A Writer's World : Blog Of The Nation The answers to life's debilitating cases of writer's block can be found outside.
NPR logo A Writer's World

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.