Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer's Block

Jane Anne Staw, Ph.D.

St. Martin's Press




None of us is immune to writer's block. From well-known novelists to students, associates in business and law firms, and even those who struggle to sit down to write personal correspondence or journal entries -- everyone who writes has experienced either brief moments or longer periods when the words simply won't come.

In Unstuck, poet, author and writing coach Jane Anne Staw uncovers the reasons we get blocked - from practical to emotional, and many in between - and offers powerful ways to get writing again. Based on her experiences working with writers as well as her own struggle with writer's block, Staw provides comfort and encouragement, along with effective strategies for working through this common yet vexing problem.

Topics include: understanding what's behind the block * handling anxiety and fear * carving out time and space to write * clearing out old beliefs and doubts * techniques to relax and begin * managing your expectations as well as those of family and friends * experimenting with genre, voice, and subject matter * defusing the emotional traps that sabotage progress and success * ending the struggle and regaining confidence and freedom by finding your true voice - and using it.

Writers of all levels will find solace, support, and help in this book, leading them to an even deeper connection with their work and more productivity on the page.



The Right to Write
Every semester, at the first meeting of my creative nonfiction workshop, I ask the students what they hope to gain from the course. There are always a few who say that they are there...


Praise for Unstuck

“In a way [Unstuck] forces you to scrutinize yourself, the book is like a hard day at the therapist's office: You feel a little vulnerable, but ready to take the next step.” —San Francisco Weekly

“My book would not exist without Jane Anne Staw. She creatively, lovingly, and patiently guided me past my convoluted blocks. And she can do it for you. Unstuck will transform your relationship to your writing and wisely help free you into your true writing self.” —Susan G. Wooldridge, author of Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

Unstuck is filled with honesty, compassion, and a lyrical prose that leaves its indelible impressions on you long after you've put the book down. An overdue essential that will become every writer's companion.” —Regina Louise, author of Somebody's Someone

“I would not have written my book were it not for Jane Anne Staw. Her ability to see what I was trying to say and do, and to understand me as a writer, made it possible for me to keep writing. Unstuck offers readers the same chance to benefit from her wisdom and experience ” —Susan P. Halpern, M.S.W., author of The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words

“Jane Anne Staw helped me find my voice, providing texture and context to my ideas. Once 'unstuck' myself, I wrote my second book in two months, and it will be published later this year. Unstuck will help writers learn to take risks and enjoy the writing process, as well as the results.” —Guy T. Saperstein, Civil Warrior: Memoirs of a Civil Rights Attorney

“Jane Anne Staw's honest, insightful techniques demystify the sometimes paralyzing experience of being a writer, while allowing the magic and mystery of the process to flourish. Unstuck offers all of this to you.” —Rebecca Di Liberto, M.F.A.candidate, Columbia University

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Jane Anne Staw, Ph.D.

Jane Anne Staw, Ph.D., has taught writing at Stanford University and the University of Iowa, and currently teaches at the UC Berkeley Extension School and the University of San Francisco M.F.A. Program in Writing. She also works with writers individually, helping them to overcome writer's block. A published poet with an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Iowa, she is the author, with Mary Swander, of Parsnips in the Snow. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Jane Anne Staw

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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