Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CHIP OFF THE OLD (WRITER’S) BLOCK!! (And Giveaway!!)


I’ll tell you what, growing up, my daughter was SUCH a pistol—a wired drama queen and a bundle of energy—that I used to joke it was like I spit her out of my mouth. My husband would laugh and say, “Yes, Julie, she is a chip off the old block, but thank God she has just enough of me to keep from making a fool of herself.” Thanks, babe,” I’d say, with a wry twist of a smile, “always appreciate the support.”


But the truth is, he was right, and thank God! Yes, in many ways, my daughter is “a chip off the old block”—that wonderful, mysterious genealogical tie that makes every parent smile. You know, like the first time I discovered both my kids slept with their knees tented in the air just like their mother? Or how my daughter picks at her eyebrows just like her daddy picks at his moustache? I mean, who teaches them that? No one. It’s inherent, in the genes, in the blood, a lovely gift from God that says HE thinks you’re wonderful enough to repeat and emulate.


Well, as writers, there is another “chip off the old block” that’s pretty wonderful, too, and most worthy of repeating and emulating. I speak, of course, of chiseling away at that debilitating and demoralizing condition that affects writers everywhere at some time in their life—the dreaded writer’s block, hereafter referred to as WB.


Brrrr … cold chills!! Just the mention of that word sends shivers down my spine, dredging up memories of one of my worst author nightmares ever. It was 2008 and I was three quarters of the way through writing book 3 in my “Daughters of Boston” series, A Passion Denied. Deadlines were looming when I did something reallllly stupid. I got sucked into a book by an exceptionally talented secular New York Times bestselling author whose work literally blew me away. So much so that when I would sit down at my computer to write A Passion Denied, I literally wanted to puke on the keyboard. I’d stare at the tripe I’d written and swore somebody stole into my computer at night and changed all my words because they were SO bad that it stole my creativity, my confidence and my passion. And if you know anything about me at all (my tagline is “Passion with a Purpose"), it’s that if my passion is gone, I’m dead in the water. I’m talking face down at the bottom of the creativity pool, an anchor around my neck that looks suspiciously like a wooden block.


How does one deal with such a problem? Well, back then, I broke down and cried, then fasted both food and the NYT bestselling author while I waited for my sister to read the book, fully expecting her to tell me I needed to start over. “Julie, it’s the best thing you’ve ever written,” she told me several nights later, and I was stunned. I mean, how can you look at something you wrote, think it’s good one day, then want to vomit the next?? For me, it’s a matter of confidence, and honey, let me tell you—if you don’t get the old sledge hammer out and start whacking some chips off that old writer’s block, your confidence will be as dead as your passion.


Soooo … what are some ways to do that? Well, I’ve listed twenty points below, some of which I’ve tried, others I’ve only researched, but there’s bound to be one or two in the bunch that will help chip-chip-chip away at that awful writer’s block that attempts to stymie your progress. So, give it a shot, and hopefully before you’re done, like a sculptor with stone, what emerges from that blinking cursor will not only be beautiful piece of your soul, but a true work of art that will uplift and inspire. Here we go:


1) EXERCISE: I have found that this is the #1 way that I fight writer’s block. It seems like every time I get on the treadmill, great lines and ideas start flying, so much so that I keep a pen and notebook handy. Ironically, I took a stress test recently where you have to walk on a treadmill till your heart rate gets to a certain level. According to the technicians, I have the stamina of a marathon runner because it takes my heart much longer to get to that point than the normal person, so they actually made me run on the treadmill to speed up the process. HOLY COW, the minute I did, scenes and various ideas for my ms. started flying through my brain like crazy. I asked why, and the tech told me that when you exercise or do anything to get your blood flowing, it pumps it up to your brain for greater creativity, and boy, is that true!


2) Change your surroundings: I found this really helps, ESPECIALLY when your new surroundings are outside on a pretty day!! I share an office with my hubby, but when I get stale, I move to the hearth room in the winter with a cozy fire, then out on my lower deck in spring/summer/fall—SO great for WB!!


3) Treat Yourself to Some Ambiance: Around my house I am known as the Ambiance Queen because for dinner, I have to have a candle lit and the lights dimmed, which drives my daughter and hubby crazy since they like to actually SEE their food. As a writer, little ambiance touches really help me to get in the mood to write, like a new peach- or hazelnut-scented candle, a picture of Keith when I met him (hubba, hubba!!), or my notes doc open on my computer that contains pics of the movie stars I envision to play my characters. And in the winter, I used to have a foot warmer in my office, and no, it wasn’t my husband!


4) TRY FASTING E-MAIL: I have this bad habit of keeping my e-mail open, and it breaks up my writing flow, even after I turned off the ding that announces new e-mails. So lately, I’ve been “fasting” e-mail most of the day except for certain times (first thing in morning after my Bible/prayer time, then at noon, 3:00 and 6:00 PM) because just turning it off doesn’t work for me—I need a spiritual incentive to help me stick to it, and this seems to work.


5) Listen to music: I find that worship songs (especially on the treadmill!) help me to focus on what’s really important—God—so I can move forward with what He wants me to do, which is to write for Him.


6) Start what you’re stuck on first thing in the morning: A lot of times I will be writing at night and NOTHING sounds right to me—you know, it’s that tripe syndrome back in play. So I will close my computer and read instead, preferring not to risk writing tripe when I’m tired. Almost 100% of the time that same piece of tripe the night before will read SO much better in the morning anyway when I’m fresh and ready to tackle it again.


7) Work on something else: This is similar to #6 above, but different. If I am struggling with a scene, the more frustrated I get, the worse it is. Kind of like a person trying to go to sleep and getting agitated when they can’t. In cases like this, I will often work on a blog I need to write or e-mails or anything else that is writing-productive so that I don’t get frustrated with the loss of writing time.


8) Grab Coffee or Tea or NEW FAVORITE BEVERAGE: I am a sucker for hazelnut coffee, but lately, I have found that switching it up a little bit helps my writing as well. My daughter got my husband and I hooked on peppermint tea, and OH MY, what a treat!! My husband was really stressed one day and commented that he felt calmer after drinking it, so I looked up the medicinal qualities of peppermint and guess what?? Peppermint tea not only helps relieve stress, headaches and is believed to ward off the common cold, but offers a plethora of other benefits such as:


· Peppermint tea treats irritable bowel syndrome

· Peppermint tea eases nausea and vomiting

· Peppermint tea controls flatulence, diarrhea and diverticular disorders

· Peppermint tea improves digestion and reduce heartburn

· Peppermint tea dissolves gallstones

· Peppermint tea reduces the severity of herpes outbreaks

· Peppermint tea fights bad breath

· Peppermint tea controls muscle aches and chronic pain

· Peppermint tea clears congestion and cough related to colds and allergies

· Peppermint tea controls mild asthma

· Peppermint tea fights stress


9) Outline scene-by-scene: One of the best ways to chip away at WB is to keep a scene-by-scene sheet. When I begin a ms., I will do brief blurbs for each scene, even including great dialogue that comes to me when I’m on the treadmill. This is INVALUABLE later when I’m stumped because I can go back and pick up great lines that I wrote down before, which help trigger the writing process. Also, as a pantster turned plotter (plotster), I find that it helps to know where you’re going in the process, warding off that nasty WB.


10) Don’t think/just write: I took a fiction-writing course once, and every day the teacher started the class off with ten minutes of free writing, which meant you put the pen to paper (this was WAY before computers!) and literally did not stop or lift the pen for ten whole minutes. You were not allowed time to think what you wanted to say, you simply wrote whatever came into your mind, and you know what? I usually thought it was pretty good when I was done. Also, when Patti Lacy and I taught a fiction class a few years ago, I was painfully structured with reams of hand-outs while Patti, a former teacher, was this laid-back, relaxed gal who started every one of our classes with music and free writing. Uh, guess who got more results??? Hint: it wasn’t me!


11) Just Do it: For me, the “Nike” method seems to work, which means when I have mild WB or WD (writer’s drag), I find that just forging ahead and writing whether you feel like it or not will eventually get the pump primed again. Some experts say you should never force yourself to write when you have WB, but for me it’s the opposite. And it was Mary Connealy who taught me a very important trick, and that’s if you’re stumped on a particular scene, pass it up and move on to the next, coming back to it later to revise and flesh it out.


12) Read blogs/articles/books outside the scope of what you normally write: This was advice I found when I researched WB, and I suppose it would work. But to be honest, I found that reading what I write (historical romance) in the work of authors I enjoy and admire helps me get my own creative juices flowing. For instance, I just finished three of my favorite historical authors’ books—An Inconvenient Match by Janet Dean (her best yet!), MaryLu Tyndall’s upcoming release Veil of Pearls (also her best yet!!) and The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (would you believe her best yet as well??), and all three ladies did things in their books (in style and phrasing) that really inspired, taught and motivated me to get the lead out.


13) MAAS IT: Donald Maas’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook has been a big help to me, not only in teaching me to take conflict and tension to the “next level” as he likes to say, but also in chipping away at WB. If I get stuck, often I will think of ways to ramp up the scene or take it to the next level. Example: Maas tells you whatever your conflict is, to make it worse by ramping it up, so in A Passion Most Pure, to make the heroine’s sibling rivalry with her sister even worse, I gave the heroine a twin sister who died in an actual polio epidemic of 1908 Boston and then had the heroine almost die too, which meant her parents doted on her, to her sister’s chagrin. See? Ramped it up and opened doors that got me excited about the plot.


14) Keep an idea notebook: Whenever an idea for plot or dialogue strikes, I write it down for future use. I actually had an incident of WB just last week in which this very method helped to break the WB deadlock.


15) Write daily. Like an athlete has to train his/her body to do what he/she wants it to do, so does an author have to train his/her mind. When I don’t write for days, it’s like I have to re-prime the pump every time, and it’s a very sloooooow process to get back up to speed, often taking me days to go from writing only two or three pages a day to my record high of twenty.


16) Eat healthy food and snacks, especially protein: This is a given, so when you hit WB, hit the pantry as well for a granola bar, fruit or something my doctor daughter-in-law has turned me on to—V8 juices with Fresca. In order to get daily requirements of fruits and vegetables, V8 now has these wonderful juices (I like peach and mango) that my DIL and daughter now mix with calorie-free Fresca to cut down on the cost (the V8s aren’t cheap) and improve the taste. OH MY GOODNESS!! They are WONDERFUL and give you the needed punch to go back to that computer.


17) Take a nap: You know what? I can’t nap to save my soul, so I’m just putting this sucker in here because it was in my research. BUT … when I can’t sleep at night or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back? I give myself 30 minutes of tossing and turning, and then I’m done trying and trot downstairs in my nightgown and bare feet to pound away on that computer. :)


18) Brainstorm with friends: This is actually #1 on the Seeker list. Whenever any of us need help with titles or plots or WB, all it takes is one e-mail to our personal Seeker loop, and help starts flying in!! These gals are AMAZING with their creative input, so find yourself a writer friend or group like this and start bouncing things off of them. Or you can always sign up for a critique group with ACFW, another good option.


19) put on Lipstick, fix hair and Do something productive: Okay, I know this isn’t for everybody, but when I am stuck with WB or just plain blue, I find that the #1 thing that helps perk me up is—are you ready for this? —lipstick and fixing my hair and then doing something PRODUCTIVE. Cleaning out a drawer, ironing six month’s worth of clothes while I watch Gone With the Wind, straightening my office, cleaning out the fridge or pantry—ANYTHING that I’ve been putting off that makes me feel bad because, well, I’ve been putting it off!


20) Watch a movie that relates to your book: For my upcoming series set in 1902 San Francisco, the “Heart of San Francisco” series, I found that watching movies in that time period (San Francisco with Clark Gable and then the six minutes of footage shot on the main street of San Francisco days before the earthquake, etc.) really helps to stir the creative juices. For anyone writing the WWI time period of A Passion Most Pure, Downtown Abbey is a wonderful means of getting excited about your WIP, so give a period movie or book a shot when WB has you by the throat.


21) Who, What When, Where & Why? Believe it or not, when I get stuck on a scene, I have started stepping back to ask the basic journalism questions of Who? What? When? Where? And Why? Why, you ask? Well, because answering those questions in a scene will not only help jog the scene loose in your head, but also give you clearer direction of where to take it OR determine if it’s even necessary at all.


22) Reread some of your favorite personal work: Finally, when I am stuck, I will sometimes go back into my other books and read a favorite scene to remind me that, yes, I do like what I write and yes, I can do this, which is sometimes all the boost I need.


There you have it—sound ideas to lick writer’s block, so print this sucker off and tuck it away because at some time or another, we ALL need it, right?


Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win your choice of any of my books PLUS your choice of a top CBA book from my personal library. Let’s hear what YOU do when you have writer’s block so we can share the wealth, okay?


And, HEY, anybody who lives close to Grand Rapids, Michigan, I will be speaking and signing at a book signing at Baker Book House tomorrow night, Thursday, March 15, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, so come see me!!


Good luck and get writing!


Hugs,

Julie


Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

196 comments :

  1. I have had WB all day. How did you know?

    And you covered the list of things I know to do.

    I went for a walk in the warm weather this afternoon. It made me feel better physically, but it didn't give me the plot element I need.

    Got to keep working at it!

    Helen

    Oops! The coffee pot is ready.

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  2. Julie, what a wonderful list!

    My favorite is #9 and #11 combined - when I find myself bogging down, I just make notes of what I want to have happen in that scene, and then I go on to the next one. By the time I've finished writing a subsequent scene or two, I can go back to the stubborn one and whip it into shape.

    And I'm putting Peppermint Tea on my shopping list....

    Wish I could be in Grand Rapids tomorrow night. Say "hey" to West Michigan for me! (Oh yes, I'm a true Michigander at heart!)

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  3. Welcome, all!! To help chip away at WB, we've got a full spread of breakfast goodies to infuse you with energy ... from maple cured bacon and thick slices of ham to eggs any way you want them, hash browns, platters of fruit, chocolate chip pancakes, peach cobbler and raspberry cheese strudel. Of course, we have LOTS of peppermint tea and hazelnut coffee as well.

    HELEN ... you are SO darn good with that coffee, girlfriend -- thank you!! And I am glad you took a walk, but it seems like you need to try #18 for that plotting, you know?

    Get cracking, girl, and good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  4. Hey, JAN, thank you!! And #9 and #11 are two of my faves as well.

    And, boy oh boy, I sure wish you could make it to GR tomorrow too, but definitely ACFW, I hope, okay?

    How's your FIL doing? I've had him on my prayer hit list for a while now ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  5. Who would have thought peppermint tea could be so helpful (to bad I dont like peppermint and for that matter tea).
    Im with you on napping I just cant do it. Give me a little longer and I will join in the food. went to the dentist (kindles good for the long wait) and he says no eating for at least 3 hours! the numbness is wearing off and I can eat soon. the mouth hurts and so does the hip pocket.

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  6. I don't really write anything now that I'm graduated. But when I was in school working on a paper or essay and got stuck, I would just walk away and forget about it for awhile. I'd do something relaxing and just give my mind a break. Then after a bit I'd go back and start in again with fresh perspective.

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  7. Hi Julie:

    This is the best coverage of writer’s block I’ve ever read. It’s a keeper. What I think is very interesting is that just about everything you’ve suggested will also help a writer who does not have writer’s block. (Except I don’t think putting on lipstick would help me.)

    As copywriters with daily deadlines we did not get writer’s block. We just had periods when our copy just wasn’t that good but it got written. You can always writer something.

    Now, if you don’t know what is going to happen next, like a pure pantser, then WB is much more likely to happen. I find it helps to write a ‘stand up and cheer I can’t wait to buy your next book’ ending first. Then use this great ending as a beacon to guide you home. I think, wow, if I can just get to that ending, I’ll have a really good book. I think it helps to always know where you are going and that the destination is well worth any effort to get there.

    Even pantsers could do this. How they get to the ending could be totally pantsered.

    I noticed in “A Heart Revealed” that you had at least four stories going. Which makes me wonder about the types of WB.

    Do you have a general WB – you can make yourself write anything?

    Do you have a local WB – you can continue the Sean/Emma thread but you could the others?

    Do you have a contextual WB – trouble weaving the many themes into a coherent whole?

    BTW: I think that “A Heart Revealed” is your best book to date but then it stands on the shoulders of the other four books. Emma is my favorite heroine because she is the most sympathetic. I thought she was just a little too good to be true so you can imagine how surprised I was with her true story. What I thought was the only weakness in the book turns out to be it’s greatest strength. People are going to love this book.

    Vince

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  8. Hi Julie:

    Oh, I meant to mention that I miss seeing a copy of your books on your post. Are you sold out! : )

    Vince

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  9. Julie:

    I don't have a brainstorming group, but I have another retired teacher friend who likes to brainstorm with me. I think she has a luncheon in the offing.

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  10. Ha, when you were describing your daughter, I was like, "And that surprised you?" and then "it was like I spit her out of my mouth." What a fun metaphor--Exactly! My daughter is stubborn and always thinks she's right--not sure where that came from.......

    My WB buster? SHOWERING! Or Trying to go to bed. Or anything that doesn't require my brain. But since I do the showering and going to bed after my writing sessions, they are the most productive usually. If I get stuck, I go up and shower and I almost always can come back and get unstuck, or at least leave myself a note on what to do the next day.

    And that list of scenes with snippets of conversation and jokes, etc. is GOLD.

    And the V8 Fresca thing is on my shopping list now!

    Have a great time at your book signing!

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  11. Julie,

    I have been doing so well with not having my WB of late, I believe I am starting to have withdrawals. Oh wait that's the WB on TV.

    No, I've been staying pretty regular, thanks to that peppermint tea and all.

    Thank you for the list so I have somethings to keep my brain running even when I think it's on empty.

    I sometimes get more ideas on the treadmill, when I'm not busy trying to remember to walk and not slide off the back.

    :-)

    blessings
    Tina P.

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  12. I managed to get about 3500 words today 3000 on Tamed By Mercy, by sequel to Touched By Mercy. the rest on devotional. Yay... imagine what I could have done if I hadn't watched those movies. Oh well.


    Blessings

    Tina P.

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  13. Hi Julie! Great points!

    I've never been a peppermint tea drinker, but I might give it a try after reading all the benefits it has!

    Hope you have a great time at your book signing tomorrow :)

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  14. Love, Love, Love this post!

    I love the picture.
    I love the author.
    And I love the topic.

    I was stuck in the very early chapters. They have problems that need fixed, but I couldn't get to them all, so I put #9 to work. I started plotting scenes from the beginning, even the scenes I already have written. It's helping me address the problems in the scenes I have, and it's giving me direction where to go next.

    I've been trying to write like a pantser, but I think I'm really a plotter, deep down.

    Vince~ I think you should try the lipstick next time. I'll bet it would make your lovely wife laugh.

    And before I forget...Absolutely put me in the drawing. I would be over the moon to win another Julie book.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

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  15. So love your enthusiasm. And thanks for this superb research. YES YES YES on #11. I've been trying this and it's really helping - so thanks Julie and Mary!

    Hi all you late night/early morning folk! Ready for a super day!!!

    Right after "tea" yessiree!

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  16. Lady DragonKeeperMarch 14, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    Don't you people on the mainland sleep? Just kidding. =) I usually try and take a break when I have writer's block, though as a student, it's mostly essays and non-fiction types of things I'm writing.

    Great list, Ms. Julie! I might try some of those suggestions when I have "artist's block" ... a blank page when you have an art assignment due can induce the same dread that all of you wordsmiths out there endure on occasion. =)

    *Off topic* Someone tell me I waasn't the only one who was trying to read the words on the page behind Ms. Julie's photo ... =P

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  17. Printing this out, Julie. Wonderful advice! And I am so buying myself some peppermint tea...

    Oh - and I hear you'll be speaking/signing at Baker Book House tomorrow night. I live only minutes away and am actually stopping by the store today. I wish I could come and meet you tomorrow, but I can't make it. Chris Jager and the rest of the team is wonderful, though. Prayers for a good turnout. :-)

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  18. Love this, Julie, thank you! I will have to print these out and keep them handy...

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  19. Thanks for sharing. I've noticed music and exercise help me the most, but now I've got a lot of other options to try.
    Have a great day!
    Jackie

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  20. Oh yea, I love tea so I'll add peppermint tea to my next grocery list. Who knew something so nice could do so much?

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  21. Julie, great ideas for WB. I have tried some of them in the past and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I think it depends on what I am writing. If God is with me, it seems like the words keep flowing.

    Also, my daughter is not only a chip off the block, she is like my clone. We both try denying it, but the facts don't lie.

    God bless you and your writing, Julie. You are the best.

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  22. What an awesome list! I think there's something on there for whatever might ail a writer in the middle of a project. A definite print and keep. The nicest thing is to recognize that it happens to EVERYONE, not just the bewildered lady in my mirror ;)

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  23. My occasional form of WB is what you address as tripe and I call dreck. Sometimes I can't be productive because I'm thinking more about what a crummy writer I am, than about moving on.

    First I write to a long synopses so I never have the 'i have no idea what to write', and I like to sprint write those scenes. That gives me a platform for revising and editing -the grueling process of taking dreck up about thirty notches to "i like it".

    but boy oh boy sometimes I get stuck in dreck and convince myself I shouldn't be writing, because no one can be this bad and this slow...

    (yeah, my writing is vomit too if I compare myself to the author who brought us Jamie Fraser. So I don't compare...)

    Great list Julie! I absolutely agree it's best to move on from a dreadful scene and come back to it. Espesh in the morning when all of a sudden it's not so difficult to see how to improve it.

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  24. Super tips, Julie! The post is printing as I type.

    Music is always a big help for me, or reading past scenes or past manuscripts. Also, looking at pictures can inspire and get me back on track. My current heroine is Irish so when she's not talking I look at the pics my Irish penpal has on FB and that gets her chatting, or I'll thumb through my stash of hot cowboy photos--Always inspiring. :o)

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  25. What do I do when I have writer's block? Well, I usually take a break from what I'm writing and then go back to it, or I try and get rid of any distractions. If that doesn't work, then I just give up for the time being. ;)

    Thanks for the great giveaway, Julie! I haven't read any of your books yet (I've been meaning to for a LONG time!), but they looks great! I'm looking forward to reading them. =)

    lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. Julie,

    Great advice! And so many options, to ward off writer's block that none of us should use that excuse anymore!

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  27. Julie, Julie, Julie! Thanks for the great reminders. I have to laugh. I use so many of your tips and am addicted to peppermint.

    I dove into Speedbo as an incentive to try writing fiction. I am not blocked right now but I was walled off for years. Thanks for helping me prepare for the inevitable let down when the words start to slow down.

    Peace, The Other Julie

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  29. Great blog, Julie! Though I find it difficult to believe you could ever suffer from writer's block!!!! Seriously? Hmmm....well, maybe it's the only way your characters can get back at you for torturing them. :-)

    I find gardening really clears my mind. Weeding and plotting go hand in hand for me. Can't wait to get into the perennial beds so I can fill in some gaps. With the temps we've been having the snow will be gone in a week or so. Yeehaw!

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  30. A quick nap helps me. Like maybe 10-15 minute power nap. If I sleep longer, it makes me sluggish.

    I watch movies, listen to music, or read a book similiar to what I writing to open the creative juices.

    Exercise doesn't seem to help my writing. My mind wanders too much. Like I might look out across the pasture when I'm walking and think, "That clump of grass looks a wild animal." Then I watch it for the next 100 yards to make sure it doesn't move.

    Love the list. I need to print this off and hang it above my desk for reminders.

    Connie

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  31. Writing every day is what works for me. In case of writers block I have another wip to go to. And yes, there are some days when I just have to push away from the computer and get away from it all.
    Jamie Salisbury
    TudorRose829@gmail.com

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  32. Julie, great post! I have to tell you the line that stood out to me most of all was, "It’s inherent, in the genes, in the blood, a lovely gift from God that says HE thinks you’re wonderful enough to repeat and emulate." I know it doesn't completely relate to the main point of this post, but it spoke soothing love to my heart. :)

    Loved all your ideas for overcoming writer's block. I have to be honest, the treadmill is more drudgery than inspiration for me, but maybe I need to revisit that idea. :)

    One place I find ideas flow is in the shower. My characters make me think about them when water runs over my hair. :)

    I'm off and running into my day, but I'm hoping to come back and read everyone's comments later today.

    I loved all your ideas, and I plan to keep this post handy. Thanks!

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  33. I don't have time to read this just now. Have to leave for the day job. But I will return. Save me some coffee!

    Whitney

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  34. Julie,

    Hey great article that will help out people who are writers. I for one am not a writer but I'm sure this will help a lot of people out who are. Hope you have a good day! God Bless and Good Luck!

    Your Friend and Fan- Kayla

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  35. Julie, thank you for this very comprehensive list! I will definitely be keeping this for reference.

    My trick is the same as Melissa's - having a shower! I do my writing at night, if/when the kids are asleep :) And if I'm tired or my brain is freezing up, I go take my shower and it's amazing how much it refreshes me and gets the brain ticking again. My greatest plot ideas have formulated and sorted themselves out in the shower.

