Join | Login 

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

Signed Bookstore | Authors | eBooks | Books | Stories | Articles | Poetry | Blogs | News | Events | Reviews | Videos | Success | Gold Members | Testimonials

Featured Authors: Carolyn Matherne, iM Cates, iSusan Lindsley, iTemple Williams, iOwen Thomas, iWilliam Guy, iRita Hestand, i
  Home > Education/Training > Articles
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

John DeDakis

· Become a Fan
  Notify me of new titles
  added by this author.

· 46 titles
· 242 Reviews
· Share with Friends!
· Save to My Library
Member Since: May, 2006

   My Blog
   Contact Author
   Read Reviews

· Troubled Water (Kindle Edition)

· Troubled Water

· Bluff (Paperback Edition)

· Bluff (Hardcover Edition)

· Bluff (Kindle Edition)

· Fast Track (Kindle Edition)

· Fast Track (Paperback Edition)

· Fast Track (Hardcover)

Short Stories
· Metro Tableau

· My First Kiss

· Raquette Lake

· Soul 159 (The Long Version)

· Soul 159

· The Wren

· Wow

· Behind the Scenes in a Troubled Newsroom

· Who Should Direct the Movie of my Novel?

· Why I'm a Man Writing as a Woman

· I'm Afraid to Write!

· Advice on Writing a Novel

· Ode to a Mentor (or Letter from the Grave)

· Hope Can Spring From Tragedy

· Whittling it Down

· Dealing with Criticism: Some Suggestions

· Metro Girl

· Garbage Day

· Cemetery at Sunset

· Of Frosted Flakes and Southern Comfort

· Half Our Lives Ago

         More poetry...
· Calling All Irish

· Coming to Ireland

· Coming to Vermont

· From Novice to Novelist

· From Novice to Novelist

· Workshop for Aspiring and/or Struggling Writers - Wisconsin

· Wow

· From Novice to Novelist

· Coming to Vermont

· Writing Retreat in Ireland

John DeDakis, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

Beating Writer's Block
By John DeDakis
Last edited: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Share    Print   Save  Become a Fan
Recent articles by
John DeDakis

• A Son Remembers His WWII Dad
• Remembering Dad on Veterans Day
• I'm Afraid to Write!
• Wow
• Behind the Scenes in a Troubled Newsroom
• Who Should Direct the Movie of my Novel?
• Why I'm a Man Writing as a Woman
           >> View all 27

Some Suggestions

        You know the feeling: 

You’re on a deadline.  You don’t have much time to craft the perfect story. 

 You sit and stare at a blank computer screen while it stares back at the blank expression on your face. With each tic of the clock, your blood pressure ratchets up a notch.  Panic grasps you by the throat.    

Ever been there?  Of course you have.   

During my 21 years at CNN, I’ve worked with some of the best writers in television news.  I marvel at how they repeatedly – and rapidly – transform blank screens into solid, readable copy.  Yet every now and then, someone gets stuck and needs a little help. 

Whether your challenge is to write a news story, a novel, a term paper or an e-mail, here are some suggestions on how to beat writer’s block: 

1.     RELAX! - Nothing paralyzes more than trying to be perfect.  The writers I know always aspire to do their best and that means nothing less than perfect. But it’s an elusive goal, so rule number one:  Relax.  Take the pressure off yourself.  It doesn’t have to be perfect – at least not the first time. 

2.     What Are You Trying to Say? - When a writer comes to me with that familiar blank stare, it’s usually accompanied by the statement, “I’m having trouble getting started.” It’s at times like these that I simply ask, “What are you trying to say?”  Amazingly, when detached from the keyboard, the writer usually has no trouble telling me in his or her own words what the story is about.  “Okay,” I’ll respond, “now go and write that.”  Once the mental logjam is broken, the words flow through their fingers. 

3.    Listen to Your Head – Ah….but exactly what words?  And in what order?  The answers are already in your head.  Listen to that voice inside you.  Or, if you’re one of those whose head has many voices clamoring for attention, zero in on the voice you hear the clearest, then write down what it’s saying.  Once you’ve written the first sentence, the others will follow logically as the momentum builds. 

4.     Take a Hike – Bob Slosser and Ken Gilliam are two of the best writers I ever worked with (may they rest in peace).  Ken was a CNN writer who loved to craft the perfect sentence.  He agonized as he searched for just the right words to turn an original phrase.  He told me what worked best for him was first to think about the story.  That was usually best done while taking a walk to the break room, the coffee urn, or the bathroom.  When he returned to his computer, he’d make the keys clatter a bit, then he’d take another hike while his copy simmered. Finally, he’d return to take a fresh look at what he’d written, then buff, polish, tweak and revise before he was satisfied – or the clock ran out.  Bob Slosser, a former New York Times editor and author of several nonfiction books, had an approach to writer’s block that was similar to Ken’s.  Bob was a pacer.  He once told me he wore out the carpet in his den as he walked back and forth in his quest to find the right words. Bob said each of his books “went through the typewriter” 25 times.  That’s a lot of pacing. But you see, ruminating is simply another way of writing.   

5.     Write something. ANYthing! – Ruminating, thinking, and pacing are fine, but there comes a time when you must take action.  So, just do it. You can always loop back and make it better. 

These are just a few suggestions.  The list is not meant to be exhaustive. What works for you?  Pass it along.  I’m sure we could all benefit from it. 

My thanks to those of you who tell me you appreciate these little notes on writing.  Is there a topic you’d like me to tackle?  Let me know.  Also….if you have a manuscript that needs the touch of a professional editor, put my experience to work for you. 


John DeDakis is a Senior Copy Editor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and the author of the mystery-suspense novel “Fast Track.”  Visit his Web site at






Web Site My Web Site:

Reader Reviews for "Beating Writer's Block"

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Reviewed by Gianetta Ellis 2/7/2010
Well, the mystic in the room generally takes a deep breath and calls upon the Universe to "fill her up to the brim until it overflows onto the page." The response isn't always immediate, but it eventually gets to me - sometimes in pieces, other times in a stream of perfectly matched thoughts/ideas/pictures.

One of the things I like best about your writing is how you insert a very subtle humor - it's inviting and makes you "approachable."

Books by
John DeDakis

Troubled Water (Kindle Edition)

Buy Options
Kindle, more..

Troubled Water

Buy Options
Amazon, more..

Bluff (Paperback Edition)

Buy Options
Amazon, more..

Bluff (Hardcover Edition)

Buy Options
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Bluff (Kindle Edition)

Buy Options
Amazon, more..

Fast Track (Kindle Edition)

Buy Options
Amazon, more..

Fast Track (Hardcover)

Buy Options
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Education/Training Articles
  1. Through the Eyes of a Rapist
  2. The Approaching 100th Anniversary of the H
  3. Did You Know?
  4. Pre-sleep check / Revisión Pre-sueño
  5. High Output Evaluation Review: Introducing
  6. How To Study Effectively For Exams!
  7. The Rise and Fall of the American Public S
  8. Stratagemical Thoughts or 'Playing the Gam
  9. The Messy Paradigm Shift in Understanding
  10. Do you suffer from Imposters Syndrome?
  11. Something to think about...
  12. Tips for Success on AuthorsDen
  13. Writing Period Pieces
  14. Did You Know?
  15. Duality: The Trees of Mythology pt. 2
  16. Writing Techniques - Character POV
  17. Courage Under Fire - Tips on Overcoming th
  18. Yellow Journalism
  19. 20 Writing Tips for Better Results
  20. Beating Writer's Block

You can also search authors by alphabetical listing: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen

© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.