39: Ways to Break Through Writer’s Block

Is writer’s block real? Yes. Can you beat it? What to do when you have writer’s block. Writer’s block is not a permanent condition, and there are ways to minimize its impact.

The question of the week is: What is your favorite way to get unstuck and beat writer’s block?

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Transcript
Kathrese:

Is writer's block real? Yes. Can you beat it?

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Also? Yes. Many pointers to come in this episode of writing

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pursuits. Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast where authors

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like you discuss writing craft, author life and book marketing

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strategies. I'm your host Kathrese. McKee. I own writing

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pursuits and write and produce the weekly newsletter writing

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pursuits, tips for authors. In addition, I am a speculative

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fiction author, writing procedures for authors who drink

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too much coffee, endure judgemental looks from their

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furry writing, convenience and struggle for words. If you are a

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writer seeking encouragement, information and inspiration,

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this podcast is for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing pursuits

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authors. Welcome

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back to the podcast. For those of you who are new, I want to

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extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese McKee. And I'm

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glad you're here. Please leave a comment a star rating and follow

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the show to help others find writing pursuits is writer's

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block real? Yes. For you curmudgeons out there, you

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writer's block deniers just move on. Go somewhere else here, take

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your hat and leave the doors that way. writer's block is too

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well documented and widely experienced to be denied by

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people who look at life in an honest way. If you've never

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experienced writer's block, then you simply haven't had it yet.

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For everyone else, be assured. writer's block is not a

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permanent condition. And there are ways to minimize its impact.

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So let's get to it. What is writer's block. If you sit down

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to write on your latest work in progress and simply get stuck,

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unable to proceed? That is a form of writer's block.

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According to the online Oxford Dictionary, writer's block is

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the condition of being unable to think of what to write, or how

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to proceed with writing. Merriam Webster defines writer's block

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as a psychological inhibition, preventing a writer from

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proceeding with a piece anxiety and grief can play a part.

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Fatigue is usually a factor. Burnout happens when you feel

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swamped and overwhelmed. Everyone my friend goes through

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these things and sometimes it makes us unable to write well,

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or unable to write at all. Some people have better luck pushing

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through others grind to a standstill. writer's block is

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not a moral failure. If you are at a standstill. I'm not saying

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it will be easy to regain momentum. But it is possible to

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find your way back eventually, by using some of the following

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techniques. You must be persistent, but you must also be

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kind to yourself. I see you curmudgeons lurking on the

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sidelines waiting for your moment to chime in. Your reality

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doesn't match the real life experiences of other authors

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writing isn't the problem thinking is you know how to

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write you love to form word pictures and communicate

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thoughts and imaginative stories and create emotional experiences

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through your writing. Words are your jam. Writing is not the

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cause of writer's block thinking is disclaimer I'm not a

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therapist, psychologist, a psychiatrist or any other type

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of mental health professional. This is not intended as medical

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treatment. If you are suffering from dark thoughts, please seek

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professional medical care mindset and mental health and

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brain hygiene can stop a writer mid sentence. Most techniques

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authors use to get past writer's block center on helping the

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brain function better. Mindset is meta because we're thinking

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about thinking with our thinker. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist

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being silly mental health. So why is mental health so

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difficult to treat and improve? Mental health is swayed by

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trauma and internalized beliefs, our emotional state and physical

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factors like hormones, neurotransmitters, exercise,

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food choices, and sleeping habits. Unfortunately, mental

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health is a fuzzy catchphrase, which these days is very

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frequently politicized to demonize and abused. So I'm

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sorry about that very unfortunate. Brain hygiene is a

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concept most people do not know about. But like dental hygiene,

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it can make a huge difference over time. As you can probably

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guess brain hygiene directly affects mental health. Some

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physical factors are outside our control, like how much dopamine

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is present in our brains. Also environmental factors are often

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out of our control. Brain hygiene involves us following

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factors consciousness, which is being present in the moment to

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monitor your thoughts, food choices, alcohol use, drug use

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both over the counter and prescriptions, caffeine intake,

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exercise, rest and sleep, environmental conditions, social

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interactions and curiosity. Your brain is your machine, take care

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of it. The most wonderful aspect about brains is how they react

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to positive action. They are able to heal and to work better

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with persistent intentional care. take positive action to

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affect your thinking. If you accept that writer's block is

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about how thinking affects writing, then you are ready to

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put some practices and habits in place to positively affect your

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about each of the brain hygiene factors we just talked about. So

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we will only hit the high spots. Writing pursuits is run by

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Kathrese. McKee, who has been trusted by fiction authors since

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2014. To take their writing to a new level of excellence.

