10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Some useful tips

A Writer's Path

Writer's Block

by Vincent Mars

For us writers, few things are more frustrating than to finally sit down at our desks after taking care of real life chores only to be struck dumb by the blank page or the white screen. Writer’s block can be quite disabling, a form of writerly constipation that the harder we try to overcome, the more it aggravates. It pleases me to say that I have not suffered from this writer’s malady for a long time, which I believe is largely due to the conscious defenses against it I have taken. If you have the time, I would like to share these with you.

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Using Mythology to Improve Your Writing

Hi HFAs. I thought for those of you who are writing your own historical fiction novel you may find this uaeful.

A Writer's Path

by Doug Lewars

Mythology is a goldmine for authors–particularly those who write fantasy–although some of the plots within the myths can be adapted to other genres as well. Myths are a feature of every culture and they’re generally used to explain natural phenomena or the establishment of cultural norms. They are deemed to be of sufficient importance that courses on the subject are offered at the university level.

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Winter’s Chill and Frozen Words


Winter in his thick, white cloak slips in my bedroom window and wraps itself around me. His icy touch stings my warm skin, staining it black. I strain to move but his grip is too strong on me. Winter is heavy. He presses me down, weighing down my body with his frosty attitude and biting responds to my desire to be outside. I bow my head to his cold breath, keeping my face to the ground. My dreams freeze up under his icy stare and I cannot see any longer words or phrases of the stories that so freely danced inside my head. I see nothing in this cold tundra…nothing but ice and snow.  I am frozen, arms folded in, words like tiny shattered icicles blanket the snow around my blue feet. I am waiting for Spring. Hoping she comes soon before Winter kills me completely.



Middle Earth Meanderings

I flew over Middle Earth in a mechanical eagle. Gwaihir took off in Auckland headed to Taurunga and soared over rolling hills and mountains, a wrinkled country. It was a clear day looking down upon small rivers, vast, deep green forests and windy highways that carved the landscape and nestled between hills and mountains on its way to anywhere. The whole of New Zealand looked at peace. Blue waves shattered into thousands of white droplets against cliffs and hills and beaches along its endless shore. A place I’d come to spend many days.

There’s forty-one YWAMers here at the Bethlehem base. I love every one of them like I’ve known them longer than I’ve lived. My roommates Gideon, Silas and Ari are brothers. And they know more about me than most of my friends at home.

On day two we were all asked to share our testimony. And although it’ll…

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When The Worlds Runs You…

Dear HFA Readers,

It has been a crazy life.






Some days the world runs me. Does it run you? The things you love-that ignite your passions, that take you away from it all, or that inspire you – are set aside as your world runs you. You don’t really know where you are going, only that you are going and you are going there fast. Before you know it time, precious time, was out of you and  you find yourself thinking you can’t pick up the things you once cherished so much.


You do.

Your head is bowed with guilt and your shoulders feel the weight of shame.


You pick them up. Dust off the dirt and dust of forgotten passions and begin again, praying your skills are renewed, your readers forgiving and time gentle on you.

If you understand this process. If this has been you. Then I know you understand me and I embrace you, friend. And I cheer you on! I say, throw off that shame and guilt. Pick up not only your passions, but your head and press forward, confidently. You are running this now! You know where you want to go and are mapping out the way. Let you energy be filled up again and run! I am running again. My limps and muscles are sore, but I am smiling.

Until next time…run!


Great First Lines of Novels

snoopytyping I am taking a writing course offered through Masterclass.com about novel writing that author, Jim Patterson, leads. In lesson number 10 he discusses the importance of the first line of a novel. He explains that the first line of your novel  must grab the reader and then suck them into your story. It needs be so captivating that the reader must read on. I couldn’t agree more!

This, however, got me thinking about some of my favorite books and the novels we herald as the “Greats”. What were their opening lines? Did their lines get a hold of me, like Jim says they should? Take a look at the list I have compiled below and tell me, do these opening lines grip you hard or are they hardly gripping? Send me a message about what you  think and include your your favorite opening line.

First Lines

“It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.” Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

3016 Shortlist for the David J.Langum, Sr Prize in American Historical Fiction

2016 shortlist for the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction. The winner and finalist will come from this list and will be announced on our website, http://www.langumtrust.org, in approximately one month.
Barkskins, by Annie Proulx (Scribner)

Champion of the World, by Chad Dundas (Putnam)

Cigar Factory: A Novel of Charleston, by Michele Moore (Univ. of South Carolina Press)

Exile on Bridge Street, by Eamon Loingsign (Three Rooms Press)

Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth, by Jennifer Chiaverini (Dutton)   

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, by Stephen Harrigan (Knopf)

Ginny Gall, by Charlie Smith (Harper)

I Will Send Rain, by Rae Meadows (Henry Holt)
The Trust will announce the shortlist for the Langum Prize in American Legal History/Biography in the first week of February, and the shortlist for the Malott Prize in Recording Community Activism will follow in the first week of March.  

Getting Back on the Proverbial Horse

Writing- it’s a discipline that,like exercise, is best if practiced consistently. Let’s be honest though-it is not easy to be consistent. So many things vie for our attention, our time, our efforts and our talents. Some things legitimately require out focus- such as our “real” jobs, our children and, in some cases, our health. And when these things pull us out of our routine of writing, it becomes more difficult to find our way back to our desk, back into the story we had been writing and back into the lives of our characters. In fact, the longer we are away from them the more awkward and intimated we are by the idea of writing. It’s like a friendship you haven’t connected with for a while. You miss them, enjoyed your time with them but now you are ashamed you haven’t connected in a while. The idea of starting up that conversation makes your stomach feel like a thousand bees are swarming around your innards. And you tell yourself, it’s stupid. It’s been too long, they won’t want to be with you because you’ve been such a terrible friend. Nevertheless, you take a deep breath, send them a short text and before you know it, you are right back where you left off.

So, dear reader and fellow writer, if you are like me and it has been far too long since you wrote anything (besides the cheque to pay for bills and lessons for your children) that take a deep breath and write a few words on that page. Before you know it, you will be writing as though no Time has been lost. Get back on the horse and enjoy the ride!

I’m up for an Award but I need votes to win!

my dear friend (unbeknownst to me) entered me to win an award for helping her face cancer. I’m presently 1 of 10 in Canada up for the award but now I need your help! Please go to the link below and vote for me (click on the reaf more of the story-My angel Kelly-Lynne and then on the vote button). Then share the link with anyone and everyone to help me win. Thanks so much for your suppor!