Dina Friedman's Monthly Writing Advice

Vol. 1 # 11, May 2002 - BLOCKING WRITER'S BLOCK

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* This Month's Tip: Blocking Writer's Block
* Admin/Survey: The Future of Free Newsletter Lists
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* About This Tipsheet (with sub/unsub/archive info)

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Dear Dina,

I really want to write a book. But I can't seem to bring myself to sit down and write. Somehow, whenever I clear space on my calendar or on my desk, I end up dusting the cabinet shelves and doing piles of laundry. How can I get rid of this writers' block?

Mr. Clean

Dear Mr. Clean,

Writer's block is a common problem. It may be that you're expecting too much of yourself. Writing a book, if you've never written one before (even if you have) is daunting. Try setting smaller, more manageable goals: a short story, perhaps, or a chapter in a nonfiction book. Give yourself a period of time in which to write that doesn't feel too overwhelming--thirty minutes or an hour, rather than the whole morning. Celebrate if you've completed a page, a thought, a paragraph. And build in no more than 15 minutes of procrastination time before you get started. (Set a timer if you need to, and when the timer rings, stop what you're doing and get off to work. Also, in my own experience, writing frequently, even just freewriting for small amounts of time every day, works better than setting aside a day of week to work on the Great American Novel. Like exercising, if your writing muscles are already loose, there'll be less time wasted in creakiness.

A final tip: set conditions that will work best for you. Paganini could only compose with a blanket over his head, but he wrote great music.

Good luck,




We consult on writing and publishing, help you tighten your manuscript, write marketing materials for you, and help you get to the next level.

Visit http://www.accuratewriting.com and see for yourself. Or call us at 413-586-2388/800-683-WORD

ADMIN/SURVEY: The Future of Free Newsletter Lists
Welcome to the beginning of the sixth year doing these tipsheets! I've certainly enjoyed it, and I hope to continue to bring them to you.

However, I see some signs that the existence of free list management is in jeopardy. The third-biggest provider, Listbot, closed some time back. Topica, where this list is hosted, as been pushing its paid model more and more aggressively, which is probably a prelude to forcing everyone to switch to a paid "option." And Yahoogroups has eroded user confidence by selling the names of participants; as a result, many lists have left Yahoogroups. (If you have an account at Yahoogroups, you'll want to go to your account page, click on edit marketing preferences, and turn off all the boxes that say they'll send you special offers-and please do not ask me questions about this, for I will not have time to answer them. If you have questions, ask Yahoo.)

So -- If it becomes untenable in the future to use free list software, I would need to support the tipsheets through some other method. I am hoping this is several months down the road (never would be nice!) but just in case, I need to be prepared. And I'd like your input.

Of course, ad sales are a possibility-but the reality is that most of the ads I've run have been exchanges with other publishers, and most of the ads Topica runs are so general as to be useless to my readers (and thus unlikely to buy an insertion from me directly). That leaves subscriptions and donations as the most likely choices.

I would like you to please take 30 seconds and tell me, *honestly,* what this newsletter is worth to you. Please use this link: mailto:shel@frugalfun.com?subject=FFTipsSubscriptionSurvey

I'd like to draw your attention to some of the recent press coverage I've received for my books. The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook was praised in ThirdAge.com and received a fabulous rave review from Arising Arts--so good that I invite you to go to their site and read it in its full glory: http://www.arisingarts.com/horowitz.html Media quotes about the book can be found at http://www.frugalfun.com/pphtoc.html

Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World has also been highly praised recently. Today's Librarian called it thorough and comprehensive, Get Published said it was "a must," Home Business Journal also wrote it up, and Wahmpreneur Premium (a print newsletter) gave it a three-page rave review. http://www.frugalmarketing.com/presstestimonials.shtml

Other new content includes:

Global Travel Review http://www.frugalfun.com/travel.html
* Tales of a Terrible Review (this is a rebuttal to the Travellady article about a terrible trip to China)

Down to Business http://www.frugalfun.com/dtb.html
* The Copy Optimizer
* How to Rapidly Build E-Zine Subscriptions
* Have You Hugged Your Guru Today?
* A PR Pro Reinvents the Business--And Himself
* 6 Tips to Shock Your Global Customers: It Works for Madonna

Marketing Page http://www.frugalfun.com/marketing.html
* Roman Marketing, Or How to Build Your Own Empire in 5 Easy Steps

Peace Page http://www.frugalfun.com/peace.html
* Marching in Gandhi's Footsteps

The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook, slightly scuffed and dinged. All of them are perfectly readable, and the bindings seem to be in good shape. While supplies last, we're selling them for just $10, plus shipping. Buy 10 or more-pay only $8 apiece plus shipping.

Marketing Without Megabucks: How to Sell Anything on a Shoestring: $5 for single copies, $3 per book in cases of 24, plus shipping. Brand new condition.

If you buy one of each at the same time, you get 664 pages of money-saving information and pay only one shipping fee ($3.50 in the US or $10 elsewhere, for a total of just $18.50/$25.00). At these heavily discounted prices, the books are non-returnable--but I can tell you they've received rave reviews and will save you many times their price.

Order at http://www.frugalfun.com/secureorder.html -- mention the subscriber discount in the comment field--or by phone at 877-FRUGALFUN/413-586-2388

Preview PPH at http://www.frugalfun.com/pphtoc.html and MWM at http://www.frugalfun.commwmtoc.html

IF YOU FIND THIS NEWSLETTER HELPFUL...please share it with a friend (or several friends). Permission is granted to e-mail the entire article, including subscription information. Please contact us if you'd like to reprint the article on your site or in a printed publication.


Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips mailto:FrugalFunTips-subscribe@topica.com

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Dina Friedman, mailto:dina@frugalfun.com,
877-FRUGALFUN/413-586-2388 * Manuscript Consulting * Editing * Training in Writing and Speaking * Overcoming Writers Block * Resumes and Career Services Please visit our 300+ page website at http://www.frugalfun.com for free marketing advice, arts/travel/business zines & more:
Fax: 617-249-0153


A monthly tip covering writing technique, grammar, creativity, or overcoming writer's block Visit http://www.AccurateWriting.com

Dina Friedman, M.S.W., has worked with individuals and groups on issues for thirteen years. A published fiction writer, poet, playwright, and journalist and winner of several awards and honors, she coordinates academic writing workshops for Mount Holyoke College. She has taught rhetoric, English Comp, and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, Holyoke Community College, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

You can use our expertise for what you need most: counseling on writer's block, an exercise to get started or get through the stuck places, a thorough edit, help generating ideas, a consult, or just someone to check in with to keep your project going...

On projects involving business marketing or large nonfiction, you may be working with Shel Horowitz, author of five nonfiction books and more than 800 articles. Since founding Accurate Writing & More in 1981, he has worked with numerous business owners, students, and employees to improve their writing.

Please click here to get started--this will send a message to dina@frugalfun.com entitled WritingCoaching--or call 800.683.9673 or 413.586.2388 (9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time).

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