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PR Isfeld

Congratulations... uh-oh
Congratulations… uh-oh

“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.”
–John Rogers

I got some great news last week: my short story, “Under the Linden Tree” placed third in its category for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge It was an important shot of encouragement as I’m slogging away towards eventual publication of Captives, and working on the first draft of my next project.

Of course, every silver lining has to come with a cloud or two, and in this case, winning my heat meant that I had three days to produce another short story, based on three random prompts, for the second round. I immediately embarked on a program of intense procrastination involving:

1. Cleaning my desk and alphabetizing my bookshelves. Who knows, there might have been a great idea hiding out in there. And besides, feng shui is important.
2. Snacks. Many many snacks. Do you know how many calories your brain burns when it is in intense creative mode? Lots, that’s how many. Plus it’s important to get those steps in by going from the desk to the kitchen, and those stretches, by reaching into the cupboard.
3. Rowing. So far I haven’t figured out how many minutes on my rowing machine will get me into the creative zone, but I’m sure it’s just a few more.
4. Doodling. How can I portray the life of a character if I don’t have a clear picture—literally–of how they look?
5. Internet rabbit holes. It’s always possible that a great idea might be lurking in that Wikipedia article about 1930s Hungarian comedians.
6. Googling cures for writer’s block. Spoiler alert: the best cure is to get writing.
7. Binge-watching on Netflix. The Ripley series in particular. After all, how can you write a great story without learning from the masters?
8. Bribing my dog for plot ideas in exchange for liver treats. Tl;dr, I got ripped off.
9. Napping, and hoping that the perfect idea might come to me in a dream.
10. Walking around the dog park hoping to overhear the perfect random conversation between strangers.

In the end, I did get something submitted, but none of these strategies worked. Or maybe all of them did.