How To Inject New Life Into YOUR Writing

37 replies
This is directed to those who have been writing for quite some time.

Have you become complacent with your writing? Are you writing on autopilot?
As a result, have you lost your audience because the feeling in your writing
is gone?

If you suspect that this might be the case, here are a few tips that should
help get you out of the funk that you're in.

1. The simplest tip is to just read what you write after you've written it. Does
it make you feel anything at all, or does it just lay there flat? Does it sound
like you swallowed a dictionary but none of the words invoke emotion? If so,
try rewriting it with a slightly different tone. See what areas you can improve
without changing any of the message you're trying to convey.

2. Another thing you can do is try writing about something you don't
normally write about. Many writers get into ruts because they write about
the same things over and over. If you pick a topic that you don't normally
write on, it will do two things.

The first thing it will do is get you back into research mode. If you write
about things you always write about and know inside and out, you're
really not expanding your mind or your knowledge. By picking a new topic
and having to do research on it, you sharpen your research skills and also
inject some fire into your writing. Why? Because writing about something
new, if you're a writer, is always exciting. It's like going out with a new
girl or guy.

3. The last thing, and it's something you might want to try only as a last
resort, is to stop writing for a while. No matter how much you love to do
something, if you do it day in and day out, there is always a chance that
you'll just get bored. So take a break. Do something else. Now, this may
be hard to do if writing is your livelihood, but even people who write for
a living take vacations. At the very least, allow yourself a few days to
recharge your batteries and get some new life into your writing. After some
time away, you'll find that the juices will begin flowing again and your
writing will improve.

Try any or all of the above.

You might be surprised at the results.
#complacent #writing
  • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
    Great tips Steve! Another thing I find helps is just to get myself into a good mood before writing. When I'm tired or cranky my writing tends to be flatter.

    Wendy
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Steven,

      Very useful tips. Complacency is dangerous to a writer. If we get bored, we get boring.

      Here are some other things that can help to get out of the rut.

      --> Choose a different purpose than usual. Try to get the reader to do something new. If you've been focusing on getting them to affiliate pages, start building a list instead. If you've been working on your list, write something controversial and drive them to a survey. Put the opt-in form after that.

      --> Write to a different segment of your market. If you've been focused on people who are new to your topic, do something for the more advanced part of the audience.

      --> Change your voice. If you do articles, rather than an ongoing newsletter, this is both easy and a lot of fun. Put down the quill pen and pick up a flamethrower. Or vice versa. Or switch from serious to funny.

      --> Write something just for yourself. Something you want to write, but don't know that your audience will want or need to hear. Make it a wake up call about something you need to do differently. (We all have those areas, don't we?)

      --> Re-examine your picture of the person you're writing for. Remind yourself of who is reading your stuff, and what they need to get from you. When you're really clear on who you're writing for, it's easier to stay focused.

      --> Brainstorm. Make a list of 50 article or report titles. Don't stop until you have that many. Then pick the one that sounds like the most fun, and do it up in an outrageous style. Even if you only do a page or so a day, that can re-energize you for all the rest of the writing you do.

      --> Read a different kind of book than you usually do. Something so out of your usual style that it seems strange to even pick it up. This one can be hard for some people, but it's really effective in jolting you out of the "usuals."

      --> Stand up. Put your arms straight out to your sides, and rotate them in circles, about 1 foot in diameter. Do that 20 times, and then reverse directions and do it another 20 times. Then twist until your left arm is as far around behind you as possible. Turn and do the same to your right. Then loosen up your neck.

      When you get the blood flowing, you'll find that your mind flows more freely, too. This also helps to reduce the stress of sitting in the same position and repeating the same motion over and over.

      --> Go out some place where there are a lot of people, and just watch. Or get into a conversation with someone in a restaurant. Let them do the talking. Be interested in what they're saying.

      See whatever they're talking about from their perspective. Doesn't sound like it's related to the point, but it makes a big difference.

      There are tons of ways to get refocused. These are only a few. But they work.


      Paul
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      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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    • Profile picture of the author traces2757
      Originally Posted by WritingMadwoman View Post

      Great tips Steve! Another thing I find helps is just to get myself into a good mood before writing. When I'm tired or cranky my writing tends to be flatter.

