Five Cures for Writer’s Block

by Pamela S. Meyers, @pamelameyers

You’ve got a great idea for a story, then sit down to map it out and your mind goes blank. Or you are in the middle writing a story that is already plotted and you start to write the next chapter and you can’t find the right place to start the scene. Do you throw in the towel, get up from the computer and go to a movie, thinking maybe the movie’s storyline will jumpstart your muse.

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Writer’s block can strike any writer, newbie or veteran, at any time. Here are five ways I’ve overcome this problem. Maybe one of them will help you.

  1. Find books written by good writers in the same genre and start reading. I often find by reading a few pages by an author I like and appreciate, helps me to jump the hurdle of the beginning first sentence of the book or scene.
  2. Take it a step further and type out the scene verbatim. When I’ve done this, it’s as if my brain finds it’s groove after a page or two and I can then switch to my own story and the words begin to flow. This has worked for me and, in case you’re wondering, I haven’t started to write in the other author’s voice.
  3. Use writing prompts. Writers Digest used to have a monthly column devoted to the writing prompt of the month. I don’t think it’s a feature anymore, but I Googled for writing prompts and came up with dozens of hits. One of the most interesting was a website with a variety of different prompt types from first lines to character personalities to character names. Check it out for yourself at http://writingexercises.co.uk/.

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  1. Leafing through a writing magazine can help get the juices flowing. There are others besides Writers Digest, but since that’s the one I have handy, I just scanned the recent copy and found articles on putting emotion into your storyline and characters, an article on how to sharpen your story through studying criticism of others’ stories, and an entire section following the theme of love. When I read about how to make my writing better, I begin chomping at the bit to head to the keyboard and get writing.
  2. Just do it. Forget the gimmicks and prompts and sit down at the computer and start free writing. What you write today may not be your best writing, but it will get your brain into the writing mode and hopefully wake up your muse. Who knows? You may even like what you write today better than the first idea you had about the story.

Do you have tried and true methods for breaking writers block? Please share!

Read More Writing Tips

5 Types of Rough Drafts by Michelle Griep

Numbering Your Days with One Word by  Beth K. Vogt

It Only Takes A Spark. . . Or Does It? by Rachel Hauck


Second Chance Love

Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

Pamela S. Meyers lives in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Second Chance Love, and Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (a reissue of Love Finds You in Lake Geneva). Her novellas include: What Lies Ahead, in The Bucket List Dare collection, and If These Walls Could Talk, in Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Midwestern spots for new story ideas.

Don’t Head to a Writers Conference Without Packing These

by Pamela S. Meyers, @pamelameyers

Recently, my social media blew up with chatter about a new television movie. Set at a writers conference, the movie was great fun to watch, especially as the heroine, who was attending her first writers conference, had to overcome her fear of showing her first novel manuscript to anyone, especially complete strangers.

I was reminded how scary and unsettling a writers conference can be for a first-time conferee.

If you are about to attend your first writers conference in 2018, I say congratulations. You’ve made a very important step toward reaching your writing goals. Before you go,here are four things I suggest you pack besides clothing.

  1. Teachability. I’m not sure that’s even a word, but going into workshops and meetings with a teachable attitude is the best thing you can do for yourself. Learning the craft of writing takes hard work and practice. Even if something taught seems counter to what you’ve heard from others, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Make a note of it and come back to it later. You may find out it was good advice after all.
  2. Rhino Skin. If you are pitching your baby to an editor or agent, or maybe paid for a critique from a published writer or editor, you’d better not leave that thick skin at home. No matter how prepared you might think you are to hear negative comments, they still hurt. The rule of thumb for most writers who receive feedback from various people on the same writing is if you hear the negative comment only once, you don’t need to do anything. If you hear a similar comment twice about the same thing, give it some thought, but if you hear a similar comment three times, you need to take action.

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  1. A grateful attitude. There are not many places you can go to be in the presence of so many professionals from the publishing industry. They are there because they are looking for fresh new writers and want to help you grow in the craft. Every beginning writer should attend as many conferences as they can, but not all are able to. Soak it all in, take a lot of notes, and if possible, sign up for recordings of the classes you weren’t able to attend and listen to them.
  2. A positive outlook. Expect to receive negative feedback and plan ahead how you will handle it. Don’t take it personally. Remember an editor or agent appointment is usually about fifteen minutes long. The professional is trying to give you honest feedback in a limited time. Don’t become defensive and be sure to thank the person for their time and advice in a gracious manner. Then, if you need to, go back to your room and have a good cry.

The heroine in the movie at first became very defensive at what she perceived as a slam against her story and her writing, and she was ready to quit and go home. But by the end of the movie, she had a change of heart and began to see how the comments she once took offense to were actually helpful.