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  36. JENNY ... Ewwww ... sorry about the dentist, but I had to laugh at your comment that "the mouth hurts and so does the hip pocket." Oh, honey, isn't THAT the truth!! Saying one for you, my friend.

    And speaking of expense, I got braces on the month after I got married (wasn't ABOUT to risk landing a guy by having them on beforehand ... I needed ALL the help I could get!) and now 33 years later, I have SPACES opening up in my teeth. Geez Louise, I look like Lauren Hutton without the good looks!! I checked in to just getting a retainer made to push the teeth back together and sweet mother of Job!! $3,000 to $4,000!! YIKES, talk about a pain in the hip pocket!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  37. What a wonderful blog. And such great tips! Recently I hit a bit of writer's block and decided to interview my characters to see where they were at. It actually worked.

    Still chipping away at SpeedBo!

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  38. Julie!!!!!!! Great tips!!! WOW, this is a post I’m going to have to print off and read and reread. I especially love the tip about reading good books (Yours are always ones I pick up when I’m in need of a creative battery recharge) and also about watching something that pertains to your WIP. Whenever I am stuck on a scene or am brain dead from writing for hours, I just take fifteen or twenty minutes and watch a few scenes from something relating to my WIP. Usually, after that, I’m ready to go again.

    And are you a Downton fan too?? We just finished watching Season 2 last night and really enjoyed it!

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  39. Gosh, VINCE, THANK YOU!! Although I agree with Andrea -- give the lipstick a shot, you never know! :) Actually, my husband and daughter are both Burt's Beeswax freaks, which they put on about as often as I put on lipstick or lip gloss, so we are definitly a family a supple lips here. But then what ELSE would you expect from a romance writer???

    And, goodness, Vince, you are SUCH a font of knowledge and an off-the-page thinker, which always leaves me in awe!! YES, YES, YES, writing the ending down IS a beacon to guide you home. The first time this happened to me was on A Passion Redeemed. Before I EVER wrote a single word, the ending came to me clear as a bell (on the treadmill, of course!) with dialogue and everything. Here's what I heard:

    With a bounce in her stride, she hefted it high against the kitchen door and pushed through, cocking her head sideways to watch her step. “Well, he did it, Mother. Brought another prospect home for his pitiful daughter.”
    “Two,” he said, his tone casual as he rose from the table. His tall frame unfolded to fill the kitchen, obliterating anything in her vision but him. “He brought two.”

    I swear that one clip literally carried me through the whole book, which is one reason why I may have written it in record time (in two months working part-time)!!

    You asked:
    "Do you have a general WB – you can make yourself write anything?"

    Usually I can make myself write anything, except in that case when I thought APD was tripe. That was a serious encounter with WB!!

    "Do you have a local WB – you can continue the Sean/Emma thread but you could the others?"

    No, I usually don't have local WB as far as being better able to write one story better than the next. Because even though they are different stories and sub plots, in my head, I still see them as one story weaving in and out of various people's lives, all connected, you know?

    "Do you have a contextual WB – trouble weaving the many themes into a coherent whole?"

    Mmm ... sometimes. I say this because this has to do with that dreaded moral premise that I always struggle with. I'll think to myself, how can I make each story fit the main moral premise a little bit better, then I get stumped trying to be that specific. I am at the heart, a pantster whose pen flows on emotions, so when I get too technical, a lot of the beauty of that flow is impaired, thus creating WB.

    WOW, Vince, thank you SO much for your kind words about A Heart Revealed. I actually thought everybody would just figure that I was going to sucker punch them with Emma's past, but I guess not! :) Hard to believe I pulled that one over on somebody as deeply analytical like you!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  40. VINCE SAID: "Oh, I meant to mention that I miss seeing a copy of your books on your post. Are you sold out! : )"

    LOL ... oh, don't I wish!! No, I am NOT sold out, trust me, and I just failed to put my books in my blog today because I do good to get the top pic in and the Speedbo logo decently. Can't imagine if I put in all my books too ... :)

    ABBI ... yeah, that's a GREAT one that I should have included all by itself as a point because it's that good, but I'm hoping #7 drives this point on, but not really as well as you did, kiddo -- THANKS!!

    Oh, HELEN, I am SO glad to hear that -- having someone to bounce ideas, plots, problems and actual reading of your ms. is ESSENTIAL!! Saying one you get that plot snafu all worked out, and we both know you will!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  41. When I have writer's block I usually go back and reread what I've been working on. Sometimes it triggers further ideas...then again sometimes it distracts me as well. lol! Most of the time that works, but if it doesn't I just push myself into a brainstorming session.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to get to read some of your books, I've heard great things about them! Blessings!

    Emreilly303(at)gmail(dot)com

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  42. Getting my mind off my writing and living life is what helps me. I get so many ideas from the world around me, so that helps every now and then. But sometimes I just have to push myself to keep going. Getting over that bump in the road takes a lot of energy, that's for sure!

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! Can't wait to get my hands on one of your books...FINALLY!

    Dreilly316(at)gmail(dot)com

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  43. MELISSA SAID: "it was like I spit her out of my mouth." What a fun metaphor--Exactly! My daughter is stubborn and always thinks she's right--not sure where that came from.......

    LOL ... I actually hesitated on that spit metaphor because I thought people would think it was gross and derogatory, but then in my usual Julie Lessman way, I thought, oh well ... And, yeah, having sat down and talked to you in person at ACFW, I wonder where you daughter got it too ... ;) But look at it this way, Mel, strong personalities make for strong character when channeled by God, right??

    And, SHOWERING!!! Oh, my, you are SOOOO right. Never even occurred to me although my I absolutely CRAVE taking a hot shower in the winter time when I'm cold ... just seems to steam all the cares away, doesn't it?? GREAT SUGGESTION!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  44. I think a good start to moving past writer's block would be to find someone else to talk to. I find that once you get your ideas out on the table, everything seems so much clearer. After a few hours of just talking about your writing, I think that right there will make you want to get back to it! It works for me!

    Jreilly316(at)verizon(dot)net

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  45. TINA P SAID: "I have been doing so well with not having my WB of late, I believe I am starting to have withdrawals. Oh wait that's the WB on TV."

    LOL!!! My first full-throttle chuckle this morning, girl, thank you!! Also: "I sometimes get more ideas on the treadmill, when I'm not busy trying to remember to walk and not slide off the back."

    :) Been there, done that. :) Glad you already use peppermint tea. I drink it with Sweet 'n Low, and YUM, it's liking drinking Junior Mints!!

    Tina also said: "I managed to get about 3500 words today 3000 on Tamed By Mercy, by sequel to Touched By Mercy."

    WHOO-HOO, girl, you're doing WAY better than me, but then that's not too hard in the words-per-day category!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. Great post Julie, I really needed this. I love to read almost as much as I love to write. The other day I finished Regina Scott's newest LIH and then went to work on my story. BIG MISTAKE
    My work looks like 'See Spot run' now when I read it.
    Sometimes when I run into WB I edit or reread a favorite scene.

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  47. Morning Julie, This must resonate because already you have so many responses. LOL

    Great list and like Vince said, "A keeper."

    One thing that helps me is to stop in the middle of a scene and then I know where to pick right up.

    But I like Mary's advice too. If you're stuck, just move on to the next scene.

    Wish I could be in Grand Rapids to pop on by. If anyone wants to call in an order the phone number is: 616 957 3110 or toll free: 866 241 6733
    Autographed books make wonderful gifts.

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  48. Julie, thanks for putting this list together-lots of great ideas! Other than my blog, I haven't done much writing lately, but sometimes I still get WB when it comes to post ideas. It's hard to think of original topics, creative spins, etc. so lots of times if I feel uninspired, I just don't post that day. (Because if I'm bored writing it, I pretty much assume people will be doubly bored reading it. :))

    I seem to get some of my best ideas in the shower, when I'm lying in bed and my brain won't sleep, or even when I'm going through something hard in my own life that triggers me to really broach certain topics on a deeper level.

    Or if I'm stumped how to begin something, I'll start in the middle instead. I do find if I spend too much time laboring over my writing, it ends up turning into a black hole that keeps sucking up my energy without a lot of results.

    Anyhow, before I ramble some more, I look forward to trying some of the tips you suggested and am bookmarking this post! Hope you have a blessed day, Julie.
    hammyflirt@hotmail.com

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  49. Thanks, MELISSA!! And, YES, do give peppermint tea a try. You may have to put some sugar or sweetener in it like I do, but when you do, like I told Tina above, it tastes like one of my favorite candies -- Junior Mints!!

    Aw, ANDREA, you are SUCH an encourager, you know that? You ALWAYS give me a lift!!

    You said, "I was stuck in the very early chapters. They have problems that need fixed, but I couldn't get to them all, so I put #9 to work. I started plotting scenes from the beginning, even the scenes I already have written. It's helping me address the problems in the scenes I have, and it's giving me direction where to go next."

    GOOD FOR YOU, GIRL!! That's a PERFECT solution!! And you might be like me ... a plotster!! ;)

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  50. It's true. I hate when I can't think what to write next. I like your tips though! I do use one of them fairly often...as long as it's nice out, I walk across the street to an old abandoned playground and sit on the seesaw and write. It always helps me put aside that WB. :)

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  51. I hope you have a wildly successful book signing!!

    Ah Julie, your hubby is a GENIUS with pictures, that top one is amazing and I recognize what is behind you... ;-)

    Really, really great tips. I have been in those places so many times and done several of those tips and it makes a huge difference.

    For example: I work BETTER if I dress up, do my hair nice and THEN sit down to write. I feel better about myself and my writing.

    And HAH! I now know exactly when to email you. Buwhahahaha! (just subtract 2 hours for time difference. ;-)

    Love ya!

    Case

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  52. KC!!! Yes, #11 is definitely a keeper, and Mary is SUCH a smart writer in so many ways, that I ALWAYS listen to what she says ... kind of like E.F.Hutton, you know??

    LDK ... LOL!!! Only you, kiddo, only you!! Although I wondered if anyone would catch that the background is the first paragraph of my new series, Heart of San Francisco. Just so you don't have to strain to read it, here's the opening of book 1, Love at any Cost:

    Sweet thunderation—deliver me from pretty men! Twenty-two-year-old Cassidy McClare peered up beneath the wide feathered brim of her black velvetta hat, legs and luggage spread-eagle on the dirty platform of Oakland Pier train station.

    “Miss, forgive, please—are you okay?”

    Hair askew, Cassie blew blonde hair from her face along with a broken feather now dangling over the rim of the “fashionable” hat Mama begged her to wear. Reining in her temper, she forced a smile at a man in a stylish straw boater who’d just swept her off her feet ... literally.

    I'm doing final edits on it now, and my oh my, are you gonna LOVE Jamie MacKenna!! Sigh.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  53. LYNDA!!! Sooo close and yet sooo far!! I'm sad I won't get to meet you, but VERY appreciative of the prayers, my friend. Every author's nightmare is twiddling one's thumbs at a book signing ... but a book signing in front of one's own publisher??? YIKES!! Maybe I better bring some knitting ... except the only think I knit are my brows ... in trepidation ... :|

    NATASHA ... soooo glad you can use them, girl. Now, let's hope you never HAVE to, right??? Mmmm ... maybe they could be a reverse deterrent against WB. You know, like how it rains after you wash your car ... or your hair looks the best ever the day before you beauty appointment???

    JACKIE!!! Yes, music and exercise at the same time work WONDERS for me, too, so you go, girl!! And you have a great day too, sweetie!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  54. CHRIS SAID: "If God is with me, it seems like the words keep flowing."

    YES, Chris, His anointing has a way of making those words flow, doesn't it??

    You also said: "Also, my daughter is not only a chip off the block, she is like my clone. We both try denying it, but the facts don't lie."

    LOL ... no, they don't!! My daughter has vehemently denied she is anything like me, but she makes me smile more and more all the time because I SO see myself in her in so many ways. She hated to hear that as a teenager, but now at the age of 24, I'm sensing she doesn't mind as much anymore ... :)


    Yes, MIA, that IS an important thing to remember -- WB happens to every writer at some time or another, so GOOD POINT!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  55. DEB SAID: "First I write to a long synopses so I never have the 'i have no idea what to write', and I like to sprint write those scenes."

    LOL ... LOVE the word "dreck," girl -- soooo you and soooo fun!! And also LOVE your idea to "sprint write" those elusive scenes -- GREAT thing to do!!