      Wendy
      I agree with the mood thing, Wendy. One of the things I do is put on the earphones and listen to music that gets me charged up. It helps the writing flow and keeps me smiling and singing. (Yes, you *can* learn to write and sing at the same time!)
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      • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
        Originally Posted by traces2757 View Post

        I agree with the mood thing, Wendy. One of the things I do is put on the earphones and listen to music that gets me charged up. It helps the writing flow and keeps me smiling and singing. (Yes, you *can* learn to write and sing at the same time!)
        Tracy, yes, music is good! Although I find if it has lyrics it does distract me so I don't think I can write and sing at the same time.

        Wendy
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        • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
          Originally Posted by WritingMadwoman View Post

          Tracy, yes, music is good! Although I find if it has lyrics it does distract me so I don't think I can write and sing at the same time.

          Wendy
          Hi Wendy,

          it's the same for me too. Lyrics distract me.

          I tend to find that new age music works best. Most stuff by Steven Halpern
          seems to work well, especially the CDs with subliminal success messages ;-)

          Speaking of subliminal. I came across Paul Tuthill's stuff (80s), which I really
          like, and about a year ago I had a bad case of writer's block (and a deadline),
          and so I took out his tape (!) "I can do it!" popped it into the cassette deck, and
          within minutes I was typing away. Placebo effect? Who cares!

          I also just found another cool resource on Jason Fladlien's new membership
          site: A paraliminal tape that increases focus. I just got it and haven't yet
          attempted to use it for writing, but it increased my speed exponentially for
          an editing job I had been slaving over forever.

          Will use it on writing as soon as I have that editing thing completed!

          Elisabeth
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          • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
            Originally Posted by wordwizard View Post

            I tend to find that new age music works best. Most stuff by Steven Halpern seems to work well, especially the CDs with subliminal success messages ;-)

            Speaking of subliminal. I came across Paul Tuthill's stuff (80s), which I really
            like, and about a year ago I had a bad case of writer's block (and a deadline),
            and so I took out his tape (!) "I can do it!" popped it into the cassette deck, and within minutes I was typing away. Placebo effect? Who cares!

            Elisabeth, me too! I have some great binaural beat audios that I love to put on while I'm working, and some good subliminal meditation audios with nature sounds in the background. Very soothing and they help cut out noise from the rest of the house.

            Wendy
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    • Profile picture of the author angela99
      Originally Posted by WritingMadwoman View Post

      Great tips Steve! Another thing I find helps is just to get myself into a good mood before writing. When I'm tired or cranky my writing tends to be flatter.

      Wendy
      I do this too. In fact, I avoid writing when I'm not enthusiastic about a topic.

      If you're bored with a piece of writing, you'll lose readers, simply because your boredom comes across in the words. There's no way to avoid this.

      Tips to get enthusiastic:

      * Ask yourself what writing this article/ blog/ ebook/ news release/ whatever will do for you, and then WRITE IT DOWN.

      For example, when writing an article: "Over the next 12 months, this article will make me at minimum of $250 on my blog. If I develop it into a series, it will make me a minimum of $2,500."

      (I tend to get motivated by money. :-))

      * Visualize the piece of writing as complete, done, and published. Images stimulate your right brain, which makes you more creative -- you can do this in seconds. Just take a deep breath, and close your eyes. See yourself typing, with your fingers hitting the keyboard. Then imagine your feelings of satisfaction... let yourself really FEEL.

      * Get writing heroes, alive or dead who'll inspire you. My writing heroes include Barbara Cartland for her immense productivity, and Captain James Cook for his courage. One of my life goals is to see Cook's Endeavour Journal -- The Endeavour Journal of James Cook

      * Make writing fun for yourself. I do this by setting personal challenges, and also by changing the way I write: if I'm bored with the computer, I switch to pen and paper, or use Mac Dictate for an hour or two. Or I take myself to our local library and write there.

      Sometimes, I promise myself a treat/ reward after writing. I'm highly motivated by chocolate.

      Happy writing. :-)

      Cheers

      Angela
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      • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
        Originally Posted by angela99 View Post

        * Ask yourself what writing this article/ blog/ ebook/ news release/ whatever will do for you, and then WRITE IT DOWN.

        For example, when writing an article: "Over the next 12 months, this article will make me at minimum of $250 on my blog. If I develop it into a series, it will make me a minimum of $2,500."

        (I tend to get motivated by money. :-))

        Angela, LOVE your tips! I had to laugh about the money one because just this morning I was tempted to procrastinate on my latest project but I think your money motivator will get me moving again!

