Monday, March 8, 2010

Pit Bull Approach to Writer’s Block

USA Today Best Seller, Catherine Mann, is my guest today. She’s a frequent speaker at RWA conferences. Writes emotional packed tales around some hot military heroes for Harlequin and Berkley Sensation. You may have read her Dark Ops stories with Berkley.

I’ve often wondered how authors handle deadlines around writing several books a year in more than one series. How do they keep it fresh? How do they handle the normal writing blocks when on deadlines?

Cathy shares how she handles it.

People often ask how I combat writer’s block when penning four to five books a year. My answer? I step away from the computer and search out new ways to clear the cobwebs. Although I never could have foreseen that this week’s cobweb clearing journey would lead me to Doga Class with a pit bull.

Yes, you read that right. Doga. Pronounced Dough-Guh. In essence, it’s yoga with a dog, or in my case, doga with a pit-bull.

I’ve never participated in yoga or mediation before. But I’m an active supporter of my local Humane Society, including fostering motherless puppies. When I heard that my local shelter was starting a monthly doga class, I was smack dab in the middle of a huge plot snarl and doga seemed like a great way to nab some cobweb clearing time. (Photo to the right Cathy with foster pups)

I had read up a little on doga and knew going in that the purpose for shelter dogs is to help them become more adoptable by:

1)Relaxing tension/aggression in a dog stressed from being penned up.

2) Relaxing nervous/timid dogs who need confidence.

Doga incorporates chanting, massage, acupressure, as well as reflexology with the paws. (Probably more than you cared to know - pardon my digression!)

Arriving at the shelter, I asked them to pair me with a dog that needed help rather than me just picking a doggie partner. Ask and ye shall receive.

Meet Tayler:

Now, I’ve fostered bulldog puppies before and have a deep affection for the breed. They’re sweet dogs by nature, and are sadly often misused by their owners. (Don’t EVEN get me started on the evils of dog fighting.) Yet knowing all of this, I was still nervous about finding my center and oneness in a lotus position with a huge animal I didn’t know, an animal clearly unhappy about being penned up.

Boy, was I ever in for a surprise. After only a little heart-to-hound Mudra and some Downward Facing Dog, Tayler was a regular pussy cat, resting her chin on her paws, rolling on her back, covering my hands and face with doggy kisses. She was totally mellow - and also apparently majorly into aroma therapy!

By the end of the doga session, my writer’s block had cleared. Thanks to Tayler, I realized I simply needed to look at the plot problem from a different angle and enjoy the unexpected path.

So this week when folks ask me how I combat writer’s block, I just smile and say, “I took the pit bull approach.”

For a chance to win an autographed book by Catherine Mann, simply post a comment. Three winners will be chosen, winner’s choice of HOTSHOT (Berkley Sensation) or BOSSMAN’S BABY SCANDAL (Silhouette Desire.)


MORE THAN WORDS: STORIES OF HOPE, an anthology by three bestselling authors: Catherine Mann, Diana Palmer and Kasey Michaels, Harlequin, March 2010.

  • Catherine Mann, Touched by Love
  • Read an Excerpt


USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann writes action-packed military suspense for Berkley Sensation and emotional, steamy romances for Silhouette Desire. With over two million books in print in twenty countries, she has also celebrated wins in both the RTIA and Bookseller’s Best contests. A former theater school director and university teacher, she holds a Master’s degree in theater from UNC-Greensboro and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston. Catherine currently resides on a sunny Florida beach with her military flyboy husband and their four children. FMI check out her website at: