the sally sisson blog

April 9, 2010

Overcoming Creative Block (part 2): Writing, procrastinating + keeping a sense of humor

Bicycle_Wheel_Clock_Bicycle_Tire_ClockHow do you overcome writer’s block? Last week I asked friends and colleagues for tips. Tom B., old friend and former co-worker, sent this witty reply:

“Writer’s block, eh?                          For me it can sometimes be, Writer’s Pathetic, Strangled Bleat of Knowing That I’ll Never, Ever Write Anything of Consequence Again, Sob! (Of course, that presupposes that you’ve already written something of consequence.)

“I’m actually a master of dithering when I’m beginning a writing project, searching desperately for nits to pick up off the floor, needing just another cup of coffee, accidentally paperbrowsing a         Tahiti travel site for 45 minutes and on. But something always kicks in when I get that first paragraph done, so in scooping out the first shovelfuls, I wondrously often see the road being built.

“The external things (besides beating the pets) that seem to help are exercising, reading something that’s greatly unlike what I’m trying to write (sewing pattern books), or doing something that’s mindless but physical, like rearranging my nun puppets. nuns

“Exercising really is a good one for me: I honestly get full sentences that just jump in my head, particularly when I’m bike riding. But of course, I don’t carry a notebook when I’m bike riding, so the sentences do get bounced around a bit                   before they get home.peet's

“Hey, you just gave me a good idea for a blog post!”

And then he had the nerve to steal my idea! Can you believe it? You can read it in its entirety here at And other ramblings as well. He’s actually very talented and very funny. I’m a tad jealous.

We used to share a cubicle wall and now we’re on opposite sides of the country. If you’re looking for someone to write about Santa Cruz beaches or Kentucky bourbon, give him a jingle.

* bicycle tire clock available at

Closing thoughts…

cocoapuffs-sticker“Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.”

– Paul Rudnick