Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

Tools for Overcoming Writer's Block

Last night I posted 15 essays on writing at

These were originally monthly columns for an online magazine called “Graceful Bee,” but I’m now making them available for a short time for anyone who needs a gentle boost to get writing.

Although written for scrapbookers, the ideas and concepts could inspire any writer. Often, when I’m working on a book, I dig through my personal bag of experiences to find raw materials. I then take a situation that I observed or participated in and RESHAPE that situation as a scene in my books.

For example, in Cut, Crop & Die, Kiki Lowenstein has a nearly disasterous visit to a spa. She’s covered with a mud paste, wrapped in plastic, and left for the goo to do its work. As she lies there on a table, newly cut grass from an open window drifts in and sets off an allergic reaction. But, because she’s wrapped tighter than an Egyptian mummy, Kiki can’t move. She can’t get up and close the window. In fact, the more she wriggles, the more she slides on the table. Eventually she’s headed for scooting off the table and out the open window.

It happened to me.

I kid you not.

I was at the Heartland Spa in Illinois. I’d been “exfoliated” by a woman who must have had a second career polishing furniture. I was slathered in a mud skin product. The woman left me there to complete the skin treatment, and outside a man started mowing the lawn. I cried for help but no one came. I started a slow slide–the table was slanted with my feet lower than my head–and I was aiming for that open window.

I won’t tell you how the situation resolved itself, but I will reiterate my point: recycle your life experiences. If you don’t have enough of them, well, maybe you are too busy playing it safe to have a cool life!

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