Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Category Archives: writer’s block

From the annals of modern medicine


Or: writers’ block is a bitch, but I can still talk and read things, like Ruth Myers’ new period PI page-turner.

My thanks to everyone who suggested I obtain a speech-to-text program as a temporary cure for my writers’ block.  I discovered that Microsoft Word has that function built in. I’m actually using it right now.

The program reproduces my words quite accurately. Moving the cursor around, inserting punctuation and deleting words however, is easier said than done. No, I mean it’s harder when said than done.  No that’s not what I mean either.  It’s quicker to make corrections with the keyboard than to speak them, but that exacerbates the as-yet-to-be-fully-diagnosed pain in my right forearm.

The chief suspect appears to be medial epicondylitis,  a form of tendinitis. Ten minutes at the keyboard and mouse makes my arm painful for hours.  Using my laptop and its palm rest, rather than my desktop PC, is marginally less unpleasant. If I stay away from the keyboard entirely the pain seems to hide for hours at a time, sometimes a day.

I can imagine my orthopedist telling me to simply stop writing and I’m good to go.  That would be like telling chronically injured Olympic star Lindsey Vonn to stop skiing.  Wait—she did stop skiing.  It would be like telling Tom Brady—okay stop with the athletic analogies.  (I’m really not saying this. The speech-to-text program must have mutated to AI. I’m switching back to two-finger typing.)

Regardless, I’m a writer. I’m not going to give it up. If I had to choose between painful writing or pain-free lollygagging—well, you know the answer. If you’re following along at home, I have an MRI scheduled soon.  Stay tuned.

Writers write. They also help other writers. Recently I read a new novel by mystery writer M. Ruth Myers. The novel was so new it hadn’t been published yet. I was what’s called a beta-reader.  When I and most writers I know write a book, we want to get feedback before a book is submitted to an editor and published.     Continue Reading →

Who invented “writer’s block” anyway?

Third of a three-part series

I just got a great idea. I’m writing the second installment of my Nostalgia City mystery series and in the middle of one chapter, my flow of words slowed to a trickle.  An idea occurred to me for an exciting, conflict-packed chapter later in the book, so I stopped what I was doing and wrote the chapter I’d just thought of.

This is good example of one way to avoid ever being at a loss for words: write what you’re most excited about first. That was one of the suggestions I covered last time in this three-part series on the make-believe scourge, writers block.

Here are my final three techniques to lubricate your creativity. Continue Reading →

Writer’s block doesn’t exist


Cat got your tongue? Or your fingers? Suffering a serious case of writer’s block? Impossible. Writer’s block’s doesn’t exist.

You may think you’re blocked, but can you write a grocery list, an email to your mother, a love letter? Unless both of your hands are broken, chances are you can still write. The problem is simply with quality, not necessarily quantity.

Whether we’re working on the great American novel, an online post or a business report, we all have had times when our production slowed down and we felt at a loss for just the right words. That’s not the time to say we’re blocked,  to lament we’re not Hemingway or even Grisham and flip from MSWord to Angry Birds .

You can work your way out of it—and quickly—with my method for getting the words to start flowing. I developed the following techniques over many years and included them in my first book, Write Like the Pros, published by John Wiley & Sons. Some of the suggestions are shortcuts taken from journalists, others are just common sense ways to help you relax and practice. Continue Reading →

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