I've never had writer's block but certainly have writer's overwhelm: of the 63 topics/ideas on my list, which should I write first? If that's you, here are a couple suggestions. Close your eyes and point. Which ever topic your finger lands on is what you're going to write about next. Or pick the easiest, quickest one. Or the one that's the most fun? How about the hardest one that requires research and get it out of the way?

Meditation | ADHD | Entrepreneurs

Meditation for Everyone

Even Entrepreneurs with ADHD Can Meditate

Girl wearing an orange hoodie
Girl wearing an orange hoodie
from author’s collection at Overwhelmtoaction.com

How could someone who struggles to stay on track sit still and do nothing but watch themselves breath?

But no, it’s not a contradiction!

If I can meditate, so can you! It takes a bit of practice but it’s well worth it.

Every time I meditate, I calm down, my head has fewer thoughts all scrambled together. And I can focus on whatever I’m working on.

Oops, wait a minute! What’s a picture of a cute girl wearing an orange hoodie doing on a blog post about meditation?

Nope, it’s not a joke. So before…

Nana Ruled with the Force of a Storm

Facebook Group, Hurricane Memes 2020

Hurricane Nana slammed into Belize with 75 miles-per-hour winds on September 3, 2020. What? My Grandmother is a hurricane?

Sadly, the announcer mispronounced her name: She wasn’t “Nana” like banana as he said. She was “Nana” like mama.

So famous did Hurricane Nana become that a Facebook page exists in her honor. There’s even a picture of her with her glasses (and a mask). You can check out Nana’s Facebook page here.

Oh So Many Rules

Licensed from 123RF; Sean824

Perhaps they felt the world would fall apart without rules? Maybe they thought their identification as white, Protestant, middle-class parents was dependent on rules? Perhaps breaking one of the rules was was not unlike a sin, except that white, middle-class parents didn’t use the word “sin.” That was a Catholic word. As a child, I suppose I believed the rules came down from God. But if that was the case why did my Protestant cousins not have to live by these rules?

Rules for Sunday

One may not go to movies on Sunday. My friend Sharra could go to movies on Sunday. She…

Advice from William Zinsser

Woman with pencil in hand thinking about what to write in her journal
Woman with pencil in hand thinking about what to write in her journal
Licensed from 123RF; copyright, Dean Drobot

William Zinsser’s On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction has sold over 1.5 million copies. First published in 1976, it’s 7th revised and updated edition came out in 2006.

Zinsser, who died in 2015 at 92 years old after writing 17 books, argued for clarity, simplicity, brevity, and humanity. His book remains the classic “how to write” book. And it’s a delight to read. (By contrast, imagine sitting down in your comfy armchair to read The Chicago Manual of Style.)

Zinsser tells you how to write without being rule-bound, stuffy, and boring. And he tells stories along the…

Cross Crawl to Engage Your Whole Brain

Vector image showing difference between right and left brain
Vector image showing difference between right and left brain
Licensed from 123RF; copyright, lisaalisaill

If you’re an engineer, you’re probably left-brain dominant. But if you’re a poet, your right-brain is in charge. Nothing wrong with this simple explanation . . . except that it’s too simple.

To simplify even further, the right side of your brain is the creative part of your brain; the left side the analytical. Several years ago, a popular “parlor game,” was labeling our own brains and the brains of our friends as either left-brain or right-brain. Kind of a stupid game and happily appears to have gone out of fashion.

By the way, nobody is 100 percent right brain…

Because of a Massive Pulmonary Embolism

Licensed from 123RF; copyright, dolgachov

Gradually I began taking a nap every day. Then a couple weeks later, one nap felt so good, I started taking two naps every day. A week or so into three naps a day as I lay on the bed, I realized I couldn’t move my legs. Then I broke out in a cold sweat.

“Eric,” I yelled out to my husband, “Call 911. I’m having a heart attack.” Within minutes I was lying on a gurney in an ambulance and then in the emergency room at Porter Hospital, just blocks from our house.

Several tests later, including a CT…

From Toccatas to Tchotchkes, He’s Everywhere

large church pipe organ
large church pipe organ
Licensed from 123Rf; copyright, junyajunya

“I consider Johann Sebastian Bach the greatest man who ever lived, along with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.” Fats Waller

Maybe you hate classical music? Perhaps your only interest in Bach is on his birthday when memes with word-play such as “Bach to Bach” and images of him wearing sunglasses or sticking out his tongue pop up.

Do What Others Aren’t Doing to Get More Readers

Words “What’s Your Story? written in chalk
Words “What’s Your Story? written in chalk
Licensed from 123RF; copyright, Krasimira Nevenova

Writers on Medium and its publications, Quora, LinkedIn, and other text-based social media platforms love to tell us how to do things:

  • How to write better
  • How to make money
  • How to get a boyfriend
  • How to raise kids
  • How to grow cucumbers
  • How to recover from a divorce
  • How to do X faster
  • How to slow down

The list is endless. Readers respond well to “how to” until it becomes redundant. And much of the “how to” do this and that is redundant. Another word for “redundant” is boring. Readers don’t like boring!

I write a lot about writing…

And the Story Still Isn’t Finished

Old library
Old library
Licensed from 123RF; copyright, illu

Write every day. That’s my goal. I love to write. I work in my home office every day. I rarely go out thanks to COVID. What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, I also Love Research

Sure, I could look out my office window. I would probably see a squirrel romping around in the leaves. Then I could write a couple paragraphs about my love of nature, of squirrels, and how this brings me to nirvana. I could end with a sentence encouraging my readers to delight in the wonders of the autumn season.

Sadly there’s a lot of this meaningless rubbish out there. (Stop being…

MaryJo Wagner, PhD

Non-fiction writing coach with ADHD loves reading, writing, the mountains, Bach and Willa Cather. Get “9 Tips for Readable Writing” at maryjo@mjwagner.com

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