    Oh, man, you just HAD to go and do it, didn't you??? Mention the crux of my WB ... Jamie Fraser. Sigh. Now I'll be thinking of him all day while I'm writing about my next hero, Jamie MacKenna ... uh, see a pattern here??? :)

    LOL, KIRSTEN!!! You said: "or I'll thumb through my stash of hot cowboy photos--Always inspiring. :o)"

    :) Cowboy photos??? Hmmm ... we should make that tip #23!!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. Wow, Julie, I could hear that 'puke on the keyboards' story a 1000 times and never tire of it.

    I'm a little weepy with sentiment.

    I'm also getting peppermint tea. I'd prefer not to mention which of those things I need a cure for.

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  57. ELLYSSA!!! Great things to do, both of them, and things I do as well, so we are on the right track, I'd say!!

    And you've never read one of my books before??? Oh, honey, you are JUST the type of reader I'm looking for, girl -- fresh blood!! :) If you DO win here today, then I will send you book 1 of the first series, A Passion Most Pure, because this is one series that is best read in order due to a number of big surprises in that book. So good luck in the contest, my friend, because I would LOVE to see what you think!

    Hey, ROSE ... you would think so, wouldn't you, but I suppose there are those serious cases of WB that defy all treatment except prayer. WHICH, by the way, I canNOT believe I didn't include in this series!! I guess because for me, it goes without saying ... but I stills should have said it!!

    JULIE!!! Soooo glad the walls have tumbled down on that long-term WB, my friend and hope it NEVER returns. And you're a peppermint addict, eh?? I'm rapidly becoming one, too, I can tell you that -- it is ADDICTING!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  58. Also, I'll add that for me, if I'm writing a scene that's a really hard one, particularly a critical, pivotal scene, or the black moment, or an action scene, I have found peace with KNOWING I can't do it justice on the first pass. So I'll write it badly, then start fixing it.

    I can be typing along and I'll be thinking, "This is dead. This was supposed to be a chapter and it's going to be two pages. This is boring. No emotion."
    I can just BATTER myself as I'm typing. But I KNOW it has to exist before I can fix it.

    It's still painful to write those scenes the first time though.

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  59. A Julie day.....makes me happy!
    I am not a writer, but loved loved this post.....very interesting. I want to be "in" for A Love Surrendered, please! Have read all the others and found them fantastic! Thanks!
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  60. KAV SAID: "Though I find it difficult to believe you could ever suffer from writer's block!!!! Seriously? Hmmm....well, maybe it's the only way your characters can get back at you for torturing them. :-)"

    LOL ... GOOD POINT!! That Charity can be QUITE vindictive, you know, making me pay for all the angst I put her through ... especially in A Heart Revealed!! ;)

    KAV ALSO SAID: "I find gardening really clears my mind. Weeding and plotting go hand in hand for me."

    OH, YES!!! I totally agree on this, although I don't garden as much as I once did, that's for sure. You know where else I've had the most success plotting, believe it or not?? At a funeral service once of someone I barely new. My mind wandered during the homily and before you know it, I was three chapters down the road!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  61. Julie! Great tips, lady! :D And I so want to be part of your drawing!

    Some of the things I do is:

    1) pull out another project and get some word count in on it.
    2) do something productive, like dishes, laundry, pick up the living room, shower (lol)...
    3) force myself to push through
    4) listen to music
    5) read my devo for the day
    6) pray
    7) skip scenes
    8) read
    9) walk/enjoy nature

    There's more I could name, but I'll stop there. As you can see, several are things you listed. :D

    I love the term Writer's Drag, because that's what I've been experiencing through out the entire writing of my current WIP. I've really had to push my way through and SpeedBo has been such a blessing to make me get words on the page!

    Go SpeedBo! :D

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  62. Vince:
    What? No lipstick?

    LOL - Julie is a lipstick gal. I'm not. But lip balm might work! :D

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  63. Wow, Julie, what a GREAT list of writer's block breakers!!!! This post is definitely a keeper!!!

    Several of your points really resonated with me.

    Work on something else. I do this sporadically throughout my writing day. If I get blocked while writing a scene, I'll jump over and read a couple of emails or go fix a snack. This frees my mind to work out the problem.

    Write daily. Boy, do I notice when I've taken a few days off! Even my normal weekend breaks make it hard to pick up the momentum when I'm back at it on Monday! The more days I write in a row, the higher my daily word count usually is.

    Watch a movie that relates to your story. While working on the historical I was writing last year (watch for news about that one soon!), I looked up every WWI-related movie and documentary I could find on Netflix!

    Oh, and thanks for the rundown on peppermint tea's benefits! That's going on my shopping list today!

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  64. Wow, Julie! Thanks for this great list of ideas for getting past WB! I'm printing them. I don't normally have writer's block but I have writer's drag--if that's what you called it. I can get bogged down, uncertain what to do next. I have to keep reminding myself to look to the character, to his goals, his failures, his decisions for what to do next--your who, what, where, when and why tip. I've found that outlining the scenes helps me get back to the big picture. Reading the book from the beginning helps too.

    Thanks for your sweet praise of An Inconvenient Match! Maybe some of you can relate, but confidence is a huge issue with me. You've just lifted mine.

    Hugs, Janet

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  65. Julie this was great but I keep hearing Vince say "I don't get writer's block. I'm just waiting for the story to catch up to me" haha.

    By the way, LOVED the peppermint tea notes. Funny enough, the Ancient Romans knew enough about peppermint leaf to also use it for stomach maladies. I know because the hero in my WIP (which WILL BE finished by 3/31!) uses them. I actually bought peppermint leaf at the grocery store and stuck it between my cheek and gum to suck on it and see what it would really be like but I didn't think to make tea. I'm going to try that now for sure. Not for the WIP but for me.

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  66. LOL, Mary, lots of great reasons to drink peppermint tea. I'm fighting a cold. Been drinking green tea but peppermint tea sounds way better. Wonder if a peppermint would dissolve in hot water? Don't want to make a trip to the store.

    Janet

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  67. CONNIE SAID: "Exercise doesn't seem to help my writing. My mind wanders too much. Like I might look out across the pasture when I'm walking and think, "That clump of grass looks a wild animal." Then I watch it for the next 100 yards to make sure it doesn't move."

    LOL!!! You guys are making me chuckle a lot today, so THANK YOU!! This is a hoot, Connie, because I would do the SAME thing!! But I also listen to worship music at the same time I exercise, and for some reason while I'm focusing on God and worshiping Him, all these ideas come to pull me away ... mmm, wonder why??

    JAMIE ... oh, you're one of THOSE prolific writers who can work on two WIPs at the same time -- I'm jealous!! I have trouble doing that, but it sounds like a GREAT way to break WB!!

    JEANNE!!! Another shower girl!! You and Melissa above both said this, and I concur, it would seem to work.

    You also said: "the line that stood out to me most of all was, "It’s inherent, in the genes, in the blood, a lovely gift from God that says HE thinks you’re wonderful enough to repeat and emulate."

    You know what, Jeanne??? That must have been one of those rare Holy Spirit lines because it spoke to me, too, RIGHT after I wrote it!! Glad it did for you too. :)

    WHIT!!! Don't worry about the coffee, darlin' ... we'll brew a fresh pot when you come back!! Have a great day, and thanks for stopping in to say, "hey"!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  68. Julie!!! This was really speaking to me. I am going to do your fasting email trick starting right now today! I have mild WB right now, because even though I "finished" the rough draft of my book two nights ago, I know I need to write at least one more scene and an epilogue. You know, more than WB, I think my problem is just plain laziness! LOL! And busy-ness and stress. When I'm stressed with life, I am not exactly inspired to write. But forcing myself to write anyway nearly always works.

    Oh, Julie, you are so sweet to mention my book, to even read my books. :-) Honestly, I don't consider myself to be in the same class with you! You are a master writer and I'm more like an apprentice. :-)

    And I have to throw this in. It is an encouragement to me to know that I'm not the only one who has daughters who are "wired drama queens." LOL! Yikes, but all the tears that were shed at my house yesterday could float a nice sized boat! No wonder I lack energy for writing (and they weren't my tears! Well, most of them weren't!)

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  69. Is this just for writers? If not, count me in. You know I can't not read your new book!!! And a signed copy!
    When I blog and can't figure out my review, I leave it and come back later when I've had time to digest the book in my mind.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  70. And I do exercise, not as often as I should, but I get to the gym every so often, but I end up watching the tv while I work out. :-( I get more ideas while driving. :-)

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  71. KAYLA!!! Sooooo glad you made it by today, my sweet friend, and here's hoping it nets you a win, okay?? But even if it doesn't, I will be having lots of blog giveaways in August and September before the release of A Love Surrendered, so you've got lots of opportunity ahead, okay? GOOD LUCK!!

    HELEN!!! Cannot TELL you HOW much I love your new pic, girlfriend -- I swear you look ten years younger, God's truth!! And I would think ANYTHING you do after the kiddos are in bed would break WB ... :)

    KAREN!!! What a FABULOUS idea -- interviewing your characters!! That sounds like SO much fun, too!! Thanks for the great tip!! It's #24 for sure!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  72. And I'm going to make myself some peppermint tea right now!

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  73. And I wish I could go to Grand Rapids tomorrow!!! Boy, do I! Would LOVE to see you and hug you, Julie! Plus my publisher, my wonderful editor, and several other of my favorite people are in Grand Rapids! I hope I get to go there some day. :-)

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  74. AMANDA!!! Cannot WAIT to see your smiling face in GB, my friend!! And hard as it may be to believe, I am NOT a diehard Downtown Abbey fan, but then I only watched one episode, and it wasn't at the beginning, so I know I need to give it another shot. But I DO love the setting, the era, the clothes, the hair!! It is the same time period as A Passion Most Pure, so it is SO fun to watch it from that perspective. See you tomorrow!!

    EMILY ... I actually do that, too, because you are right -- sometimes it DOES trigger the writing!! And another non-Julie-Lessman reader, eh? Well, girl, we are just going to have to change that and quick, so GOOD LUCK in the contest, and when/if you do start reading my books, PLEASE begin with book 1 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, okay? :)

    DEBBIE SAID: "Getting over that bump in the road takes a lot of energy, that's for sure!"

    OH, AMEN to that, sister!! Thanks for coming by, Deb, and here's to a win because I LOVE when I get to send a book to someone who has never read me before, you know?? Because if you do like them (always a big IF, I know!) and decide to continue, it will be a TRUE adventure, I promise!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  75. JOHN!!! Sooooo very true, my friend -- having a crit partner or bud to bounce things off of is ESSENTIAL to writers today. Good luck in the contest!!

    JAMIE SAID: "The other day I finished Regina Scott's newest LIH and then went to work on my story. BIG MISTAKE
    My work looks like 'See Spot run' now when I read it."

    LOL!!! Oh, girl, don't I relate BIG TIME!! And "See Spot run" is hilarious!! Mmm ... editing or re-editing a favorite scene is a good idea, too ... unless you're an anal type like moi who re-edits nonstop anyway ... :|

    SANDRA!!! Man, how I wish you could be in GR too, my friend -- would LOVE to see you again and WOW, thanks SO much for plugging in the phone #s there -- you are SUCH a sweetheart, you know that??

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  76. I'd love to win a signed copy of your book. I don't have time right now to read all the comments, but sometime when I do, it looks to be interesting reading. Enjoy your day!

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  77. Excellent article! Your tip about starting in the morning when fresh is one that works great for me. Also the one on walking. I have found walking to be a great way to work through a scene that is giving me trouble. I look forward to trying some of the other ideas you listed. Thanks!

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  78. CHRISTINA SAID: "but sometimes I still get WB when it comes to post ideas. It's hard to think of original topics, creative spins, etc. so lots of times if I feel uninspired, I just don't post that day."

    OH, Christina, I SOOO relate!! I have a weekly blog called Julie's Journal Jots that I post on Fridays, and for a while it was just extemporaneous, but you're right, you DO run out of fun things to say. So now I keep a Journal Jot file that whenever I get an idea, be it a revelation during my morning devotional or a scene I particularly love in a new WIP, I write it down in that document. I now have TONS of subjects to write about in a pinch, which REALLLY helps, let me tell you!!

    CHRISTINA ALSO SAID: "I seem to get some of my best ideas in the shower, when I'm lying in bed and my brain won't sleep, or even when I'm going through something hard in my own life that triggers me to really broach certain topics on a deeper level. Or if I'm stumped how to begin something, I'll start in the middle instead."

    WONDERFUL ideas, all, my friend -- THANK YOU!!

    GIRL UNSCRIPTED!!! First of all, LOVE your addy -- very cute!! Secondly, what a GREAT idea -- writing outside on a playground close to your house!! I know writing outside REALLLLY helps me A LOT!! Good luck in the contest, sweetie. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  79. CASE SAID: "I hope you have a wildly successful book signing!!"

