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TIPS FOR YOUNG WRITERS: UH-OH! WRITER'S BLOCK!
by: Max Burbank

Hello, young 'writers'! If you're like me (it's obvious at this point that's what your trying to do, and frankly it's a little sad) every now and then you round a metaphorical corner and find yourself face to face with that tenacious literary monster, Writer's Block!

Oh, I know what you're saying: "Mr. Burbank! A seasoned pro like you suffers from Writer's Block?! I'd always assumed that was just a problem for the novice writer!"

Firstly, I'm not sure I care for the use of the word 'seasoned'. As adjectives go, that one makes me sound at best old, and at worst likens me to some sort of less than fresh meat product requiring a little 'Slap-n-tickle' from 'Mrs. Dash' to 'get it up' food wise. Secondly, never use more than one punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. It makes you look unseasoned and is the literary equivalent of premature ejaculation. Lastly, ALL writers suffer from writer's block. It's perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn't make you less of a man, and anyone who implies, well maybe it's because you're a little bit gay and self-loathing, which is by the way unnecessary, I mean, Christ, it's 2007, no one needs to be in the closet anymore; well, it's really HER fault, isn't it, and if she doesn't shut up about it you'll stop being so nice and tell her that if you were gay this never would have happened because the fact is, as ladies go she's more than just slightly MANISH, which is maybe why you're 'blocked' in the first place!!

You know. Metaphorically speaking.

In most cases I'd say I didn't want to talk about it, roll over and pretend to be asleep until you shut the hell up. But to be frank, today's my deadline and I can't think of a damn thing to write about. Hence, this essay;

A DOZEN HELPFUL WAYS TO BEAT WRITER'S BLOCK:

1.) Write a story about Writer's Block! If there's one thing the average reader loves, its yet another story about a writer having writer's block. Stephen King writes about it all the time, and that guy writes the way most people exhale!

2.) Disguise your description of your own writer's block as "tips" for other writers. It's easier than writing a story since you don't need to come up with a thinly veiled version of yourself as the protagonist or spend time constructing a plot, which is, frankly, work. Plus, the irony is guaranteed to put a smile on your face! I'm grinning like a Plastered Sunday School Teacher right now!

3.) Go on line to some sad little site for aspiring writers! They always have a great list of super helpful 'exercises' for blocked writers! For instance, check this one from NewWriters@the'Block'!.com! "Explain what you're really trying to say to a stuffed animal or cardboard cut out!" The only downside to this one is that it's what insane people do. Oh, also? If you can explain what you're really trying to say? You don't have writer's block. And aren't you a little old for stuffed animals? And do me a favor and DO NOT tell me whom you have a cardboard cut out of all handy for conversations. I don't even want to guess and I'm already pretty sure if I knew it would make me cry.

4.) Go to Google Images, type in any old funny word you think of and write a story about one of the results you get. BUT! Even though it's tempting, try not to write about Asian-themed bondage porn. It's a great genre, but there's so much competition out there you can barely give the stuff away, trust me!

5.) Make up a URL like NewWriters@the'Block'!.com, stick it in a story, put it up online and imagine how many people clicked on it to see if it was real! I tried this technique and ended up selling a swell little inspirational piece about slack-jawed, lonely shut-ins to "Chicken Soup for the Slack-Jawed Lonley-Shut In's Soul"!

6.) Try writing an essay that's really just a glorified list! It's ridiculously easy! No characters, no conflict, no plot, Christ, it's like sleepwalking and your slack-jawed, lonely shut-in readers eat it up!

7.) Take something you've already written and stick the word "big" in lots of places. For instance: "A big hello, big young 'writers'! If you're big like me (it's big obvious at this point that's what your trying to do, and frankly it's a little big sad) every now and then you round a big metaphorical corner and find yourself face to face with that big, tenacious literary monster, Big Writer's Block!" Voila! A brand new piece! Goodbye Writer's Block! Or should I say 'A big goodbye, Big Writer's Block'!

8.) Surf for Porn! It's what God gave us the Internet for! This is never really time wasted, and it's a great way to get ideas. Remember though, no Asian Bondage Porn! I've got reams of the stuff I'm trying to sell and I don't need the competition.

9.) Plagiarize! That's the other thing God gave us the Internet for! But beware! The Internet is a double-edged sword! Search engines like Google have made it very easy for professors, the FBI and other troublemakers to spot plagiarism in a jiffy! One surefire way to throw those killjoys off the track is to drop the word "big" in a whole lot of places in your "new" work.

10.) Do something you've never done before! It's a great way to get those creative juices flowing! Go hang-gliding, wake up a hibernating bear, kiss a girl, tell your mother you're going to buy your own underwear, write something that doesn't absolutely suck, do anything as long as it's brand spankin' new!

11.) Mix it up! Whatever you usually do when writing, do something different! For instance, I usually write fully clothed, at my desk on my computer. Suppose one night I'm feeling a little blocked. I decide to "Mix it up" and long story short, I end up writing on toilet paper in just my undershorts underneath a metal bunk in the drunk tank. Chances are that was actually my second attempt at "mixing it up" that evening, but if past experience is any guide, I have no memory of the first attempt.

12.) Lower your standards! Writing is all about the process, not the product! The first draft doesn't need to be perfect and it's not like your finished draft is going to be Hemingway anyway! (editor's note: believe him when he says this folks... editing Max Burbank's "finished" work so it looks presentable is like having a porcupine rape your eyes) Let it come how it comes and fix it later! At least you'll get something done as opposed to nothing! Let me give you an example. I'm blocked right now. If you think about it carefully, you'll be able to guess which steps I'm already using to overcome that block. But let's say instead of a list based essay of tips on how to overcome writer's block that I'm writing while waking up a hibernating bear, I'm determined to write a marketable short story for a Science Fiction magazine. Okay, here's the first paragraph:

"Cow, cow, cow, cow, cow, cow cow go poopie. MmmmOOOOO! Cowie go Moo Moo Moo Moo Moo Moo Moocow moo you damn son of a bitch cow, shut up the damn mooing, I hate you cow cow hate you hate you hate you hate you bad cow cow cow bad cow cow cow shut up bad cow cow, Daddy's head hurts you get a PUNISHMENT BAD COW YOU GET A REAL BAD PUNISHMENT!"

Okay, not my best work, but not empirically my worst either. In any case, unless you've read every damn word I've ever written you have no way of knowing, and I'm pretty sure you have not. Unless you subscribe to "Adult Baby Fetish Quarterly". In which case, if you still think that's my worst writing I don't care because you're a pervert.

Well, I hope I've helped. Unless you're trying to freelance to the same markets as me, in which case I hope I made things worse for you and stay the hell away from ABFQ, I found them first. Now if you'll excuse me, I believe my court appointed lawyer is here. If I'm lucky, he brought clothes.


If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:


The Junk Drawer Of My Despair!



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