14 Tips for Banishing Writer’s Block


“I’m not the most talented writer in the world. I know that. But I also know that I’m disciplined, that I work my butt off, and that I make myself write as much as I can. Writer’s block is a luxury I can’t afford. I’m a professional writer, which means that I put my butt in the chair each day, and I write. Simple as that.” David B. Coe

When I was taking — and subsequently teaching — creative writing courses, a maxim I learned from one of my instructors sticks with me to this day. It goes like this. There are two ways writers approach a blank page: one is with fear because the writer has to fill it, and one is with exhilaration because the writer gets to fill it.

William Faulkner called it the tyranny of the blank page — you’re ready to write, but nothing seems to come. It’s those two dreaded words we’ve all experienced at one time or another — writer’s block.

Writer’s block happens for all sorts of reasons. For copywriters, it’s often the desire for the writing to be perfect… while still completing the assignment on time.

You do your research. You learn the subject matter. But you might be uncertain what your readers know. You second-guess what to include.

You know what direction you want to take the promotion, but you don’t have all the facts you need. Or you know what you want to say, but you’re afraid it won’t measure up to your client’s expectations or, worse, your readers’.

The thing is, all of these feelings are natural and normal. Everyone finds writing a challenge sometimes. Many writers, however, compound their problems by not dealing with writer’s block directly, which can result in the abandonment of the project. Not good.

The late Don Mahoney, Co-Founder of AWAI and Master Copywriter, mentored me on more than one project back when I was a “newbie.” He once laid out for me his “14 Tips” for banishing writer’s block. They are worth keeping handy. Here they are with just a bit of embellishment added by yours truly…

If you’re stuck at the onset of a project, you probably don’t have enough information about your subject matter. This is the most common reason for writer’s block and 11 of Don’s tips focus on getting you over that hump.

1) Identify your creative time — Whether it’s early in the morning, late at night, or whenever. There’s a time of day when you’re most creative and that’s when to attack your work.

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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