On Writer’s Block:

Writer’s block is always a tricky beast simply because it is self-induced. It is a mechanism of fear, from either failure of anxiety or lack of desire. There is nothing giving you writer’s block but yourself and acknowledging that is an important part of the process.

There are two ways to move past it, one is more mental while the other is physical.

  • Mentally you need to know that you don’t work for your muse. Your muse works for you. You’re the boss and your muse is an employee. You need to tell her the schedule, set times where she’s going to work for you, and understand that without her you’re alone doing all the work yourself. You need to find your muse though, you need to hire her and put her on payroll. It’s very important though to understand that you need, desperately to never wait for her to arrive, she should be waiting for you at all times and that requires an understanding of what a muse actually is to you. So find your muse, tell her to meet you at 2:00pm at a coffee shop or your bedroom and get to work.
  • Physically you need to impose your will. Fight or flight, survival of the fittest. Only the strong can work through writer’s block and only the strongest make it out alive. It’s like The Hunger Games except it’s taking place within your own body. When I have a rough patch, I’ll make myself a sandwich & some tea in a thermos and I’ll start walking in one direction and I tell myself that I won’t stop walking until I come up with a new idea. Eventually I’ll eat my sandwich and drink my tea, and I’ll still be walking, maybe for four hours, maybe for thirty minutes but eventually your body says, “Okay, looks like you’re seriously going to kill us, here’s how I can help.”

It’s crazy but it has worked for me every single time and I think it’ll work for ya’ll.

(Source: passivevoice)

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This was my piece I read at Kenyon University’s Writer’s Workshop over the summer. I finally managed to edit it and upload it.

I’m reading this in front of 80+ people, editors and readers for the Flannery O’Connor Award, Kenyon University Literary Journal, and others. It was a huge honor and something I’m still proud of today.

Watch the video and enjoy. 

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enzoscavone asked:

Hi Matthew, after checking your blog, I must say that I like how you reflect your thoughts and the unique perspectives you assume concerning the issue at hand (Paging Columbus). I have two questions: 1) where can I read more of your work? 2) how do I know you are not crazy?

Passive/Voice Answer:

A lot of my work is on my blog - a lot of poems and some short stories that were never published. Stuff that I never felt ended up strong enough. I have a few publications that have featured my work:

Oxford University in Miami (2007)
Candygram Literary Journal Issue II (2009)
Filigree Literary Journal Issue III (2010)
Filigree Literary Journal Issue IV (2011)
Vanderbilt University Nashville Review (2011)
Burning Muse (2013)

I attended The Kenyon Review’s Writer Workshop in 2013 - and I learned a lot about myself.

I also write cartoons for an animation studio called Rad Fortress:


As far as the second question goes - I don’t know. I’m not crazy. I think.

thanks for the question,

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Anonymous asked:

I'm a very empathetic person so I don't always write completely about personal experiences. I kind of get into the mindset of someone experiencing something and I write as them, not as myself. Does this make me a liar? Should I just stick to what I know?

Passive/Voice Answer:

You’re not a liar, write whatever you want but I tend to pull from experiences. Just because you don’t doesn’t reflect anything other than you might be more creative than me.

Don’t sweat it, you’re good.


writer writing poem poetry poet Anonymous

zhivago373 asked:

if writing poetry is about drawing on experiences and digging into them, how does one achieve this? maybe this is the million dollar question, or maybe this is a procrastinator's attempt to take the easy route. either way, how do you think of your experiences when writing?

Passive/Voice Answer:

1.) Go outside and do things. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Just do things.

2.) Write about those things.


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I’m interested in posting long form content - only problem - it gets ignored due to the attention span of most people. 

How would y’all be interested in reading fiction, non-fiction or even a novella I’ve been working on - what would work best for everyone?

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say-something-my-love asked:

Hi! Thank you for following my poetry blog (poeticfeelings). As a first-year student studying English, starting a new degree in English seems quite scary. Do you have any advice to students who are new English majors? I find myself as more of a writer than a reader, and this scares me as well; I am a very, very slow reader. Thank you again! Happy writing :)

Passive/Voice Answer:

First - I didn’t attend college. I kind of skipped that. I’m happy I did as I’m not drowning in debt and I’ve managed to get a career in social media marketing without a degree.

