A Writer's World

The writers in Hollywood may have been on strike these past three months,* but that doesn't mean the rest of us would-be memoirists and next-great-American-novelist hopefuls have stopped scribbling. We're still chipping away at those chapters, hoping to complete the seemingly never-ending project before our next birthday rolls around. The closest we come to a strike is a stubborn and persistent bout of writer's block. And we've all been there. Some have the resolve to push through, no matter how much time they waste staring at a blank computer screen, the blinking cursor taunting them with its annoying consistency. I admire those writers. For others — people like me — we can go weeks without writing a single creative sentence (outside of work demands, of course), and no manner of staring or thumb tapping will deliver the ever-elusive inspiration. Well, this past weekend I discovered the antidote; and it's so simple: get out, immerse yourself in the outside world. Take a walk. Get material from the jogger that clearly never learned how to run, or the woman who "walks" her pugs in a baby stroller.** Sit in a coffee shop or cafe. Observe the characters around you. If nothing else, you can eavesdrop on the conversation next to you — who knows, you might come away with some choice snippets of dialogue. I've been living in DC for a year now, and I've finally found my favorite spot to write: Busboys and Poets. It's a bookshop, restaurant, lounge, and art house all in one; and it's rife with quirky personalities just begging to be written — a writer's paradise. So tell us, where is your favorite place to exercise the pen? And how do you overcome writer's block?

* Updates on the strike's current status here, here and here. And here. :-)
** Yes, they were wearing bonnets.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.