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Guthrie's is a three story methods certified editor who

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specializes in story diagnostics, coaching, and line

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editing to help you prepare your story for the journey ahead. For

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more information, go to writing pursuits.com. The link is in the

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show notes. And now back to the podcast. We will go over some

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techniques authors have found helpful, the rest is up to you.

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conscious action is required. So first, stop. Listen to your

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subconscious warnings something it needs to be fixed. heed your

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body in mind when they are tired. Second, relax, take a

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bath or a shower. I'm telling you water is magical. Take a

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break, take a nap. Or just try to take a nap lights off cool

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room sometime during the futile attempt to sleep. ideas may

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swamp your mind. And finally get a full night of rest. Third,

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prepare every day when you sit down to write prepare. Create a

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space that is writer friendly, be rested. Warm up with a

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handwritten page about your life before you begin work.

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Handwritten pages will change your life. It's based on brain

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science, there's a connection there that isn't available to

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you when you're typing on a computer. Fourth, work in short

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increments Pomodoro is that a word? If not, it should be start

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small with 510 or 15 minute sessions, rest between each

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session, and then go at it again. Fifth, switch intentions

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for writing. Write to prompts every day until you get unstuck.

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Go for a walk or go on an errand with purpose. When you return.

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Write about what you saw or heard or felt while you are

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away. Work on a different writing project. Start a new

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writing project. That's not the same thing. You can switch

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between projects or you could start something entirely new. Or

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you could try something new that you've never done before like

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writing poetry or lyrics. Free write about nothing in

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particular, turn off your filters. use pen and paper to

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get an entirely different experience from sitting at a

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computer. Six, swap environments, change your

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environment go to the coffee shop, go to the park and sit at

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a table. Running water like a spring or fountain is supposed

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to be helpful. I love being your fountain while I write number

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seven. Use curiosity about your story. This is probably the most

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powerful tool. Imagine a fan fiction version or spin off of

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your story and write that. Ask yourself what if questions? What

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if my MC has an evil twin? What if my MC loses their job? What

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if my MC is abducted for one night by aliens? Get a silly or

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as serious as you can write down your answers silly or not.

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Eventually, you may have a breakthrough. Write about your

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characters when they were far younger, or what they might be

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like far in the future. This isn't for the story, but knowing

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their pasts, or predicting their futures may help you get

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unstuck. Write a letter from the main character to someone else

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in the story. Or write a letter by a secondary character to a

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non character, someone who is not part of your story. Let your

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side character predict what they think is going to happen or how

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they secretly feel about what has been going on. Ask yourself

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questions about why why why this is the five year olds trick,

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right? Why is the character acting this way? Why did They

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react to something in their past like that. Why are they

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triggered by someone? Why do they believe that thing about

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themselves? Why did they react that way? Why why why? Interview

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a character interview a setting I mean, why not skip to a scene

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you really want to write and give it a go. Assign something

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ridiculous for your characters to do. blow something up in your

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story. Make a character fall down a flight of stairs

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unexpectedly swap lines between characters and see where it

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goes. Plot backward from the desired ending. What needs to

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happen before that to lead to the end before that, and before

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that, or maybe your brain knows the ending isn't right. So

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explore alternative endings. And finally, the easy one, go do

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some research. You never know. You never know what's going to

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happen next. The last exercise, though for drive a walk a run or

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swim, meditate, do yoga. Do something that keeps your hands

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busy like washing the car, or the dishes or raking leaves,

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leaves, leaves, raking leaves. Leave your mind free to roam. Go

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play with the kids or the dog. Volunteer to run someone's

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errand. Distract yourself. listen to audiobooks use a

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different creative outlet to relax your mind. Like drawing

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painting, making music, carpentry or gardening make a

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collage, dance knit crochet or rearrange a room. Watch a movie

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or binge a show. listen to a podcast. Hint hint. All these

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suggestions are about moving your mindset, improving your

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mental health and performing brain hygiene to get you past

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this temporary sticking place. Being stuck does not mean you

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are unable to write it doesn't mean you aren't meant to be a

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writer. Only you choose whether you are a writer getting past

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writer's block takes persistent conscious action. You can do

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this. Give yourself grace. Keep trying and you will make it

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through. This week's question is What is your favorite way to get

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unstuck and beat writer's block.

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That's all I have for this week. Until next time, keep writing.

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Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode,

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please leave a comment and follow the podcast. If you're

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new around here. I hope you will sign up for the weekly

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newsletter writing pursuits. Tips for authors that link and

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all the links mentioned in today's episode are in the show

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notes at writing pursuits.com. Please join us on Wednesdays for

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new episodes and keep writing my friends. Keep writing

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