Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bryan Cohen Blog Tour and Giveaway

Hi everyone! I would like to welcome Bryan Cohen here today. He has come up with a great list of tips to help fight writer's block. There was a discussion over at Fiktshun about reviewer's block and I think a lot of these tips could help with that as well. So, awayyy we go!

Getting Unstuck
By Bryan Cohen

Even though I’m a writer about writing and motivation, there are some occasions in which I feel totally stuck. Some would look at these instances as major problems and negative emotions like fear could potentially ruin an intended writing session. I try to see my spurts of writer’s block as opportunities to try out my tips and tricks for getting unstuck.

1. Listen To An Audio Program

My MP3 player is loaded up with wise words and success stories that can quickly bring me out of a writer’s funk. Short and sweet tracks like the audiobook version of Tom Butler-Bowdon’s 50 Success Classics give me a burst of motivation in 15 minutes or less. I also recommend the works of Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Marci Shimoff and Earl Nightingale. Make sure to keep your player charged at all times in order to keep your brain charged.

2. Change Your Location

I have written in coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries, parks, beaches, backyards, bathrooms and restaurants. This variety isn’t just to spice up my life; it also helps me to break up a pattern that may be causing my creativity to dry up. I’ll even try working at different tables within my favorite destinations to shift things slightly. One of my best tricks is taking a bus ride to a coffee shop I’ve never been to in an effort to “strand myself” and force myself to work. For double the motivation, listen to an audio program along the way.

3. Drag a Friend Along

While many of your friends may blab their way through a coffee date with you, there are probably at least a few who need to get some work done. These are the friends you should enlist to keep you company as you write. As writers, sometimes we lead a solitary existence while typing or scribbling along. If we can look up from our page or document and see another person working, it validates what we are putting our weight behind. Set aside at least an hour for you two (or more) to work and make sure it’s clear you will be writing and not chit-chatting.

4. A Walkabout

I once told a friend that from time to time I go for a several mile walk with a notebook in hand to no place in particular. He called it my little walkabout. When you go for a walk outside, the increased presence of oxygen, plus improved circulation literally increases your brain’s thinking power. Sometimes this is just the push you need to get past your blockage. I fully recommend a long walk of at least a mile or two for fitness reasons and because more time tends to equal more ideas. Don’t worry about “wasting time” as I’ve thought of several $100 and $1,000 ideas while wandering on my lengthy walkabouts, proving that “time to think” is money.

5. A List of Gratitude

Often when I get stuck, I get down on myself as a sort of scolding for my temporary lack of productivity. To build myself back up, I write down a list of things I am grateful for. I realize this sounds a bit hippy-dippy, but it always helps me get out of the dumps. When you’re stuck it can feel like you have nothing going for you. That is, of course, ridiculous and by listing your “good,” the “bad” doesn’t seem nearly as terrible. Make sure to actually write this list down as it’s much more powerful than simply thinking it to yourself.

Try one or more of these five items every time you get stuck. The more often you try them out, the more effective they will be. Soon enough, your wallowing will be over and you can get back to writing your masterpiece.


Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book, The Writing Sampler, to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.
Thanks so much, Bryan! This is a great opportunity for my readers because I know a lot of bloggers/blog readers are aspiring writers. Excellent :)


  1. Dear Kaitlyn,

    Thanks so much for being a part of my blog tour! I'll have to check out this other blog talking about reviewer's block as well. Feel free to comment, y'all to enter into the giveaway!


  2. @bryandavidcohen

    Thanks for stopping by Bryan! Rachel's post on Fiktshun is great--there was a lot of good debate in the comments section :)

  3. I like the idea of changing up the location. A friend of mine, who is a playwriter, does that quite frequently and it really helps here. She has a few favorite spots and she just alternates between them.

    I just have to find a quiet place in my neck of the woods.

    And the walkabout is also great to clear your head and perhaps give you something new to write about. You just never know when and where you will find a new idea!

    Great post Bryan (and Kaitlyn)!

  4. @Fiktshun

    I love that. You really do never know when inspiration will hit. :)

  5. The walkabout idea is great - i didn't think that the increased oxygen is the cause, but its true :)
    Used to do this as a kid, when studying. Somehow I've forgotten to do this while working - walks instead of coffee breaks seems the way to go

    Bryan is visiting my blog today, so feel free to stop over for more chances at winning!

  6. Thanks everybody!

    Yeah, it can be tough to find the quiet spots, but there are a few even in my bustling city of Chicago :).

    During college, I read the book Moby Dick by walking up and down my dorm room hallway (mostly to keep awake from my up all night cavorting :)) and I understood it better than most books I'd ever read. I loved it. I think the oxygen and exercise endorphins were definitely factors!



Comment away, my friends. I love to chat with you guys. :)