        Wendy
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  • Profile picture of the author lisawood
    I have to be in an environment where I can focus, and I do have to be in the right mindset. Sometimes I can just crank out articles, and other times it's just too hard. I think it's different for everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author InternetM39482
    Great tips Steve and Paul.

    Complacency is dangerous - in any business model.

    Trying something you haven't already is a pretty good way, in my opinion, to rediscover the interest.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi,

      Great lesson here - if you're looking beyond the obvious.

      Anyone else see it?
      Signature


      Roger Davis

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      • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Hi,

        Great lesson here - if you're looking beyond the obvious.

        Anyone else see it?
        I think so.. did it arrive around post 3?...

        Peace

        Jay
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        Bare Murkage.........

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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Hi,

        Great lesson here - if you're looking beyond the obvious.

        Anyone else see it?

        Hey Rog, could you clue in those of us who are just oblivious to "beyond
        the obvious?"

        Sometimes even the obvious escapes me.
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi Steven,

          Hey Rog, could you clue in those of us who are just oblivious to "beyond
          the obvious?"

          Sometimes even the obvious escapes me.
          I find that very difficult to believe Nice try though.

          I would refer you to Admin's avatar on that one

          It's one of those lessons. To see the lesson, one has to make a temporary assumption. And if I were to spell it out, the assumption itself could offend, although in reality, it's purely a complimentary assumption. Therefore, the only way to see it is to read the thread, look for the lesson and find it.

          It's a 'how to...' lesson.

          Sorry to be so vague. I appreciate that you are the OP, therefore it's worth mentioning that it's not a sly dig at yourself or anything like that.
          Signature


          Roger Davis

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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
            Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

            Hi Steven,

            I find that very difficult to believe Nice try though.

            I would refer you to Admin's avatar on that one

            It's one of those lessons. To see the lesson, one has to make a temporary assumption. And if I were to spell it out, the assumption itself could offend, although in reality, it's purely a complimentary assumption. Therefore, the only way to see it is to read the thread, look for the lesson and find it.

            It's a 'how to...' lesson.

            Sorry to be so vague. I appreciate that you are the OP, therefore it's worth mentioning that it's not a sly dig at yourself or anything like that.

            No dig taken Rog. I think I finally figured out what you're talking about.

            If I'm right, your complimentary assumption is probably correct.
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            • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
              One thing that helps with this is to write something intentionally NOT serious. Write something silly, goofy or totally unprofessional. Write a hard-boiled detective short story with intentionally bad dialogue. Write a mini-chapter for a romance novel for dogs. Doing this:

              1. Reminds you that you should be having FUN.

              2. Gets your creative juices flowing because you're arranging ideas that don't necessarily make sense or naturally go together (in other words, you're "thinking outside the box").

              There's a thin line between genius and insanity. Use it to your advantage.
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        • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          Hey Rog, could you clue in those of us who are just oblivious to "beyond
          the obvious?"

          Sometimes even the obvious escapes me.
          Steven, you are not alone, I am trying to figure out what they're talking about but I'm just not seeing it?? Oh well, won't be the first time or the last that I'm clueless about something...LOL!

          Wendy
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      • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Hi,

        Great lesson here - if you're looking beyond the obvious.

        Anyone else see it?
        If you mean the lack of "I this" or "I that" in the OP and the great follow-up by Paul, then yea, it was screamingly obvious.

        If it wasn't that, then it should be...

        KJ
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  • Profile picture of the author Louis Raven
    One of my worst fears is writing. In my line of work (IM) I have to write a lot so it's not a good combo.

    I can spell any word but placing the sentences together is a struggle for me. Sometimes I'll plan out an eBook or helpful Warrior post but by the time it's on paper it's one big mess lol.

    I can't wait to establish a fluent flow in which allows me to express myself easily.

    I'm getting there though.

    Great post Steven/Paul,

    Louis
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Louis,

      Look at the majority of your posts here. They're clear and to the point. I suspect that's because you're speaking to someone in a casual way, rather than worrying about looking professional. If that's the case (and it's always possible there's something else going on that's not obvious), you can correct the tendency easily.

      Make a short list of the points you want to make. Then type the thing as though you were telling it to a friend who needed to know it. Don't worry about being grammatically correct or professionally polished. Just tell it.

      (Dragon Naturally Speaking is good for this, too.)

      Once you've got the thing typed out, THEN you can go back and edit it. Or give it to someone else to polish for you. The key is to get it down in text, so you don't lose it or run away from it.