    LOL ... I'll settle for "mildly successful," but I like how you dream big, my friend.

    And, yeah, Keith is SUCH a genius in so many ways!! This is actually a pic he took of me two years ago for another blog where I was sitting on top of a Rubik's cube with numbers for a blog entitled "2010 ... Your Lucky Number?" I told him I just needed him to turn it into a wood block with a chip out and it was HIS idea to put the first page of my ms. as the background. He is THE BEST!!

    CASE ALSO SAID: "For example: I work BETTER if I dress up, do my hair nice and THEN sit down to write."

    GOSH ... who knew we were so much alike??? But no lipstick???

    FINALLY CASE SAID: "And HAH! I now know exactly when to email you. Buwhahahaha!"

    LOL!!! You can e-mail me (or call me) any old time you please, sweetie, you know that!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. MARY SAID: "Wow, Julie, I could hear that 'puke on the keyboards' story a 1000 times and never tire of it. I'm a little weepy with sentiment. I'm also getting peppermint tea. I'd prefer not to mention which of those things I need a cure for."

    ROTFLOL!!! And, yes, I repeated your remark to Keith as usual and he indicated it wasn't nice to make fun of somebody who can't remember that they said it before ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  81. MARY ALSO SAID: "I have found peace with KNOWING I can't do it justice on the first pass. So I'll write it badly, then start fixing it."

    YES, this revelation usually comes for me after I pray, knowing that with Him, I CAN do all things ... even plow through a sea of tripe!! :)

    JACKIE!!! Soooo glad you made it by today, my friend, and here's hoping it pulls out a win for you, okay? But like I told Kayla above, there will be plenty of chances to win ALS down the road, darlin', so GOOD LUCK!!

    LINNETTE!!! (AKA ANNETTE!) -- WOW, you could have written this blog, girlfriend -- you've got a ton of great ideas there!! And, yeah, I thought the term "Writer's Drag" actually fits best as to what I experience the most. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  82. Write, nap, write, nap. Repeat as needed.

    My personal secret formula.

    I agree. I always keep Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea on hand!

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  83. Helen W has a new blog picture!!

    You look gorgeous!!!

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  84. MYRA SAID: "Watch a movie that relates to your story. While working on the historical I was writing last year (watch for news about that one soon!), I looked up every WWI-related movie and documentary I could find on Netflix!"

    OH, HOW FUN, Myra!!! I should have done that with more movies, but I didn't. What movies did you watch?? And, YES, it's murder when you get away from the writing for a day or two and have to try and prime the pump all over again -- SOOO frustrating!!

    JANET ... I am SO glad I could boost your confidence because I have sensed that you and I are A LOT alike in this area. I am a VERY confident person in most things in life, but when it comes to my writing??? Gosh, I shake in my boots, which is why I would always hit rock bottom when I got those first few 1-star reviews. Now? I just flick 'em off my shoulder like a nasty horse fly! ;)

    NANCY, YES ... do try the tea 'cause I think you will LOVE IT!! And good for you, girlfriend, determined to finish your WIP by 3/31. I sooooo admire you!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  85. MEL SAID: "Honestly, I don't consider myself to be in the same class with you! You are a master writer and I'm more like an apprentice. :-)"

    OH, Ppppshaw, girl!!! I'm not the one who was a Christy nominee, now, was I?? I LOVE your books, and apparently a lot of other people do too, since you win a lot of awards, my friend.

    And, yeah, it helps to know that your daughter is a DQ when all those tears come, because you know that's just part of it. The other part is they are TEENAGERS!!! YIKES ... that's worse than menopause... almost!! ;) Saying one for you, sweetie. Hang in there!!

    LINDA!!! Nope, this is NOT just for writers, my dear friend, and here's to a win, girl!!

    MEL!!! Ideas while driving -- YES!!! Me too!! Oh SHOCK, SHOCK ... another similarity between us!! Well, as long as we don't drive AND cry at the same time, I suppose we're okay ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  86. I'm late to the party!! I loved ALL of these. Most of the I've actually done (not the make up part, or cleaning out a drawer, that's against my personal beliefs, hahahaha).

    Strangely, a clean kitchen really breaks the WB or WD for me. Sometimes the drag I feel is actually the fact that my house is just too messy to do anything worthwhile. If you know me personally, you might think there's not such a thing as 'too messy' around here, but apparently there's a threshold, and when we cross it, I have trouble.

    So, last night before I started working, I scrubbed down the entire kitchen... and had a great hours!

    P.S. LOVE that picture! TOO cute!!

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  87. MEL!!! LIPSTICK TOO??? You're starting to scare me, my friend ... or, I should say ... it should be starting to scare you!! And OH, how I wish you could be in GR too -- SOOO much!! But there's always ACFW, thank God!!

    VICKIE ... thanks for coming by, sweetie, and I know what you mean -- I don't really have time either since I'm leaving for GR tomorrow EARLY, but at least it's FUN for me to read everybody's comments. Now if I just didn't have to write a book for each one ... sigh.

    JENNIFER ... SO glad I could supply some additonal tips, girl, but hopefully you won't be needing them, God willing!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  88. I meant to stop by last night but got sidetrackeed editing for FFL. But one entry is in!!

    JULIE DAY! What great advice Julie! You know, I've used peppermints for a long time for upset stomachs. Especially when I was pregnant with my son, I used them all the time.

    The read in your genre thing... I've been reading Denise Hunter recently. And she did some stuff in several of her books [pubbed by TN] that gave me hope that my first completed MS with a story I love may see the light of day someday. And it also helped me in my Speedbo WIP a few days ago.

    My 10yo is my mini-me and has an article coming out sometime soon, but my 6yo... I wouldn't have expected it, but she's been writing stories recently. Now, they're all one big long run on sentence with NO punctuation and her ds and bs mixed up, but that's okay. My 10yo won't be happy to 'share' me and NaNo time come November [the two of them have the most contentious relationship of my kids], but I'm hoping the 6yo will decide she wants to do it. The stories are interesting [and she rarely sits still so maybe that's the exercise thing at work].

    Anyway - I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win. But you already knew that ;).

    Love you, Julie!

    Sarah Sundin is over on Pentalk today with some advice for squeezing writing in. I didn't know for sure what she was blogging about today, but I know I needed it... :D

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  89. TINA SAID: "Write, nap, write, nap. Repeat as needed."

    LOL!!! Why am I not surprised??? You are SO adorable, you know that?? And, YES, Helen's pic is GORGEOUS, I agree!

    VIRGINIA SAID: "Most of the I've actually done (not the make up part, or cleaning out a drawer, that's against my personal beliefs, hahahaha)."

    LOL!! Mine, too, sweetie, but my hubby makes fun of me, so sometimes I break down and do it because of him. And, grin, I do understand about that "messy threshold," trust me -- I've crossed it one too many times lately, it seems, but I am SOOO proud of you that you now have a clean house, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  90. I had all sorts of witty comments while reading the blog, and wouldn't ya know it, I didn't make any of them.

    Something along the lines of "Isn't Mary's cure for WB shooting someone?"

    And my kids just turned on Loony Toons.

    That's a different kind of WB.

    And now, I'm going to go stare at a blinking cursor and hit refresh every so often to see what else Julie [and other Seekers/friends] have to say ;).

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  91. Man, Julie - I SO want to make it to the book signing - need to see if I can work it out with my crazy family (yeah, I live in Grand Rapids - and DID go to Lynda's signing there last year). Life is CRAZY here right now!

    ANYhow - GREAT tips. One thing I do, that almost ALWAYS works? Pull out the pen and paper, and write longhand. OR if for some odd reason, I'm starting with longhand, start typing. Just the changing "medium" does amazing things for me. Wish I knew why - just know it does.

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  92. Hi Julie:

    As a marketing guy, I’m shocked. You write this world class post on WB, and then you don’t plug your book! Where’s your internal marketer? I really like seeing the women on your covers because they look just like the actual heroines in the story.

    Emma is Emma. BTW: that ending in “A Heart Revealed” is a rollercoaster. I understand ‘edgy’ passion but that was a very daring and ‘edgy’ ending; but it was a total success. You’re up, you’re down, you’re up! I don’t think anyone will see that ending coming and yet the foundation was there ever since Emma appeared in the early books. We just loved her too much.

    I’m now trying to review “A Heart Revealed” – a really perfect title – but it is like writing a master’s thesis. There is just so much ‘there’ there!

    Have you considered writing a short, single theme, romance? You face a serious challenge many times in your books. Each time you switch themes, or story threads, you create a natural stopping point for the reader to slip in a short single theme romance. (Don’t ask.) You have to be two or there times better to hold the reader. Just when you, as a reader, get really interested in a story line, bang! it switches to another theme. If you were a juggler, I think you’d have twenty balls in the air – the audience would think you were juggling a big orange blur. : )

    Doesn’t your husband want you to write shorter books? But don't stop before the next book. (I also want to find out the details on Katie and where Steven's love interst is going to come from.).

    BTW: I just love Tony Hillerman. He was the pantsers pantser. He always said that if he did not know how the mystery would end, his readers sure wouldn’t either. It is easy to pantser a great mystery – the hard part is solving it. Hillerman had a dresser full of half finished manuscripts. A great ending sells books. I think it is better to have a great ending you can't get to and have to modify than a great start you can't deliver on.

    One more thing: I want to thank you for the wonderful and truthful portrayal of Father Mac and the Catholic church. All your little details are spot on with how I remember things as a child. You have it the way it was.

    Vince

    P.S. I better not use lipstick. My wife already does not understand the ‘romance thing’. : )

    P.P.S.. Don’t you have an analogue to WB in one of your books? A character who is blocked and just can’t do something? I’m sure you do. That would make a nice quote. Mitch kind of had a ‘love’ block didn’t he?

    P.P.P.S.. This is a long post but then you write long books and posts, too. 

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  93. Speedbo Report

    Completed:
    Chapter 12 (1405 words)

    Using the Rewards Per Page System: Grading How You Are Doing

    (Still to come: Table of Contents, Epilogue, and the Appendices)

    On to the Fun Stuff after the 15th. Fiction is more fun. It’s like a bad boy hero. Non-fiction is like a steady, honest, reliable guy. Oh, well.

    I hope everyone is keeping on keeping on!
    Keep reporting in.

    Vince

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  94. Hi Julie! These are some awesome writer's block busters! I'm taking notes! Thanks for offering up any of your books, I would really like a copy of "A Passion Most Pure". :-)

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  95. Loving you as a brunette, Julie!!!
    I suffer WD all the time. *grin*

    Thanks for the tips, sweet lady!

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  96. Awe, shucks. Thanks, Jules!

    (Jules because you are such a jewel!)

    SpeedBo Update:
    372 words on a much needed plot list I needed - thanks to your amazing advice for WD! :D And 966 words on my MS.

    That brings the day's total to 1,338!!!

    Still not the 2K I want, but I have a gazillion worthy causes requiring my attention. More later! I hope...

    VINCE:
    Way to go on the SpeedBo! Loving those numbers! :D

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  97. Julie, thanks for the ideas. They're great. I know I get a ton more done when I'm all put together for the day. No jammies for this writer!

    I also love writing with a baseball game on in the background--cause one of my characters is a pro baseball player. It really does work.

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  98. Here are some good WWI movies, Julie:

    The Lost Battalion

    World War I: American Legacy

    Sergeant York

    A Farewell to Arms

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  99. Great tips, Julie - some new ones and some old fav here.

    Like #2 Change Surroundings, although I do it a bit differently. I take a notebook and the last few pages of my WIP and go for a ride. I know, gas is expensive, and I have a lake full of ducks behind my house, so this probably seems indulgent. But as I drive the country roads, I find inspiration. Suddenly, the farmer's fields come alive in my notebook and my brain unwinds the knot that blocked my writing.

    Number 8 is a staple for me - the favorite drink. In fact, my 30 yr old daughter and I always discuss how we'd rather drink our calories than eat them! I'm a huge fan of herbal teas, drink Peppermint tea most days, and my version of iced coffee, homemade smoothies, and on and on.

    And number 19 - put on lipstick...Just for fun, after reading this one, I checked my calendar and discovered that my BEST writing day last week, was the day I had my hair cut and colored, and whoohooo, I was lookin' pretty cute and feelin' it too! It translated to the page! So I can say that # 19 worked for me!

    It's 76 degrees in Chicago so I'm sharing my special iced coffee with Seekerville.

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  100. I would love to be entered in the Giveaway!!! Yay!
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  101. Hello Julie!

