Roadblocks and the Journey to Keep Writing
By Carlo Dallolmo

Ernest Hemingway once said, “you shouldn’t write if you can’t write.” There is a bit of irony in that statement, not the least of which is that as writers, we spend most of our waking hours convincing ourselves that we can’t write. Whether it’s from a lack of time, talent or just plain inspiration, we work hard convincing ourselves that we just can’t write. We pass by the computer with a sense of guilt, like a bad parent, not wanting to see what our neglect through time has done to our creative child.

After a while, if you are honest with yourself, you have to stop running and start working. It is not easy and requires a tremendous amount of courage, but if you want to write, writing is the only remedy. What if you find yourself stuck? What if all the internal pep talks and guilt trips just really don’t work? What then? If it is any consolation, I’ve been there, and I’ve come up with a few suggestions to push through the wall. These three suggestions have worked for me and may work for you.

Grab the pad of paper. In our ever so technologically driven world, where everything is done on an iPad, iPhone or computer it is very easy to get distracted and lose sight of what you were supposed to do. Sitting in front of the computer, the lure of the internet is just a click away. These distractions can overpower even the strongest willed person and suck you into the internet abyss. If you find yourself there, sometimes it helps to go back to the tried and true pad of paper. Pull yourself away from the computer, grab a cup of coffee, a yellow pad of paper and start jotting down ideas. It’s funny how creative you can get once you are free to concentrate and let your mind wander.

Write a letter to your friend. What? Write a letter? What’s a letter? This suggestion may seem strange as letter writing is something of a lost art today.  Depending on your age, you may never have written a letter to a friend (for those in a particular age group, my heart bleeds for you), but as the old saying goes, there’s no better time than the present to learn a new skill. When I was growing up (pre-internet if you can believe it), I didn’t have emails or texts. No, I had plain paper and pencil and no distractions. It was kinda nice looking back – though I digress. Writing to a friend, family member or anyone for that matter, helps the mind clear the clutter, it gets the juices flowing and really gets you in the spirit to write.

Join a writers’ group. Ah, join a writers’ group I knew there was a catch somewhere. Carlo, you had me until the writers’ group recommendation (I can hear the angst in your thoughts as you read this). How self-serving, you may say – but wait, there’s more to this. Now before you say anything, I am not advocating to join PSA, although we are a very active group. I am advocating meeting with like-minded individuals who love to write. Nothing inspires the creative mind like creative people. When you join a group, you are putting yourself around those who want to do the same and that inspiration rubs off. If they can do it…so can you. Whether you start your own or join an established group, just join and meet the writers. Who knows, you may just find a partner to write the next great adventure story. Stranger things have happened.

Hemingway might have said “if you can’t write don’t write,” I say if you can’t write then you need to find a way to write.  If you’ve been putting off writing because of {place your excuse here}, you owe it to yourself to move beyond the block. Writing anything creative is a journey, sometimes long, sometimes short…but the journey needs to start with the words on the page. Don’t despair if you’ve wasted the last few years avoiding the journey, just make the promise to yourself that the excuses end now and that today you will begin. You might surprise yourself with what an extraordinary story you can tell. Hopefully, these suggestions help push you through and get you on the path to your Oscar-winning story. The only way to know is to start. Good luck, and may you find your inspiration.

About Carlo Dall’Olmo
Carlo Dall’Olmo runs Smashcut Newsletter and is the Founder/President of Phoenix Screenwriters Association. When Carlo is not running PSA, you can find him in the soccer stands cheering on his son.

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