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    Coffee Plus Friends

    Have you been through one of those days when you feel that you have written about every possible story conflict that you can think of, or you simply cannot motivate yourself to write a story? Others call it writer's block; I would like to call it a "sign."

    When you begin to question yourself and your ability to whip up a short story even after trying numerous writing prompts, it is a sign that your creative spirit is thirsty, hungry and longing for something new. A new experience. A new strong feeling. Perhaps your writing soul needs to go through something before you could conceive a story material that you have not created in the past.

    There was a time when I needed to write a short story with the feel of Christmas season. I kept on typing, erasing and starting over and over again but in each attempt I made, I was not satisfied. And I felt I was being unfair to myself by trying too hard when I obviously could use a little break.

    Believing I needed fresh air, I phoned a close friend whom I have not talked to for several weeks. I asked her if she was free for an afternoon chat over cups of coffee. Fortunately, she was and I got more than a company.

    As we talked, she filled me in with what she had been up to the past weeks -- the people she met, places she visited and annoying creatures she had to deal with. I was not only entertained by everything she told me, I also heard my inner writer's voice taking notes of the characters she was unwittingly introducing to me.

    At the end of our talk, I had a story in mind: about a young professional who was obsessed with work. Of course, the story I wrote was not exactly the story my friend told me but my writer spirit had taken over, revived, and was able to whip up some completely fictional situations direct from the realm of the living.

    I went home that day happily reconnected to a close friend and gratefully closer to my writer self.

    I realized there are three things I could do tap into my creative juice and create satisfying output. First, I can surf the Net. It's amazing how writing sites like could reach and speak to writers as if it knows exactly the right buttons to push and when to do it so a writer could work despite "writer's block" and maximize his/her potentials. Not only does it offer great and useful writing prompts, it also tackles at length the various hurdles we, writers usually go through.

    Next, I can check and read my past stories. They are usually open-ended stories and sometimes, I feel I could work on them and make the entire story different and better simply by adding a twist and some new important characters. If you had written stories before, try to think of other ways which you could have used to end a specific story and combine that idea with another plot and another until you could come up with a whole new plot.

    Finally, if all else fails, then I can try this very simple formula: coffee plus friends equals a definite story material. It has been tested and proven surprisingly effective.

    Copyright © 2003 Arlene M. Paredes

    Arlene M. Paredes writes short stories, features and essays. Her first nonfiction book will be released this year. She maintains an online journal as a form of writing exercise. You may contact her at

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

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


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

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