I’ll end this by saying my first writing conference turned out to be just what I needed to grow me as a writer. I went into the experience with a story I’d been working on that I was sure would wow editors and agents. In the end, it did none of that, but I learned volumes about starting my story in the right place, what kinds of details are important at the beginning of a story and what is not, and to never give up.

If you are a veteran writer, what was your first writers conference like? If you are planning to attend a writers conference for the first time, and have questions, please ask right here in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope all of you have a great writing year in 2018.


Second Chance Love

Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

Pamela S. Meyers lives in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Second Chance Love, and Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (a reissue of Love Finds You in Lake Geneva). Her novellas include: What Lies Ahead, in The Bucket List Dare collection, and If These Walls Could Talk, in Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Midwestern spots for new story ideas.

You Can Promote Your Book Anywhere

by Pamela S. Meyers, @pamelameyers

I’ve attended an annual Labor Day weekend rodeo in a very small town in southern Illinois for the past twelve years. For more than half those years I yearned to write a story set there. Last January my bookreleased.Second Chance Love, is about a San Antonio bull rider and a Chicago attorney who fall in love at the rodeo.

The town of Palestine, Illinois, where the rodeo takes place, is a very small town surrounded by corn and soybean fields. I knew no one there except for a few folks I’d met while sitting next to them in the stands, and I had no idea how I’d go about promoting my book and letting the people in Palestine know about it.Then a Divine appointment happened the same month my book released.

While attending a PBR (Professional Bull Riders) event, I met a couple from Palestine. I have no idea what the odds of that happening are, but they must be huge. After hearing about my book, the wife who goes by Karen, offered to help promote the story. Of course, I took her up on her offer.

A few weeks later, I heard from a woman at the town’s Chamber of Commerce office. Karen had given her a copy of the book, and she loved it. She gave it to the head of the rodeo committee, and they were considering introducing me during the three weekend rodeos over Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day was still months away, and things quieted down until this past summer when I heard from the coordinator of the street fair event. She invited to me sign my book at the street fair and planned to reserve a spot for me in front of her ice cream shop. I assured I had my own canopy (used when I attend an author fest event in my hometown), and would happily bring books to sell and sign. I then heard from the chairman of the rodeo who confirmed I’d be introduced at the beginning of all three rodeo events. Would I please send him my bio to be given to the rodeo announcer? A week before the rodeo, I head from a reporter from the Robinson, Illinois newspaper (a small town a few miles from Palestine). He planned to write an article about my book to go into a special rodeo section of the paper that week. By now I was plenty excited.

I found it hard to decide how many books to take. Experience had taught me to not expect every single person who stopped by my table to buy a book. Many people today don’t do much reading. I’ve learned from selling my books at craft fairs and other similar events, that books are in competition with television, online movies, games, and other entertainment.

As soon as I hit town on that Friday afternoon, I stopped by the Chamber office and was given a copy of the rodeo section of the paper. There was my picture and a long article with snippets from my telephone interview. That night was the first of the three rodeos, and I learned then I’d be walking out onto the arena floor alone. The rodeo announcer would stay behind the scenes on his horse, giving my intro. What took me by surprise was how he took that one-paragraph bio I’d sent and turned it into a thing of beauty. In his Texas drawl he made it friendly and folksy without embellishing. He even added a blurb about the storyline and encouraged people to stop by my canopy a signed copy of the book. While he spoke, the only thing I knew to do was wave in a queenly fashion and hold up a copy of the book. As I exited the arena (you can’t walk fast on that dirt!), the crowd applauded and I relaxed.One appearance down and two to go. Thankfully, I’d brought three different tops to wear. Jeans and boots were a given for all three events.

At the street fair, several people said they saw me introduced at the rodeo, and a few others mentioned the newspaper article. I sold about half of the books I brought with me and was pleased with that.

I learned more than one thing from the experience.

  1. People in small towns will go out of their way to make a person feel welcome and will work hard to help to promote a book that is set in their area.
  2. There is more than one way to promote a signing event. In my case it was word of mouth, newspaper publicity, and a special introduction done in a friendly way.
  3. Don’t go to any event expecting to sell out and don’t get hung up on that kind of expectation. Whatever you sell is a success.
  4. Relax and enjoy the moment, then take home the memories to be savored.

Have you had a unique experience while promoting one of your books? Please share!


Second Chance Love

Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

Pamela S. Meyers lives in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Second Chance Love, and Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (a reissue of Love Finds You in Lake Geneva). Her novellas include: What Lies Ahead, in The Bucket List Dare collection, and If These Walls Could Talk, in Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Midwestern spots for new story ideas.