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    Is Writer's Block Real or Is It Something Else?

    These last few years, three to be exact, I have been pursuing self-help through creativity, mainly writing. The reason I sought help was that while I loved to write, I wasn't finishing longer projects. Was it writer's block? My writer friends said yes, but I learned it might not be at all.

    Virginia Wolf said it well when she stated that we as writers fear both success and failure. We fear success because it means we have to repeat it, and that's harder to do than it seems. We fear failure because our ego is wounded by failure. We don't see that every failure can be a stepping stone to success. We give up too soon, when we should look at failures as learning experiences.

    So if it wasn't writer's block that prevented me from finishing my longer projects, what was it? Fear, pure and simple, just as Virginia Wolf said. If I finished my novel and it was rejected than I would have wasted all that time writing it. I would have fooled myself into believing I was a novelist when I'm not. Now these thoughts were not conscious until I started to do some soul searching. Books such as THE ARTISTS WAY, and THE RIGHT TO WRITE by Julia Cameron helped me delve into myself and find what really was blocking me. Once I recognized writer's block for what it was, fear, I took charge.

    Affirmations helped turn the negative into positives. Instead of worrying is what I wrote would ever sell, I told myself, I AM A WRITER, I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER, I AM A WRITER WITH MANY PUBLICATIONS. Affirmations are always done in the present tense. They can be whatever you need to hear. As we absorb our own affirmations we believe them and work towards the goals we set ourselves.

    Another technique is imaging. Along with affirmations I closed my eyes and pictured what I wanted for myself. I AM SIGNING COPIES OF MY BOOK. I could easily picture myself at Borders signing copies of my books. Again the choice of what you create as an image is up to you. How about this one? I AM GOING TO THE BANK TO DEPOSIT A BIG CHECK FOR MY BOOK? Yeah, I like that one!

    Another inspirational book I found very helpful is SOUL BETWEEN THE LINES by Dorothy Randall Gray. I continue to use this book opening it at random. It comes with exercises which go beyond technique and into the heart of the writer. In other words, Dorothy Randall Gray teaches us to write from the heart.

    So is there really writer's block? I don't think so any more. It isn't that the muse is quiet or our creativity is dried up, it is fear which binds us. I reject this fear. You can, too. It doesn't help us at all. We are writers. We write. Combine these affirmations with perserverance and you, like me, will soon find the door to success opening to you. I AM A SUCCESSFULLY PUBLISHED WRITER. Yes, I am, and so are you. We already have the talent and desire so JUST DO IT!

    Copyright © 2000 Bea Sheftel

    Bea Sheftel has been a freelance writer and teacher for decades. Her work has appeared in newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, and magazines including Woman's World. Previously, she was the editor of The Coventry Journal where she also wrote news articles and features. Her two poetry books, Beauty in the Weeds 1 and Beauty in the Weeds 2 are available through She writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Examples of her poetry are at Market information for freelancers at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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