As John Steinbeck sat down each day to the task of writing his epic novel East of Eden, he flexed his “mental arm” by writing a letter to his friend and editor Pascal Covici. These letters appear in the remarkable book, Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, published the year after Steinbeck’s death.
On his second day of work, Steinbeck had yet to write a single word of East. He agonized:
“I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straightening shyness that assails one. It is as though the words were not only indelible but that they spread out like dye in water and color everything around them. A strange and mystic business, writing.” (Penguin Books, 1990, p.9)
Steinbeck would go on to win the Nobel Prize 11 years later.
Every writer struggles from time to time with putting the first words to paper. But even the severest case of “writer’s block” can be remedied by trying one of these simple techniques: write a journal entry or letter (as Steinbeck did), re-read the assignment out loud, free-associate your thoughts — on tape. These techniques have been used successfully through the ages by writers the world over.
And of course, for college-bound writers here in Indy, Scholar’s Secret is right around the corner! Contact us today for help getting past your case of Writer’s Block!