mind no longer locked up, or more accurately, blocked up.

Can you imagine if I started biking all the time? I might be able to find the solution for world peace so beauty queens of all nations could sleep peacefully once more.

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!
Authors: Maintain a “Thought Starter” File
Like Skipping Stones Across the Water…
The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)

Copyright © 2014 – Linda Stamper Boyne is a free-lance writer and lives in Vail, Colorado.



Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

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