The Writer's Block
Running Press, 2001
Interviews and cover letters are my least favorite part of unemployment. How many different ways can I say that I’m detail-oriented or that I think I’d do a job well? How can I vary my own stock descriptions of my skills and experience so I don’t go stark raving mad?
Now I have a tool to answer that question: The Writer’s Block.
Jason Rekulak’s bestseller boasts “786 Ideas To Jump-Start Your Imagination.” As I flip through it, it suggests, “Discipline. Imagine what life would be like if you had the occupation you’d wanted as a child. Write about the most important event or meeting you’ve ever been late to. How to Take Criticism....” This ought to be enough to get me thinking about myself and work from a new perspective.
The sturdy little book is really designed to inspire writers, of course, and it offers an array of interesting tools. “Spark words” and pictures are scattered among longer challenges like “Write about a beauty pageant - without using stereotypes.” There are chatty instructional passages about using people you know in a story, and whether to self-publish. The Writer’s Block is one of those miniature books designed to appeal to the flighty consumer - like myself - who is quickly attracted to shiny objects. On top of being packed with little pictures and quotes, the book itself looks like a small nifty prize. It measures three square inches head-on, and it is 672 pages long. It’s the first book I’ve ever seen that is actually thicker than it is tall.
The one drawback I experienced was a tendency to grasp the book, resolve to write about whatever prompt faced me on the open page, and find myself faced with an instructional mini-essay on the life of John Irving or Scott Turow. Oddly, this exposed the book’s one inconsistency: there are many such essays on different authors which include writing prompts. A few entries, however, just profile the author’s birthplace and published works.
All in all, The Writer’s Block is a pleasure to use for inspiration, entertainment, or to learn a little about the art of modern-day writing. And, maybe, to break down the writer’s block that comes along with the fortieth or fiftieth stab at gainful employment.