Music & Writer's Block

I am by no means an expert on overcoming writer's block.  When I sat down to write this post, I spent a good half hour checking Tumblr (must see if anybody's updated) and watching Youtube videos on facial masks (cuz, you know, maybe someday I'll go to a spa).  But there comes a point when enough is enough.  It's time to write.  Or else. I have various ways of breaking through this brick wall.

One is to push the computer aside and do something else.  Maybe I'll do something else for a week.  Or a month.  I believe stories are like pot roast-- they taste better after being left to simmer for a long time, then chilled overnight.

Another is to re-read what I've written, from the beginning.  I once heard that getting stuck in the middle of a story probably means there's something wrong somewhere.

Yet another is to go back to Youtube.  Not for facial mask DIYs, but for music.

While writing the Manuscript, I made a playlist of WWII era music.   Sometimes writer's block is simply this-- I've forgotten why I'm writing.  I've gotten so bogged down in details and research that I've lost the heart and soul of my story.

That's where music comes in.  It's all there-- cigarettes and Victory Rolls, bittersweet romance, the lushness of Glenn Miller's orchestra, the smoke of Auschwitz.

Here are a few of the songs I played over and over again, whenever I found my writing drifting off course...

The Holocaust in one song:

Romance heavy and lush as summer air:


...And after listening, I would remember why I'd wanted to tell this story in the first place. The brick wall of writer's block would crumble into dust, and I could write again.

"What passion cannot music raise and quell?" -John Dryden

Meet the Manuscript

You are looking at the product of 7+ years worth of work. I first conceived the idea back in high school. It pursued me through college, but only in the past few years have I begun seriously working on it.

"It" is a novel. A 181,611 word novel. Saints and angels, I NEVER thought I'd finish!

I've got some beta readers who will be plunging into this epic story of post-World War II Berlin-- with all its nightmares, beet jams, bureaucrats, and coffee substitutes.

These are a few of the photographs I collected for reference. (Most of these have been in my computer so long I no longer remember the source.)