Breaking Through Writer’s Block


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In college I was a film student. I still have copies of my scripts. My notebooks were filled with story ideas and snatches of dialog. The storyteller in me disappeared with my last student film. I could not capture what was lost.

Since then I’ve been reading voraciously. Hemingway. Oates. McCarthy. Hammett.
Last night I realized why I was burning through all of those books. I yearned for a story that did not exist.

I opened a notebook and started writing. No preamble. Just one word after another. It was shocking. It was also dreadful.
I made a few edits, and unearthed a love story. In an hour the romance evolved into a love triangle.
I went to sleep at 3 a.m.

The whole experience reminds me of something Hemingway said:
“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

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