The Writer’s Arch-Nemisis: Writer’s Block

At one time or another, and more than writers like to admit, we get writer’s block. Being uninspired is frustrating and always seems to come at a time where it is very unwelcome. Whether it is right before a deadline or when you want to write for yourself, it’s frustrating.

That’s how this post came about.  My good friend and fellow blogger at Ruffly and Sweet asked me what I was planning on blogging about this week and I said that I didn’t know. She told me that is exactly what I should blog about.

This is the first time that I haven’t come across an article that I wanted to blog about or have had a fabulous experience that I wanted to share for Person of Letters. I just haven’t really been inspired to write and I haven’t been writing as often. But for me, the best thing to do when I’m feeling uninspired it to talk it out, either to myself or to those around me who are willing to listen. That’s how I became inspired today.

I’m the ultimate procrastinator and that coupled with writer’s block can make what I do extra difficult, but this is when I thrive. I feel my writing is best when the pressure is on and I know that I have to put my nose to the grindstone and turn things out quickly. I’ve always been this way and let’s face it; I’m not going to change. So I cope and I trudge through and I continue to write.

How do you cope with writer’s block? What do you do to get inspired? Share you suggestions for coping with writer’s block in the comments section!

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Why Do We Blog?

My friend and I were having breakfast on Saturday and she told me that she was starting a blog. I can’t tell you anything about it yet, but once it’s up and running I will share it with you with her blessing. We talked a bit about why we wanted to blog and I wanted to share with you why I blog.

I started the Person of Letters blog for myself. I wanted to write something that I was interested in and provide myself an outlet for creativity and to write in complete sentences. When you write resumes, sometimes you forget how to write a complete sentence. I love being able to share my thoughts, struggles and ideas with a community who is interested and understands.

This blog has become so much more for me. Now it is about you, my readers, too. I am encouraged all the time by your comments, so please continue leaving them.  I never thought that I would have the number of followers that I have either. I love that you all Tweet me and ask when I am going to post next. You drive me to want to write more often.

It’s your turn.  Tell me why you blog and why you chose to blog about what you do. What does your blog mean to you? I can’t wait to read all of your comments!

Book Review: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. I received it as a gift from my friend Allie some time ago.  I decided now was a good time as any to pick it up and read it.

I’m not a short story reader, nor do I really read collections of essays. As I started reading this I found the familiarity of James Patterson-style chapters, but with each mini-chapter telling a new story. I really didn’t think I was going to be the target reader for this book either. Scottoline writes a lot about her age, empty nesting and her divorces from Thing I and Thing II. I have to say I chuckled every time I read that.

While I couldn’t be sympathetic or understand some of the issues she writes about in the book, I found myself identifying parallels in my own life as she talked about her relationship with her daughter Francesca in her own words and in Francesca’s, as well as with Mother Mary.  But where I felt I could bond with her most were the sections where she wrote about her struggle to be a writer and her love of animals.

The particular story that stayed with me was about the death of her and Francesca’s beloved Golden Retriever Lucy. While Lucy was a dog, her bond with the Scottoline women reminded me much of my mom and I’s bond with our dear cat Skippy who passed years ago now. The mannerisms, the loyalty to Francesca and the grief over her death brought me back to a moment in time from years ago. It also opened my eyes to the life lessons Scottoline has introduced throughout the book.

In each and every story I read I found myself learning something about life. I know now to always to wear a bra because you never know when a Corgi is going to bite the tip of your finger off. I know I’m not the only one who is a constant interrupter and that it’s a good thing I am or a conversation would be extremely boring. I learned that wanting to have something done ASAP will cost you a lot of money, but if you have the money to spend to have it done ASAP why not? I also learned a lot about not giving up on your dream and even if you struggle in the beginning, it can happen for you. Reaching your goals takes time. Life isn’t always easy, but you fight the fight for what you want.

I recommend this book, written by a 50-something, to anyone who is a mother, who has a child, who is an animal lover, who has a best friend, who is a writer and who wants to be a writer at any age.  Take it from a late 20-something.

Is a Library a Library Without Books?

I was a library junkie when I was a kid. I grew up spending my summers with the Chicago Public Library, first completing the summer reading program and then as a volunteer. I love the smell of books and browsing the shelves for a new find. I still do.

I saw the headline “Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?” on the Time website. Colleges are now creating bookless libraries with lots of seats and computers that have access to the library’s collection of electronic materials.

I suppose this was bound to happen with the advances in technology, but it poses a few great questions. What happens when a server goes down or a power outage happens? How do you access any materials? How do you archive your materials?

I’m old school and I know it. I like being able to make notes on paper and highlight things. Those techniques are what helps me write and outline the point I want to convey to others. Sure you can do all of that on the iPad and the Kindle. Some of you would probably call me a tree killer.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I still love to write drafts out on a legal pad or a journal to outline my thoughts. I couldn’t think of being in college and not having books to put notations with Post-It notes.

What do you guys think? Is a library a library without books? Or is it just a study room? Do you think that bookless libraries are going to be the new trend? Leave me a comment below or tweet me.

The Start of the End of the Importance of Writing?

Standardized tests and I never got along.  Well at least the math and science part.  But I dealt with it; we all did.

I was on Twitter this morning and came across an article from the Chicago Tribune with the title Illinois cancels the state’s last writing exam. It’s well known that the State of Illinois has money problems and it didn’t surprise me one bit that the writing test of juniors in high school has been cut due to budget constraints. Illinois is not alone in ridding writing exams to save money.

The article does a good job of being objective and showing both sides of the coin. But I’m extremely bothered by this. I’ve spoken with a colleague of mine, also a writer, and my good friend, who hold a degree in English, and both came to the same conclusion. What kind of communicators are the next generations going to be?

People struggle with writing, myself included. But if the importance of academia is shifting toward math and science, because that’s where the money is moving it, what’s is going to happen to the art of writing? Where does the practice go?

Technology has already made handwriting obsolete and many schools are phasing it out of their curriculum. Teenagers and business professionals have already resulted to using slang and text message speak in professional correspondence. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve received an email signed with tks.

If the use of proper language and spelling have already diminished, what is going to happen to the art of writing? Are essays, business correspondence, novels and poetry going to be written with text message jargon and misspellings? Is it going to be 1ce  upon time?

Experts say that the test will be eventually implemented again, but at what cost? Isn’t having well-educated science buff and mathematicians that can communicate their findings in words important to the continued growth of the country?

Writers, what do you think of this? What kind of damage do you think laws and cost-saving measures like this will do to the future of writing?