    Great ideas for WB. No. 11 is one I do ALL THE TIME here at work. At a newspaper, we have deadlines almost every day and I don't always feel like writing up news articles but does the press care? Nope, so I have to JUST DO IT. Not every article can win a Pulitzer.

    *For the record, I've never won a Pulitzer.

    A few of my own ideas to get me out of a funk... showering (yay, MELISSA and JEANNE do this too!), and doing laundry. I think it's because I normally dislike doing laundry, but seeing that pile of clothes disappear just makes me feel productive.

    And re-reading parts of my WIP that I KNOW are good helps too. especially when I'm starting to doubt my ability. One time I was doing this, and hubby came in and asked me why I looked so happy. I told him that "I just remembered why I like these characters so much!"

    Have a fantastic day, Julie, and can't wait to get "A Passion Denied" in the mailbox this week! From Amazon, alas, not from you :(

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  102. BTW, I know you said the original picture of you at the top is several years old, but I like your boots :)

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  103. CAROL!!!! HOLY COW, girlfriend, you the writing talent must run DEEP in the Moncado household!! And starting that early -- WOW -- that tells me it's probably not just a fluke, so keep those kids writing, CM!! I can just see it now ... three Moncados at Panera ...

    AND CAROL SAID: "Something along the lines of "Isn't Mary's cure for WB shooting someone?"

    LOL ... I'm pretty sure that's true!! :)


    JOANNE!!! BRILLIANT IDEA, my friend ... point #25 (two other people came up with some things too!!) And, I hear you on the crazy-busy mode, trust me!! Of course, I would LOVE to see you, but nobody understands better than me right now, so if you can make it, GREAT!! If not, this gal understands BIG TIME!! :)

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  104. PLOW THROUGH A SEA OF TRIPE?

    I'M LAUGHING AT YOUR DESCRIPTION OF BADLY WRITTEN SCENES, SWEETIE, THAT'S A LITTLE HARSH.

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  105. You know, Carol, seriously (or not seriously if I can think of something witty to say) shooting someone is just inherently exciting. The bullet has to come from somewhere, be aimed at someone, there's a dastardly reason someone pulled the trigger. There needs to be running and screaming and bleeding.....this keeps a book and a writer as well as a reader busy and involved.

    Seriously, Julie, you have totally UNDER utilized the whole 'shooting someone' writing technique.

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  106. And if you just can't shoot someone, wll there is NO GENRE and NO BOOK LINE where you can't fall off a cliff or have a car wreck or be hit by a tornado (Ruthy 101). So if there is no opportunity to gun violence in your book, just kick them off a cliff and see if that doesn't liven things up.

    Off to write my avalance scene.

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  107. Great suggestions, Julie. You pretty much covered everything know to writer, I think.

    As I was reading your very comprehensive list, I thought of two more:

    Under #2, change your surroundings, consider going for a drive. Less pressure than simply going somewhere else to write. But keep a voice recorder handy for those thoughts that pop into mind when you are least able to write them down.

    Similarly, take a shower. With my dayjob, I can't tell you how many analytic problems I've solved in the shower. Seem to think better when water is flowing over my head. Same with writing. Something will pop into my mind that solves whatever was blocking me. Works absolutely best after a good night's sleep!

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  108. Oh my stars....

    Who knew that Peppermint Tea was food of the Gods??? ;)

    Julie, talk about a jam-packed blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you for so many solutions to that old bugaboo, self-confidence. I bet that's the source of a lot of writer's block.

    Which is silly, silly, silly. Our gift is of God and from God and if we're thinking of it that way, the break will come.

    With the appropriate dose of exercise and tea, LOL! I love exercise, but not PLANNED exercise. Dancing with babies. Gardening. Painting a room, which first means moving furniture, scrubbing walls, cutting in, etc.

    Planned exercise???? Like a club or Turbo Jam or P-90X????

    Shoot me now.

    But I get it, we all have to find our own way to overcome that blockage. Bless you for this!

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  109. Yes, I know, we are both scary, Julie. :-) You know, it's probably best I can't come to GR, because I'd monopolize all your time, without meaning to. :-) I would just be so happy to get to talk to you!

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  110. Vince, I'm a HUGE Tony Hillerman fan. Wonderful, fascinating work. I loved all his books.

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  111. Wish I could be at your signing tomorrow, Julie! How fun would that be!!!

    Loved your list...so many great strategies.

    Yesterday I was stuck on my villain. Went to the gym and walked on the treadmill...

    Prayed as I walked.

    Did the air clear? A bit.

    This morning, more ideas popped into my head.

    By lunchtime, the villain problem seemed to be solved.

    Now, I'm ready to work the new ideas into the story.

    Love Donald Maass! He's an inspiration.

    Tea is always good.

    Change of scenery...yes!

    Love your new pic!!!

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  112. What a list of suggestions! I am going to be using my elliptical more often I do believe ;) And I will be trying peppermint tea soon too.

    I am bookmarking this one for the times WB comes calling.

    <3 to you Julie dear!

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  113. Thanks so much for writing this, Julie! Everytime I sit down to write I get massive Writer's block and doubt what I've written and actually end up deleting most of what I write because of over thinking it. I'll be sure try these tips and hopefully my writing won't suffer as much. Thanks again.

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  114. I love, love, love this post! I really like the idea of ambiance and making my writing hole cozy and comfortable. I also do the movie watching to get me in the mood and "flavor" of my ms.

    It is so cool to read how you work. Thanks for sharing!

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  115. Wow, Julie. That's quite the list for writer's block cures. I find the treadmill one amusing, and the change of scenery one very applicable to me. I'll get stuck and tell myself I need to be doing dishes or laundry rather than writing anyway, then it seems like five minutes into my chores, I get the idea that puts me past that hump. :-)

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  116. LOL, VINCE ... what can I say?? My marketing skills leave SO much to be desired, but I've learned to take it with a grain of salt. Although I LOOK like I can juggle all kinds of balls in the air with all the plots I have going in my books, when it comes to promotion, I can only do so much and then I freak out, which is NEVER a good thing. Ask my husband!! So believe it or not, I've actually gotten kind of laid back on promotion, trusting God to be my Publicist! :)

    AND VINCE SAID: "BTW: that ending in “A Heart Revealed” is a rollercoaster. You’re up, you’re down, you’re up! I don’t think anyone will see that ending coming."

    LOL ... well, I gotta be honest. The credit TOTALLY goes to God because I was bemoaning the fact one day in prayer that I love to surprise my readers at the end of a book, but I wouldn't be able to do that with Emma's story because the only way I saw out of it was the obvious ending that everybody would expect. So I was sitting outside on my deck, and I looked up at the sky and I said, "God, you are the God of creativity and surprise -- can you PLEASE give me a great surprise ending that nobody will see coming??? And would you believe that within ten seconds, that idea floated down into my brain like autumn leaves were floating from the trees. It shocked me SO much, that I literally sat straight up in my chair and started laughing!! And you know what?? NOBODY has guessed the ending yet that I know of. :)

    You asked: Have you considered writing a short, single theme, romance?

    Actually, I DID begin one right before I got published ... I was targeting LI and Heartsong to get a foothold in the market before I cut loose with my 500-page sagas. But I only got a chapter written before I sold, so no, haven't gone that simpler route yet. BUT ... the Heart of San Francisco series about the McClares in 1902 IS simpler (only one subplot), less sensual (no bedroom scenes because nobody's married) and shorter (125,000 words vs. my usual 170,000), so we'll see if my readership likes that or not. And, YES, my husband DOES want me to write shorter books, which is the MAIN reason why I'm switching my style up for this next series.

    And, OH, don't you just LOVE Father Mac??? You are MORE than welcome, Vince, because my memories growing up reflect characters like him too, which deepens my respect and affection for that faith. :)

    YOU SAID: "P.S. I better not use lipstick. My wife already does not understand the ‘romance thing’. : )"

    LOL ... I CAN BELIEVE IT!! ;)

    YOU ALSO SAID: "P.P.S.. Don’t you have an analogue to WB in one of your books? A character who is blocked and just can’t do something? I’m sure you do. That would make a nice quote. Mitch kind of had a ‘love’ block didn’t he?"

    MMMM ... can't think of any of my characters with a WB thing going on right now, but if it comes to me, I'll pop back in and tell you.

    YOU ALSO SAID: "
    P.P.P.S.. This is a long post but then you write long books and posts, too. "

    BRAT!! :) Something tells me your books are gonna be doorstops too!! ;)

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  117. Uh... that would be 4 Moncados, Julie. My 8yo participated some the last two years. She starts but doesn't finish. It's not her 'thing' but she wants in on the action at least at first. I don't push her like I do my 10yo because I know that.

    My 6yo, on the other hand, is like me and my 10yo in many ways. Hours on end with her My Little Ponies making up stories and stuff.
    Natural vivid imagination and story telling ability.

    Once I found her "Little People" nativity scene all set up with Mary/Joseph/Baby Jesus/Angel/etc. and around it were all her animals. Did you know pink ponies, triceratops and penguins were at the stable that day?

    I think my 4yo son will be the same way. And don't ask him to hold his hands still while he talks ;).

    Mary - I think a tornado coming is just the ticket. I've used sudden ice storms a time or two. Newlywed teen/early20s couple [shotgun wedding you know] stuck in a house with the roommates [who haven't had time to move out yet], roommates boyfriends and hero's exgirlfriend who wants him back. Good times ;).

    OR! Not nearly as bloody/scream-inducing but... My 10yo daughter's classroom door is broken somehow [or was - it may be fixed by now] and they couldn't open it from the inside. A certain h/h stuck in a classroom/office/space of some sort with no cell phones or the power out could be interesting...

    Shooting someone still sounds much more exciting though...

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  118. Fantastic ideas, Julie.

    I'm with you regarding pix of people who remind me of characters, etc. A writing friend shared the idea with me when I was stuck -- and it helped so much I now have the pix in view at all times. I also have pix of items from the time period -- everything from street scenes to kitchen utensils.I've gone so far as to pick clothing for the characters.

    Saving this list for the next WB day. Thank you!

    Nancy C

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  119. VINCE, WHOO-HOO on the SPEEDBO PROGRESS!!


    Oh, GWEN, trust me, girl -- I would LOVE for you to win because we need to get one of my books into your hot, little hands, you hear??? Of course, the books are rather on the "hot" side as well, so if you don't like heat in your romance, steer clear!! ;)

    JESSICA!!! Thanks, sweetie -- that was actually two or three years ago before I went highlighted!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  120. ANNETTE ... WHOO-HOO, GIRL ON SPEEDBO!!!


    SALLY!!! What a fun idea to write about a baseball hero while there's an actual game on -- TOO CUTE!! And I'm with you -- HATE not being dressed for the day ... could NEVER work in jammies except late at night when I can't sleep. But our own Tina Radcliffe is a jammies queen, trust me, especially on weekends!!

    Thanks, MYRA ... heard of Sergeant York and Farewell to Arms, but not the others.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. LYNDEE SAID: "I discovered that my BEST writing day last week, was the day I had my hair cut and colored, and whoohooo, I was lookin' pretty cute and feelin' it too! It translated to the page!"

    LOL, GIRL!!! This made me laugh, so THANK YOU!! I TOTALLY relate, trust me!! And it's 77 degrees in St. Louis and I am sitting outside on my deck with my bare feet up and capris on -- SOOOOO great!!

    LANE HILL HOUSE!!! Good for you, girl, being so diligent about these giveaways -- that is a GREAT way to win free books. Would you believe I have already won about three free books this year along PLUS a gift basket??? I'll tell you, leaving comments on blogs is SOOO smart, so GOOD LUCK!!

    STEPHANIE SAID: "Nope, so I have to JUST DO IT. Not every article can win a Pulitzer. *For the record, I've never won a Pulitzer."

    LOL ... join the club, honey!! Nor a Rita nor a Christy ... but maybe someday for us both, right?? And let me tell you, girl ... my heart stopped when I read you were expecting APD in the mail. I thought, "Oh, dear God, did I drop the ball again???" Because I DID drop the ball this week on some sweet girl I was supposed to send AHR to back in October. The sweet thing FINALLY said something ... :)

    Happy reading, Steph, and I hope you like it!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  122. LOL, STEPH!!! I know ... these were my FAVORITE boots, but they had a realllly pointed toe, so my fashionista daughter said I can't wear them anymore, so boo! :(

    MARY ... "Plow through a sea of tripe" may be harsh, but trust me -- it's how I feel at the time which IS harsh!! And, yes, I do realize I have under utilized the "shooting someone" writing technique, but I have had fist fights and a knife fight, and Steven threatens some street punks with a gun in A Love Surrendered, so does that count??

