You try one sentence, then delete it. You try again; still nothing. Panic rises, and you begin imagining that your colleagues have found you out.
“How did she get this job? She’s not a writer!”
There’s a name for this condition, this feeling of helplessness when words won’t come.
Say you’re writing about a grizzly bear and the words won’t come, writes McPhee.
Type this salutation across the top of the page: “Dear Mother…”
This is terrific advice, and it thrills me that it comes from one of our greatest living writers.
I have often taught the same technique in my Advanced Writing and Editing workshops with longtime colleague Jim Ylisela.