      If that helps at all, you'll find that it gets easier every time. This is also a good way to get better with your flow, as the conscious editing makes you aware, and that trains the unconscious editor, which will start kicking in during the first phase before too long.


      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author WrightAgain
    Hi All,

    Great tips here, I'd add, to keep the flow going a tip George Wright posted a while back. This one really helped me.

    Turn off your spell check. The constant nagging of misspelled words underlined in red is very distracting.

    When you are in the zone, just keep on writing without the benefit/distraction of spellcheck and make all the corrections when you are finished or at intervals of your choosing.

    Tamara Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author tess47
    Great post Steven! Sometimes we all feel like we are suffering from "brain freeze", especially after writing for prolonged periods of time.

    Just taking a break - even 10 or 15 minutes, and getting away from the computer can sometimes make a big difference. And you're right, sometimes writing about the same subject over and over again just becomes automatic, so that your articles become somewhat stagnant.

    Great tips!
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    Oh Roger. I feel like I did when I first read "Think and Grow Rich," where I'm supposed to figure out "the secret."

    Cheers
    Becky
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  • Profile picture of the author raynman
    Writing for a particular niche can be very frustrating after your 6th or 7th in a row that day. It can easily sound like you are writing the same thing over and over and over and over and to infinity and beyond (which you probably are, which isn't really a bad thing). What is difficult for me at times is to force my way out of a rut that I may see myself falling into.

    There have been some very good ideas that i may try the next few days trying to catch up on all the writing that I am having to do all of the sudden. What usually works for me, though, is taking a break to visit with my daughter for a few minutes, go outside and catch a breath of fresh air.

    Also I play some tricks on my mind. You wouldn't tell someone the same thing the same way to everyone. Just envision that you are trying to communicate to....i don't know...an 16 year old foreign exchange student, an 80 year old retired engineer, a 35 year old idealist school teacher, or college student you are training for a job. Put a unique face on the person you are talking to and place them in a different situation. That probably sounds kind of flaky but it works for me. Not sure what that says about me. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author raynman
    I just thought of another one.

    I am a member of a couple different forums where EVERYTHING is talked about and discussed. Any random subject you can think of gets talked about.

    One thing that I like to do is to throw a subject that I am writing about out there and discuss it and wait for others to join in. Not only do you get fresh ideas from others but you will, if you can't stop talking like I do, end up writing a couple articles just from the comments you make. Of course it helps if you have made sure to be informed when you are making your comments.
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  • Profile picture of the author babarapho
    Thank you for the tips Steve, being complacent in anything you do is very dangerous
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  • Profile picture of the author Spike SpiegelIM
    Thank you for this Steven. Definitely need any help I can get when it comes to my writing. Bookmarked.
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    • Profile picture of the author tonythomas
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark McClure
        For me, 'flow' often comes after moderate (not exhausting) physical exercise - running being the drug of choice. Natural endorphin buzz, can't beat it.

        If I could run reading that new book by one P. Myers, I'd do it :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author zeppb
    Thanks for the tips. I'm somewhat lacking when it comes to writing articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author jhongren
    Hey,

    I have 2 products to recommend if you are seriously
    thinking of improving your writing.

    Here are the resources:
    Paul Myer's product:
    Creating Killer Content

    Steve's blog:
    ton of great resources on article writing.
    Steve Wagenheim’s Home Business Blog Article Writing

    Hope these benefit you.

    Cheers,
    John
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      All very good tips. The only thing I could add is that I attend (and speak at) trade shows and seminars. This gives fresh, contemporary ideas to just about any business-related or IM topic.
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  • Profile picture of the author yuyuan
    Thanks for sharing Steve... I have been writing for quite some time and I must admit I am always writing about the same things over and over again.

    I have actually stopped writing for the past few weeks to come back the feeling of writing, and now working on my writing again... (hope I can hit 900 articles before new year... 14 more to go)
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  • Profile picture of the author ExRat
    Hi,

    To Steven, Jay, Bev, Becky, Wendy, Joe -

    Sorry for leaving you hanging, it's probably not something I will do again.

    I've addressed 'the lesson' here - (post #17)

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...e-tonight.html

    I think it might be me who learned the lesson
    Signature


    Roger Davis

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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    Okay Roger,

    You got me with the curiosity. I'm ready to discover the hidden secret.

    But first, I've got two for you if you're game.

    1.Who wrote the ad that appears in Admin's avatar?