    PATRICIA ... YEP, showers and drives are two excellent ways that we need to add to this list, so thank you, sweetie!! And your whole idea about a voice recorder??? I sooooo wanted to invent a wristwatch that was waterproof and had a voice recorder because just like you, I would get SOOO many ideas in the shower and would have to get out dripping wet to write them down or I'd lose them. Same thing with driving the car -- I've almost had a wreck trying to write stuff down on our windy backroad!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  123. Mary dear [and uh Julie because I was walking around while it came to me] - I have just figured out a key scene - not until much later - but it's now figured - thanks to your note there [and a few leaps in my own mind - you don't want to go there - it's like a Pinchinko machine]. So thank you. This pantser now has that ending of Vince's to work toward :D.

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  124. RUTHY SAID: "Planned exercise???? Like a club or Turbo Jam or P-90X????
    Shoot me now."

    BIG CHEESY GRIN HERE ... because I feel the SAME way, but this old gal has a heart condition so I HAVE to get on the treadmill or nobody will have to shoot me ... :)

    MEL ... which reminds me ... we did NOT get to sit down and talk at ACFW and that can NEVER happen again, do you understand??? Don't make me come down there ...

    DEB ... sooooo glad you worked through your villain WB, girl!! And unfortunately, that's NOT a new pic ... but a 2- or 3-year-old pic in which I look younger. Sigh.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  125. CHRISTY!!! Oh, honey, how did the move go and the new job, new place, new life??? I've been praying up a storm for you, darlin', so you best have good news for me, you hear???

    DANYELLE, you are MORE than welcome, my friend!! Just remember ALL of us feel that way, truly!!

    Thanks, SHERRINDA!! Nice to know there's another ambiance queen in the bunch! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  126. NAOMI!!! :) You find the treadmill one amusing, do you, now?? Well, that's only because you are young and thin, you little brat, so you can laugh at us old gals who have to run off the lbs. and work on their hearts!! ;)

    CAROL ... FOUR MONCADOS AT PANERA??? You need to buy stock, darlin'!! And WHOO-HOO ... glad that even comments on a WB post can help WB ...

    NANCY ... oh, YES, those pix reallly motivate, don't they??? My pic for my hero for my next series is Matt Bomer from White Collar, and Lord have mercy -- all it takes is one look, and I'm cranking away ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  127. Hey Julie!

    Love the ideas!!!!

    :)Andi

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  128. Julie, amazing suggestions!! Thanks so much for sharing! Of course, you also convicted me about the exercise. :/

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  129. Hi Myra:

    If you ever have to do another WWI period story, these two movies are excellent:

    “Paths of Glory” with Kirk Douglas
    (Some would say this is the best WWI movie.)

    “East of Eden” with James Dean
    (The book starts in 1860 but the movie starts in 1917)

    Vince

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  130. After reading through the comments, I think I just figured out that extra ooomph my new WIP needs -

    I haven't shot anyone yet!

    And that's hard to do in an Amish romance...

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  131. Julie, thanks for the prayers for my FIL. He passed away Jan. 22, but my MIL will continue to need prayer as she adjusts to living without her best friend after 64 years of marriage. We'll be visiting her in Michigan in a couple weeks...

    Of course, I wish our visit was this week and we could stop by GR tonight :)

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  132. wellll, if I were going to write a book, I'd take all you tips!!!!! I think the peppermint tea might deal with every ailment I have!!!! You are too fun...Love ya Julie

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  133. Wow, Julie, what a list of motivators. I need to try the peppermint tea!

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  134. I'm a reader, not a writer, but I would love to win your next book!
    I'm sure glad that all of you wonderful writers overcome your writers block, because I sure enjoy reading the end results!
    Patty

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  135. HEY, ANDI!!! SO good to see you here, my friend, and I'm glad you like the ideas. We all need 'em one time or another, right? Good luck, sweetie!!

    LOL, MISSY ... sorry, didn't mean to play the guilt card, sweetie!! ;)

    Thanks, VINCE, for additional WWI suggestions -- excellent!!

    JAN ... I am so very sorry to hear about your FIL, my friend. You bet I will say some for your MIL -- I can't even imagine how hard that must be ...

    JAN SAID: "After reading through the comments, I think I just figured out that extra ooomph my new WIP needs - I haven't shot anyone yet! And that's hard to do in an Amish romance..."

    LOL ... SOOOO TRUE, my friend!! ;)

    VIRGINIA ... thanks, sweetie!! And I think you're right -- peppermint tea may just be the natural cure-all we've been looking for!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  136. love your tips on WB I'm not a writer but the tips sound good to me.

    would love to win your new book. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  137. PAM ... yeah, and most of 'em work, too, so that's a REAL good thing!

    PATTY ... thanks for coming by! You sure don't have to be a writer to enter the contest, girl, so GOOD LUCK!!

    ABI ... I'm sure as a blogger, you must run into WB a lot ... I know I do!! Hope this helps and good luck in the contest, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  138. WB doesn't often threaten me. If my fiction is feeling stagnant I find if I just write anyway, but maybe work on a non-fiction article or a poem, the fiction words soon begin to flow again. I'm a supporter of the "Write every day" motto, and Nike's "Just do it" admonition.

    We've had a couple wild storms over the past three days and I'm always invigorated by spending time watching the ocean waves thrash around in the wind, so that's another WB busting technique for me.

    My Speedbo revision goal is on track, although I eliminated a complete sub-plot and now am struggling with transitions for the remaining scenes. I think I need a caffeine kick from one of Helen's good cups of coffee.

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  139. Julie, thanks for the great tips! I love the lipstick and hair thing - this kind of thing always picks me up. I often switch projects when I get stuck, too. Like you, it helps me feel productive, whether on another writing project or clearing out that ironing. :)

    Thanks and blessings,
    Karen

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  140. Great suggestions for "mixing it up" that work for life too. Does anyone remember David Hartman - my all time favorite host of Good Morning America? He used to close every program by saying, "Go out and make it a great day."


    hudson5107[at]aol[dot]com

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  141. great tips! The changing up the routine with the drinks is a good idea that one wouldn't normally think of.
    The Peppermint tea is awesome, I enjoy it a lot from the English Tea Company, of course ;)

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  142. That was a great list for not only writer's block - but anything! I think that I will use peppermint tea when I am studying, and maybe walk of the treadmill while I am studying too. :)
    Thanks very much!!

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  143. Hi Julie,

    Great post as usual! Just had some peppermint tea and it took away my headache! Who knew?

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  144. CAROL SAID: "I'm a supporter of the "Write every day" motto, and Nike's "Just do it" admonition." Okay, girl, I was SO with you on this until you said, "I'm always invigorated by spending time watching the ocean waves thrash around in the wind, so that's another WB busting technique for me."

    Excuse me??? You live on an ocean, you little brat??? I am SOOO jealous, but I will forgive you because you just had storms. :)

    KAREN ... YAY, another lipstick gal!! Heck, give me my lipstick/lip gloss and peppermint tea or hazelnut coffe, and I am ALL set!! :)

    LOIS!!! I LOVED David Hartmann too!! Wonder what he's up to now?? Well, I hope you've gone and made it a great day today!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  145. Thanks Julie. Now I want be so unhappy if I don't win, because I will have more chances to win.

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  146. MARIE!!! SOOO glad the beverage switch-up works for you, my friend!! Go, get 'em, girl!!

    TIFFANY ... GOOD GIRL!!! I bet your grades go up ... ;)

    SUE ... a living testimony to peppermint tea -- THANK YOU!! Sooo glad that nasty headache went away, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  147. Thanks for the list, Julie! I’m not able to do some of them (no laptop means no moving around… did I mention we don’t have a working fire place? :p)

    I did number 7, and believe it or not… I want to get back into my MAIN WIP. : ) So, I will need to do number 6 now. Lol.

    Number 20 sounds helpful! My story is set in 1897 Alaska... any good recommendations? By the way, this new series… not the Cousin McClare series, is it? Just what is it about? I must be behind the times, too, because I just saw the cover for your new Winds of Change book, A Love Surrendered. Who is SHE? I haven’t got to read A Heart Revealed yet. : (

    Whitney

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  148. Ok, I'm completely unadventurous in the beverage department but I MAY just have to try this peppermint tea.

    And I'm partial to fires. I've never been in one, but they're so scary that even a little fire is a good shake-up for the ms. Especially in the historicals because no alarms or sprinkler systems, etc.

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  149. Julie, Tina - so flattered you like my new pic! Had no idea it would generate such comments! It was just a photo of my daughter and I in the backyard. I try to steer away from photos of me with glasses, but I think I have to accept the truth - which is, the glasses hide the mummy-eye-bags lol.

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  150. JULIE!!
    Well, I'm no writer, but you know I just had to come, right?
    Sweet saints, you just made me laugh at loud with your post! Great advices, Jules.

    Ganise( possibly a future writer too :)
    (ganise_4life@hotmail.com)

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  151. definitely saved this one Julie! TY~ your illustration pic is perfect :))

    playing music along with the suggestions really helps. it's effects on our brain are healthy & helpful at unblocking,destressing and building/clearing neuropathways, so grap your mp3 if you're heading outdoors or cd player in the car and put music to work for you!

    music in whatever form that causes you to worship works wonders! go fo it girls! and be blessed writers...

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  152. definitely saved this one Julie! TY~ your illustration pic is perfect :))

    playing music along with the suggestions really helps. it's effects on our brain are healthy & helpful at unblocking,destressing and building/clearing neuropathways, so grap your mp3 if you're heading outdoors or cd player in the car and put music to work for you!

    music in whatever form that causes you to worship works wonders! go fo it girls! and be blessed writers...

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  153. Julie ouch to the retainer cost! I say gaps are good (I have plenty). the mouth is fine today it was more sore from being open than anything wide!
    I still have 2 small ones to be done but I have 6 weeks to earn some money. Not sure why dentists cost so much. even if I had private health cover I would still be paying quite a bit.

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  154. Such good advice Julie.

    People tell me all the time that they never get writer's block...well I sure do. Sometimes that makes me think maybe I'm not cut out for this, but to hear that even a writer on your level deals with it, that makes me feel better.

    The music one is key for me. I actually make a play list for each of my WIPS and listen to them while I'm writing or while I'm driving to/from work (it's an hour each way) so I'll think about my characters and play out conversations my entire commute.

    And for sure exercise. I always make the excuse that it's taking away time from writing, but every time I do it (mine's the planned PX90, 5K running type) my ability to accomplish things afterwards increases ten fold.

    Seekerville seems to always be in my head. This is EXACTLY what I was struggling with this week (writer's block) in the WIP I'm on - AND in my revision of my finished one. But here you guys go again, giving me all the tools and taking away all my excuses. Thank you!!

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  155. Those sound like great tips Julie!!

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  156. LOLOLOLOL!

    Watch out world for the day Julie and I unite and take you OVER!

    No one will be looking for us. ;-)

    Keith is pretty much amazing. I was going to ask if you if had dyed your hair...you look cute as a brunette. ;)

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  157. Awesome post! This is definitely a KEEPER!

    I like your #10, Don't Think, Just Write. I too had a creative writing teacher that would have us 'free write' for the first 5-10 minutes of each class. Sometimes he would put up four pictures, all unrelated. They would sit there through the first hour or so, then he would abruptly stop his lecture, ask us to select a picture and then he would have us write about one picture and describe it by showing instead of telling and we were allowed to write for 10 minutes. It made you think quick and write fast. One of my best 'short' pieces was from one of those exercises. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  158. Julie, I so needed this! Since chemo, I've been having the hardest time getting back into writing. I have a deadline looming, and I'm just not moving. This was so helpful! Thank you for sharing!

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  159. KAYLA ... you are SO due to win, my friend, so it's just a matter of time, I promise ... :)

    Oh, WHITNEY ... BUMMER!! No laptop and no fireplace??? I would be dead in the water, girl ... you do have a deck, right???

    Mmm ... 1897 Alaska ... I know that Mary Connealy wrote a great little book that took place in Alaska called Golden Days, but I'm not sure of the year. Oh, and Jamie Carie's excellent debut, Snow Angel, took place in 1800s Alaska, so check both of those out.
    And the new series was called The Cousins McClare, but my publisher changed it to the Heart of San Francisco series and the first book is Love at any Cost. The 1-sentence premise is: A spunky heiress without a fortune falls in love with a handsome pauper looking to marry well. I actually have an excerpt (one of faves) on my Journal Jots blog on my website on August 12, 2011 ... just scroll down, and then pix of who I see playing Jamie on February 10, 2012, so check it out. Here's the link:
    Julie's Journal Jots.

