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Chapter 18. Put It in Writing > Breaking Through Writer's Block - Pg. 197

Put It in Writing 197 · Use the chip-away technique. Instead of saying, "I have to get this paragraph written," tell your- self to write just one sentence. If that doesn't work, try for one phrase, or even just one word. It's like the one-day-at-a-time idea in 12-step addiction programs. Dwelling on all you have to get done is overwhelming, so the chip-away technique lets you break it down into baby steps. Quicksand! Whatever you do when faced with writer's block, don't panic! Getting yourself all worked up over the prob- lem will only make matters worse. Use the Stop, Look, and Listen technique from Chapter 12 to pause, take a deep breath, and identify the source of your block. · Do the busywork part of your writing. When I write a book, I have to type certain codes into the manuscript so that the editors know where various headings, bullet points, and other format features should go. When I get stuck writing the text of a chapter, I divert my anxiety away from my writer's block by doing busywork: typing asterisks, brackets, and other symbols in places where I'll be filling in words. It's a simple little trick that gets my fingers moving on the keyboard and propels me back into action. · Keep moving. Similar to the last tip is the idea of not letting yourself get stuck. If you can't think