‘Slowing Yourself Down,’ Some Good Advice (and a poem!) from Mary Deal

Slowing Yourself Down


Mary Deal

Do you slow yourself down by having to have everything in your world in perfect order before you begin to write?

Do you have to have the beds made, your first or second cup of coffee. Do you have to hear your favorite song to get you motivated? Do you have to clean house while you think about your next chapter? Did you forget to buy something for dinner at the grocers?

All of these pesky everyday chores are nothing more than writer’s block. If it’s your heart’s desire to write, why would you be slowing yourself down?

Some say there is no such thing as writer’s block. I’ve never had it, but I believe anything that keeps you from writing is writer’s block.

One of the ways you can avoid this type of writer’s block is to set aside a time during your day to write. Yet, it’s not that simple. You may know that at 9:00 a.m. you will begin to write and will do so until noon. However, by 9:00 the phone has rung four times with people needing your assistance. You think you have time to run to the grocery and end up doing a week’s shopping and making yourself late again, so you put off writing till the next day. Either you really don’t want to write, or you need some restraint.

Setting a time when your writing routine will not be affected is best. Do you write best in the wee hours before sunrise? Okay, then go to bed a little earlier so you can wake earlier. Get in the habit of it. If that doesn’t work for you because you have family you have to get out of the house to start their days, then begin to look at various time intervals in your day and pick the best.

Once you’ve decided on a certain time span devoted just to you and your prose, do not take your gift for granted. Do not cheat on time. You are only cheating yourself.

All of this writer’s block business comes down to how much you really wish to write and how committed you are to practicing your craft and making inroads into the writing world. Is that really what you want?

I’ve included a poem here that I wrote some years ago. It’s called, what else?


The plot’s

strong in my mind

too cold, can’t think

fingers won’t move

rise from my chair

rummage through closet, find a sweater

something warm to drink

still cold, climb on treadmill, move circulation.

Already skipped breakfast

another cup of tea, a cookie or two.

Go to the bathroom, wash hands

stare out the window

conjure my story

and the grocery list


clean house

sort the laundry

pick up kids

visit mom.

Tea is cold

flick on TV while microwave heats

finish watching show, learn about plots


write a screenplay some day.

Actor wasn’t good, story not credible

very upsetting, destroyed my mood.

I can write better than that!

Get to work

create mind boggling twists.

Answered the phone, talked too long

Voicemail gets the next one

turn the volume down.

Stare at the monitor

tap a key


a few more keys

keep going

no more delays

no more tea

don’t hold your bladder.

Daydreaming my story’s finished

Close the drapes, sit down


keep writing


words pour out

catch up, work faster, more diligently

never mind typos, edit later

say it succinctly first time through

catch up, don’t fall behind

deadlines to meet.

Words flowing,

sentence after sentence



Oh, that’s good!

the end’s now in sight

my best story yet


Surely I work better under pressure.

Wonder why other people have writer’s block….

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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