    The girl on the cover of A Love Surrendered is the heroine Annie Kennedy WHO, unbeknownst to Steven, is the younger sister of the girl he almost married and who his father found him on the couch with in A Hope Undaunted -- Maggie Kennedy. :)

    You have till October to read A Heart Revealed before ALS come out, girl, so get cracking!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  160. Though I am not a writer, it was interesting to read Julie's ideas for writer's block. Many of these tips could be used to give us the incentive to do any task that is troubling us (or that we are just avoiding).
    I'm a great fan of Julie's books, so it's always fun to read some of the behind the scenes process of writing them.

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  161. VIRGINIA ... go for it, girl, you will LOVE the peppermint tea. I put sweetner in it and it's drinking Junior Mints!! And you're a fire bug??? Do mean you like to write BY a fire or about a fire??? :)

    HELEN ... on you the glasses REALLLY look good, no kidding! Make you look smart and like genius teenager. :)

    GANISE!!! ALWAYS love to see you, girl, you know that!! Thanks for coming by, my friend, and say one for me for my book signing tomorrow, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  162. Great tips, Julie. I espcially liked 3 & 8. You're my kind of girl! Unfortunately, my plans to write today fell by the wayside. Not my fault. Promise. My nephew, his girlfriend and great nephew made a surprise visit from Montana. There here in rainy N. CA on spring break. My great nephew was born on hubby and my anniversary. He'll be two June 2. I also had an appointment, so that's my excuse. Tomorrow I'm visiting a friend in the hospital, but hopefully I'll have a chance to get in a bit of work! This whole week has been topsy turvey!

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  163. Great tips, Julie. I espcially liked 3 & 8. You're my kind of girl! Unfortunately, my plans to write today fell by the wayside. Not my fault. Promise. My nephew, his girlfriend and great nephew made a surprise visit from Montana. There here in rainy N. CA on spring break. My great nephew was born on hubby and my anniversary. He'll be two June 2. I also had an appointment, so that's my excuse. Tomorrow I'm visiting a friend in the hospital, but hopefully I'll have a chance to get in a bit of work! This whole week has been topsy turvey!

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  164. FAITH, HOPE AND CHERRYTEA ... I've missed you, girl!! Soooo love that addy, as you know, so thank you for coming by, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    JENNY ... oh, I KNOW!! Dentists make a fortune, don't they?? The gaps aren't that terribly noticeable yet ... but I'm worried they will really grow, so I may have to bite the bullet, you know?

    JESS!!! SOOOO glad this blog spoke to you today, girl, and heavens NO, you are not alone when it comes to WB. Goodness, ALL of us go through it at some time or another, but I'm glad to hear your exercise increases your productivity ten-fold -- that's AWESOME!! And, yes, we are taking ALL of your excuses away, sweetie, so get cracking!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  165. MARISSA ... hey, thanks for coming by, girl, and GOOD LUCK in the contest, okay?

    CASE ... I was always a brunette my whole life till my late 50s, then I went with highlights because it softens we old gals, you know. ;)

    CINDY, that is sooooo cool!! I swear, those freestyle exercises are really good for writers, and you're living proof!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  166. Aw, SANDI, I am SO glad I could help you, my friend!! I can't imagine how much chemo must drain you, so I am saying one for you RIGHT NOW for supernatural productivity. Go, get 'em, girl!!

    Hey, PAM, thanks for coming by, sweetie -- always great to see you here. And you don't have to be a writer to win, so you are very smart to drop by!! Good luck. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  167. What a great list! I'm going to print it out and keep it by my computer. I think I'll try the Fasting e-mail first. (Peppermint tea tomorrow!)

    I've also found that being around or in water helps stir up the creativity. Ideas just seem to pop into my head when I'm washing the dishes or taking a shower.

    Thanks again for the suggestions. Love them! Keep writing!

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  168. Super motivating post, Julie--thank you! I do plan on keeping this list next to my computer as a handy tool--SO many great suggestions. ~ A couple of my favorites are on your list: scented candles (that's my splurge in life, LOL)--LOVE them, and keep them burning all the time. ~ Also I had to smile at your suggestion of putting on lipstick and fixing your hair, then do something productive. It might seem silly to some folks, but I keep lipstick and my favorite spray cologne next to my desk, and when I need a "lift" I put on the lipstick and cologne--even when it's only me and the cats here, it makes me FEEL better, LOL. ~ One other thing I enjoy doing is needlepoint, and can actually come up with some creative ideas for plot and dialogue when I'm working on a tapestry. ~ Thank you again for sharing, and if I lived anywhere near your book signing I promise I'd be there! ~ Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

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  169. DANIE MARIE ... oh, girl, I SO relate, so just take care of your family ... it's what God would want you to do anyway, right? HE will give you the time to write when it's time.

    REBECCA ... that is SO interesting how water affects you, girl -- even your hands in the dishes!! Well, if you need any inspiration, I've got PLENTY of dirty dishes at my house ... :)

    PATTI JO!! Gosh, you had me at candles, lipstick and spray cologne ... and then you said needlepoint and you lost me because I have NO sewing or needlepoint talent WHATSOEVER, but I can certainly see how it would help you to think creative thoughts, so you go, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  170. ANNETTE... LOL, Julie! Why do I get the feeling that's going to stick?
    ;-) I might have to use it as a pseudonym. :D

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  171. That was AWESOME Julie!!!!!!
    I'm working on my first novel and those are GREAT tips for everyday. The one about not thinking while your writing really gave me cause to think.
    Can't wait for your next book!!!!!
    Jacinta Swindell

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  172. Welcome to Sharon K! OUR 116th Speedbo Participant!!

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  173. Julie! I love all your research!! And leave it to you to feature 22 points when you tell us there are only 20, LOL! You just can't stay within word count, can you???

    What a comprehensive list! Quite a few of your suggestions work for me, sometimes in conjunction with each other.

    Exercise seems to work the best. I love going out on walks with the dog and talking out loud to work through the tough areas. In order to keep the neighbors from thinking they have a lunatic on the loose, I wear earbud so it looks like I'm singing : ) Sometimes just hearing the various threads of a scene voiced is enough to make you see the obvious path.

    I love it when that happens : )

    I'm really all over the peppermint tea, too. Coffee in the morning; tea in the evening. It works : )

    Great post, Julie. I'm printing off the ideas for many future references.

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  174. ANNETTE!!! LOL ... trust me, girlfriend, I will NEVER mess up your name again! ;)

    JACINTA!!! Thanks SO much, sweetie, and I'm glad the tips are a help! Good luck in the contest, my friend. :)

    WHOO-HOO, SHARON K!!!

    AUDRA SAID: "Julie! I love all your research!! And leave it to you to feature 22 points when you tell us there are only 20, LOL! You just can't stay within word count, can you???"

    LOL ... NOPE, I guess I can't, girlfriend. Can't teach an old dog -- and I do mean OLD -- new tricks!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  175. Yep, I can see how Matt Bomer could provide inspiration :-)
    Not much accomplished Speed-bo-wise today except for some thinking-through.

    Oh, and agreed about Tony Hillerman ... What a talent!

    Nancy C

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  176. Must get me some of that peppermint tea!

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  177. NANCY ... LOL, yes, Matt Bomer is DEFINITELY inspirational ... ;)


    ALISON ... DEFINITELY, girl, get yourself some peppermint tea and enjoy!! Thanks for coming by and good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  178. Chocolate! Chocolate fixes everything. Except my hips... but let's not go there.

    I wish I was closer to Grand Rapids so I could be there today!

    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com
    Along beautiful Thunder Bay in NE Michigan

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  179. Julie, I'm sorry to repeat what's already been said multiple times, but thank you. This was great. I've saved it to Evernote so I can re-read it. I'm working on my first novel and am using a number of these techniques to get past an overactive internal editor. One thing that's really helped me was signing up for a free "account" at 750words.com, where I go (almost) every day and write mu 750 words -- sometimes specific to a project, or sometimes just freewriting, but either way, it gets me writing, and that has really helped.

    Thanks again for taking the time to put this together. (I enjoy your novels, by the way!)

    Laura
    Blogging at I Was Just Thinking . . . (http://bellewoodfarm.blogspot.com/)

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  180. Yeah, I got that WB too right now. Spring is here and I'd rather be in the yard. Love your list!!! The peppermint tea one especially. Going to try that today.

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  181. Thanks for the post Julie! I'm currently going through a bit of writer's block, so your list is super helpful. I'll admit I usually throw on some classical music and nap when I can't write. I find if I relax enough I can get some better focus on a scene. Or I talk to some friends and completely forget about the problems my characters and I are going through and try to focus on someone else for a bit. That being said I should probably get going on my writing for the day. I'm glad you always manage to get through your WB. Can't wait for your next book!

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  182. Sorry I missed this post yesterday - so much Great information Julie!

    Especially "Read your favorite author(s)" -- yeah, even if it means staying awake until 2:30 in the morning thanks to Julie Lessman!!

    My best trick for WB is to walk away - literally if possible - I'll keep this list handy for future reference though.

    Good luck & God's Blessings!
    PamT

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  183. It seems so strange to think of you having writer's block since your books are so long:) and very good! I just finished your latest and loved reading about Emma. Please enter me! I'd love to win a book!

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  184. Such awesome tips! Thanks so much for sharing them! I especially love the Peppermint Tea "cures"!

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  185. I really appreciate your suggestions! I love your books, as well! I'm going to definitely employ some of these tips when I start writing again in the summer (when I'm not in school).

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  186. Julie, what a list of do's and dont's - Do you really do all these things???
    I cannot imagine you having a problem with writing, the pages just seem to flow when I read them.
    I am a reader and not a writer but just wanted to say How great an author that I think you are.
    Please put me in your drawing for a book, enjoy sneaking in and chatting once in awhile with so many of the authors that I read.

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  187. I don't write, so no WB thank goodness. I don't like Peppermint Tea, but it seems like I should drink it for my health's sake.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  188. LOL, PEGG -- yes, chocolate does fix an awful lot!! And I wish I could have met you too, girl, but maybe there will be a next time! Good luck in the contest, sweetie and thanks for stopping by.

    WOW, LAURA ... I've never heard of 750words.com -- that sounds WAY COOL!! I'll have to check that out for sure, so THANK YOU!!

    RITA ... oh, I SO know what you mean, girl -- the weather has been GORGEOUS all over the map, and I've been writing outside in 80-degree weather in St. Louis, no less!! I hope you like the peppermint tea, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  189. Hey, KAYLA, you?? WB? Say it ain't so!! Well, then, I'm sure glad this post came at the right time, my friend, so just tackle that nasty WB ASAP, you hear?? And GOOD LUCK in the contest, my friend!!

    LOL, PAM, yeah those "favorite authors" are killers, aren't they, though??? Thanks SO much for coming by, girl -- SO appreciate it!

    LOL, COURTNEY -- YOU ARE SOOO CUTE!! And I'm SO glad you enjoyed Emma, sweetie. Only one book left to go ... :(

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  190. Hey, KATH, sooo glad I could be of service. You are going to LOVE that peppermint tea, sweetie!!

    Aw, thanks, NATSKEE -- appreciate your kind words, and hopefully you won't HAVE to use my tips, right??

    LOL, PAULA ... yes, I actually do get occasional WB, but not too often, I'm happy to say -- can't with those long books I gotta put out, right??? Good luck in the contest, girl.

    MARYBELLE, you are TOO cute!! You don't like peppermint tea, but if you don't write, sounds like you don't need it either, right? ;)
    Good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  191. I like how several of these have to do with taking care of yourself - eating healthy food or doing you hair, exercise, for example. For me, at least, skipping the shower to fight with words is a real temptation. :P

    WHen I need to work out story problems, I take to my bike and ride until I'm (almost, but not quite) lost. Works every time. :D

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  192. Oh, KATHERINE ... taking an actual bike is a GREAT way to fight WB, and I do believe you are the first person to bring that up, so good for you!! Get biking, girl, and good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  193. I have a couple of ideas to add to your anti-WB list:

    Pray - I find a really good conversation with God can get the creative juices flowing.

    Shoot something - I'll take my compound bow (or my new crossbow) to the archery range and target shoot to clear my head. Or add a new weapon to the arsenal (slingshot, boomerang, blow gun...). Plus, it's fun!

    Love the idea of exercise and the nap, though!

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  194. STACEY!!! Do you know that I didn't realize till AFTER I posted this blog that I forgot to post the MOST IMPORTANT tip, which is to pray, which shocked me because that's ALWAYS the first thing I do!! I think I may have forgotten because to me it's like breathing, so I just didn't even think to mention it! Thanks for pointing it out!! DUH!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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