Jerrold Mundis’ BREAK WRITER’S BLOCK NOW

Writer’s block is one of the hazards of the writing profession.  If you don’t write, you don’t sell.  So keeping the words flowing is crucial to being able to pay the bills.

Jerrold Mundis goes straight to the point in his 88-page book BREAK WRITER’S BLOCK NOW (ISBN 0312053940, April 1991, out of print).  He deliberately wrote the book to be read and the exercises done in one afternoon sitting.  Let me repeat that–not months, not days, one afternoon.

Mundis makes his living as a writer, but also does one-on-one counseling with writers who have writer’s block.  The way the book is structured makes it clear that he bases the steps on his counseling sessions, which last one afternoon.

I got hold of a copy of the book through Inter-library loan about four months ago, and completed it in one afternoon as recommended.

The reader alternates between doing exercises to figure out what is going on in his or her head, and reading about foundation skills and techniques used to break writer’s block (labeled soft, firm, hard, and nuclear–the worse the block, the more intense the techniques used).

Mundis cuts to the heart of the matter when he says that the three destroyers of productivity are:  1) Perfectionism, 2) Fear, and 3) Baggage Train (i.e. worries about money, cravings for fame, determination to show “them”, etc.).  He also points out that when looked at closely, baggage train feelings are often rooted in perfectionism or fear.

It’s a shame this book is out of print, for I’d buy a copy right now for my reference shelf.  There are used hardback editions available, but they are quite pricey (average cost about $50).  However, if for some reason I had trouble with writer’s block in the future, ordering a used copy would be the first thing I did.

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