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Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, encourages writers to make time to write daily. But what if the well has run dry? What if the cursor on the screen is only annoyingly marking the time that you are not actually writing? Ms. Lamott describes the pain of staring at a blank screen, “. . . I become a dog with a chew toy, worrying it for a while, wrestling it to the ground, flinging it over my shoulder, chasing it, licking it, chewing it, flinging it back over my shoulder. I stop just short of actually barking. But all of this only takes somewhere between one and two minutes, so I haven’t actually wasted that much time. Still, it leaves me winded. I go back to trying to breathe, slowly, calmly, and I finally notice the one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk to remind me of short assignments.”

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