    E_____ S_____

    2.What percentage of every ad he ever wrote professionally were winners that paid out? __%

    For anyone else who wants to guess but may be drawing a blank-->

    *Quick tip (Just enter the headline into google to see if you can find it)
    edit: Just looked and it doesn't appear to be in google with the headline.

    By the way I'm writing some different things, changing my voice and injecting new life after reading Steven's and Paul's killer tips.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Doug,

      I can't play - Allen already mentioned the answer to 1) in a different thread.

      As for 2), I have no idea, but am investigating.

      Edit -

      2) 85%

      Go to -

      http://thesneakpeekblog.com/schwartz.pdf

      and use 'find' to search for "winners" ;-)
      Signature


      Roger Davis

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      • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Hi Doug,

        I can't play - Allen already mentioned the answer to 1) in a different thread.

        As for 2), I have no idea, but am investigating.

        Edit -

        2) 85%

        We have a winner!

        The last article on the link below is that ad if anyone wants to read it.

        Eugene Schwartz Ads in the Childhood Education Market
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi Doug,

          I love sharing how powerful the internet is, especially with good search engines, so on that basis -

          1) I searched wikipedia for 'Eugene Schwartz' - (without quotes) no dice??

          2) I searched google for 'eugene schwartz percentage winners' (without quotes)

          3) I checked a few top results (including the link you gave above, which came up in results)

          4) the tenth result (for me in UK) showed -
          Eugene Schwartz. His packages not only sell millions of books for .... therefore I make 85% winners. Okay, I guess the best guys are much ...
          I double checked the context of the quote - this was a pdf but google offers a html version - so I used edit>find in firefox to search for 'winners' (without quotes) in the html version and read the surrounding text to make sure the 85% was related to the subject.

          Time - about 3-4 minutes, while also refilling mug of tea.

          Slurp :-)

          HTH
          Signature


          Roger Davis

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          • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
            Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

            Hi Doug,

            I love sharing how powerful the internet is, especially with good search engines, so on that basis -

            1) I searched wikipedia for 'Eugene Schwartz' - (without quotes) no dice??

            2) I searched google for 'schwartz percentage winners' (without quotes)

            3) I checked a few top results (including the link you gave above, which came up in results)

            4) the tenth result (for me in UK) showed -
            I double checked the context of the quote - this was a pdf but google offers a html version - so I used edit>find in firefox to search for 'winners' (without quotes) in the html version and read the surrounding text to make sure the 85% was related to the subject.

            Time - about 3-4 minutes, while also refilling mug of tea.

            Slurp :-)

            HTH
            Yes agreed, the power of the internet is something that will continually amaze me.

            (thanks for the pdf by the way. just read it again and now to get a coffee.)

            Man, how spoiled we are to have writers like Steven W. and Paul M. right here to share their secrets.

            @Paul, I re-read that Goals book I picked up from you two Christmasses ago
            and it's just as exciting as the last time I read it.

            @Steven, your writing has had even more life in it than usual lately and it was already great.

            @Tamara, great tip from your dad you shared. Andrew Cavanaugh has an article on his site where he talks about just writing everything out even if you think it's crap at first and then going back to critique it later which totally gels with the tip you just gave and the author of the pdf Roger just sent me too. Great way to cure writer's block if such a thing even exists.

            Like the other gentleman says, thank you to all who have contributed to this thread.

            Okay, going to get some coffee.

            Great thread as usual Steven.
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            • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
              Originally Posted by wordwizard View Post

              Hi Wendy,
              seems to work well, especially the CDs with subliminal success messages ;-)Speaking of subliminal. I came across Paul Tuthill's stuff (80s), which I really
              like, and about a year ago I had a bad case of writer's block (and a deadline),
              and so I took out his tape (!) "I can do it!" popped it into the cassette deck, and
              within minutes I was typing away. Placebo effect? Who cares!
              You're right, probably 99% of audio subliminal messages are a placebo effect! While you may get the placebo effect, imagine what a REAL EFFECTIVE audio program would do for you

              Originally Posted by justfiverules View Post

              For me, 'flow' often comes after moderate (not exhausting) physical exercise - running being the drug of choice. Natural endorphin buzz, can't beat it.
              Thats because getting the runners high clears the mind. My mind is always "cleared out" after a nice long run or exercise. I love exersicing and its very good for you mental. If you're not exercising you may be missing out on a big emotional/confidence boost
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