A Writer’s Block and A Blessing

I’m having a problem, and this is it. Typing one word and then the next. Forming coherent thoughts. Creating meaning out of nothing. Otherwise known as writing.

So, I’ve turned to other writerly activities. Reading books. Revising earlier works. Looking for publication opportunities.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending time on Poets & Writers, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. I’ve only scratched the surface. They have an alphabetized database of over twelve hundred literary magazines and journals. I’m up to the letter C. Christian Science Monitor. However, it’s good necessary to actually read the journals and follow submission guidelines, check submission dates and reading fees. And that takes time. Lucky for me, I have some time, and today I read Christian Science Monitor. They’ve published Sylvia Plath. I’m probably a long shot.

Why publish elsewhere?

Well, I’m building my bio. For now, this is it.

Crystal Byers is an emerging writer and veteran high school English teacher living in Houston, Texas. She  has a memoir-in-progress and an MFA in Creative Writing from Houston Baptist University. Her essays appear at The Porch Magazine, The Houston Flood Museum, and soon with Brevity. Visit her at crystalbyers.com.

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And if you are visiting today, thank you! May your words flow, your thoughts be coherent, and your meaning worthy of contemplation.

44 thoughts on “A Writer’s Block and A Blessing

    1. Thanks, Priscilla. I’m heading back to work before I know it, so I’m sending out what I can while I can, going for the occasional long shot. I’m reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar now. She’s blowing me away.

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    1. I was introduced to the list about a year ago in school when I had less time. Now, I’m maintaining a document of potential publications as I go and another one to remember where I’ve submitted. That’s helping my focus.

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  1. When you get to the H’s, check out Heart of Flesh Lit. There’s a nonfiction piece in Issue 5 (free download) by Anthony Butts called “Visionism: Of Schizophrenia & Spiritualism” I think you’ll appreciate.
    I may be partial since I have a piece in it as well, but Butts’ writing will suck you right in.

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  2. I am not sure if this helps one bit but I’ve been told to read lots of things you usually would not be reading … I’ve been to fish wrapping newspapers to womens magazines … erm … It does leave you with the feeling you could do better 😉

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      1. 😂 You just taught me something. I Googled fish wrapping paper, and all I found was gift wrap with a fish print. Very kitsch. There’s a blog post somewhere in all of this.

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  3. Hey there Crystal, Congratulations on having a story in “Brevity” I’m a graduate of Ohio University and I’ve met Dinty Moore who started the magazine. In spite of my wit and wisdom, he so far hasn’t published any of my essays. So I’m trying hard not to turn green over your good fortune. You may enjoy his book, “On Crafting the Personal Essay.” Also check out the Chicken Soup for the Soul website. I bet you can land a story in one of their books.
    All the best – have a red clown nose super doodle day. Jerry

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  4. I had been experiencing a bad case of writer’s block too recently.. I’m trying to dig myself out of it. I’m not totally happy with everything I produce but somedays I feel so exhausted I consider any published post a successful day!

    Also have been same with reading! And I totally believe the no reading goes hand in hand with the writer’s block so I appreciate the last quote! 🙂

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  5. The other day I almost quit writing, so I feel your pain. Like you, I began reading a book written by an author whose words flow like honey. It certainly helps. I wish you all the best, Crystal and keep on!

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  6. Thank you for sharing!!… sometimes one needs to step back and reboot… to enjoy life and live the day… to find new adventures to write about… the heart knows when the time will be right and you will write… 🙂

    Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
    to paint a picture, or write a letter,
    bake a cake, or plant a seed.
    Ponder the difference between want and need.

    Dust if you must, but there is not much time,
    with rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
    Music to hear, and books to read,
    friends to cherish and life to lead.

    Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
    with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
    a flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
    this day will not come round again.

    Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
    old age will come and it’s not kind.
    And when you go, and go you must,
    you, yourself, will make more dust!
    (Rose Milligan)

    Until we meet again…
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    And may all the wishes you wish come true
    (Irish Saying)

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  7. How you manage it all, Crystal, is unexplained. Unless, you’re four or five different people, right?

    You’re a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend…and your own person. You’re a teacher, an avid reader, and an even more avid writer. On top of it all, you search for a publisher. As though the 48,000 other things you’re handling aren’t (more than) enough.

    Naturally, the challenge isn’t having too few options, but too many. You have the skills – plus many to spare. Now, to find that that perfect match.

    Mere mortals have been daunted, in their billions. Fortunately, Crystal has secret powers.

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    1. Well, goodness, Keith—if you only knew. I feel like I’m doing a whole lot of nothing recently, being between gigs. But—I am enjoying my down time—and the thought that someone believes in my super powers. Thanks for that!!

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  8. Best of luck with your goal of being published in a journal or magazine. I’ve never wanted to do that, so I have no pithy insider advice about how to do it. I do know about writer’s block, though. Go scrub a sink or organize your sock drawer. The more mindless the task, the faster my writer’s block is over.

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