Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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June 27, 2014

Roadblocks happen - find a way to power through them

Athens — You ever had writer’s block? Everyone gets it once in a while, especially journalists.

Charles Bukowski once said, “Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.”

People always ask “how do you come up with your ideas?” Those are easy when it comes to writing sports, finding the right way to make it intriguing at the start is when it can get interesting.

Some people think the words just flow onto the page. Most times I spend the majority of my time looking at the page trying to figure out what is the most creative way to draw my audience into the story I have covered.

Sure, in the world of sports most people have already seen the game. So they know what happened.  My job then becomes finding a way to tell them something they may not have seen during the two-hours they were watching the game.

Recently, the idea of getting story ideas during the summer has been interesting. It is not that things are not going on, but what is something people may not think of during the two months when my expertise slows down.

I have had a lot of people who have complimented me about how I write my stories. Of course, I am my worst critic, because I spend time reading others’ work on a subject, and I wonder why I was not able to think of the issue that way.

There once again comes the writer’s block. The worst time comes when a deadline is approaching, and the clock is ticking.  The adrenaline is flowing, but the words are not coming to mind.

I spend more times stepping away from the blank computer screen trying to think of a short concise sentence that puts a story into perspective.

Practice makes perfect as they say in the business. After 14 years in this business, you would think it would not be a problem, but it always seems to creep into my mind.

It’s not that I am worried about what I will say in the story, but will a person want to read the story after seeing the first line.

I keep a card in my wallet that is starting to fade out but it helps me out at times. It is an acronym for the word success.

It says see your goal, understand the obstacles, clear your mind of doubt, create a positive mental picture, embrace the challenge, stay on track and show the world you can do it.

When I take the time to look at the card, the story becomes clear and the words begin to flow.

I also try to use this as a path for my life, even when I am not writing a story. We all have some form of challenges in life that cause roadblocks in our life.

Some people deal with fear. Others deal with addiction, and others have some form of disorders which cause them to question what their true purpose is in life.

No one is perfect, and if you take nothing else from this column, please think about the acronym that I wrote and pray about – the roadblock in your life.

I understand, even though I have this roadblock at times when I am trying to tell a great story, that if I take a moment to pray about the story, God finds just the right words to help me out.

Pastor Rick Warren once said, “The more you pray, the less you'll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You'll feel more patient and less pressured.”

If you encounter a roadblock this weekend, take a moment to say a short prayer. It could be the best thing you do to get over your struggle.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Review. He can be reached at

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