Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writer's block does not exist (Part 2)

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Step two: Research

The internet is awesome. How many arguments have I won simply by using a Google search? Seriously, use the internet properly! Apparently this is a lost art. If you are a more serious writer, or you are writing an extensive work that benefits from multiple opinions and discovering said opinions on the internet would involve hours of clicking next page, go to a library. Library's are still awesome. They still have librarians who can give you tips (even if the tip is a web address you've never heard of). If your local library is small and you have a university or college nearby go there. You don't need a student card to write notes – go early enough in the day so that you have the time to write detailed notes, including any quotes that you wish to pull.

So we are writing a poem about oranges. Where do oranges come from?

According to oranges originate from China, are produced in California, Florida, and the largest producer in the world is Brazil.

This again gives us the opportunity to mind-map. This time we can map history of a geographic place, culture, maybe a political tie to the fruit industry. Keep this sub map smaller than the initial.

Additional research – in Canada we have the ultimate resource – people. Want to learn about the Middle East? Talk to someone from there. Working on a poem about being homeless? It's likely that you know someone who has been homeless, or volunteered for a charity who helps the homeless. If you have the time, talk to friends. Unfortunately, we do not have time here -- but you guys at home do!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Dane Swan

Dane Swan is a Bermuda-raised, Toronto-based internationally published poet, writer and musician. His first collection, Bending the Continuum was launched by Guernica Editions in the Spring of 2011.

Go to Dane Swan’s Author Page