Second, I’ll say this - getting an English degree unless you plan on teaching seems inherently pointless. You don’t need a degree to be published so unless you plan on making that degree work for you - get something else that can maybe help pay that disgusting debt.

If I had gone to school, I would have gone to a culinary school - as I love cooking. That knowledge would have helped my writing as well because writing (to me) is about experience.

Yeah, learning your P’s and Q’s will make you technically proficient, but that isn’t going to get you published. Saying something interesting will. Sorry this answer sucked, it’s not what everyone wants to hear. I’ve known and hired (I used to be a Chipotle General Manager) many English Majors unable to find work after they’ve graduated - it’s a sad degree. Get something fun, get something interesting - get something that is going to propel yourself as an individual, your writing in a unique way.

Doing critical analysis on Madame Bovary isn’t going to make you a better writer, just a better reader.


[edit] Doing Critical Analysis on Madame Bovary will make you a better writer - but it isn’t going to make you better by $150,000.

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albitoktootoot asked:

Thanks for the follow! Nice to meet you, Matthew! Oh my, I used to write a lot before but now I barely have time to just write in my journal. I love writing when I'm alone. How about you? Can you work while there other are people around? :)) -Alvi

Passive/Voice Answer:

I go to a coffee shop here in Columbus (less so lately because I’ve been a lazy fucker) called One Line. It’s great. Wonderful coffee - and the environment is the perfect amount of pretentiousness and cozy. 

I often find that movement and interaction inspire me to do the same and I end up writing more in public. I see other people, and it inspires me to potentially take note and when I begin to analyze or people watch it has a pretty positive effect on my work.

Thanks for the question albitoktootoot


greaterdepths asked:

I appreciate the follow on my writing blog like-theknife. I realize this is probably a lot to ask- but I was wondering if it's at all possible to give me a general review/critique. I really only write down thoughts and feelings in the sequence they occur, honestly can't say I practice writing, and I am not sure how I would either. Basically I'm wondering if what I am doing is shitty or not? I dislike wasting energy on things I do not have a natural talent for. Which is sad, but oh well, lol.

Passive/Voice Answer:

I’ll say this and this is my personal belief - there are no such things as “natural talents.”

You can understand something, and maybe if the abstract, random chaos of the universe has decided you be born a savant then maybe you’ve got a huge leg up as a kid but unless you meet that criteria you’re probably not a “natural talent” at anything.

This was the case for me, I started writing when I was thirteen. Writing in the “holy jesus I can’t believe you wrote such utter shit” sense. This is how things are, you start - you practice - you get better.

NOW, in the realm of “writing” this is an old man’s game. I say this because the majority of your favorite writers, authors and poets are people in the mid forties to late fifties.

Haruki Murakami is considered a young, fresh voice in literature. The man is in his sixties. Same goes for Thomas Pynchon except he is way older.

I’ll also say this - you’re far from bad. You’re an okay writer - your pieces are a little too angsty, and you need to obviously have or delve into the experiences that make you unique as a person versus the experiences that make you “deep.”

Being sad makes you “deep”

What you do with that sadness is what makes you unique.

Practice, submit your work to journals, understand that writing is patience. I’ve taken nearly a year off from actually writing anything of note - it’s just been one of those years. I haven’t had a publication in ages and it’s my fault.

You deal with your setbacks, you grow with your work, and maybe someday there will be an audience for what you have to say.


enidcoleslawww asked:

Hi, thanks for following me. I'm kinda having a turmoil about wanting my poems to have a spotlight and keeping my poems all by myself. What should I do ? and how do you find my poetry and my poems ?I wanna hear from a pro in poetry like you. And what should I do ? If again, I lost the ability to write ?

Passive/Voice Answer:

Well enidcoleslawww, I don’t know. You’re incredibly prolific for your age (probably because at 17 you have very little to do) which is fantastic and I think that’s all anyone could ask of you.

I’ll say this, you’re not going to be Ezra Pound at 17 and to get there it takes practice, and time and putting your work out there to be read and hated and critiqued and picked apart. I’m not a pro at all but I do feel like becoming good at something requires patience, a good spirit and you can’t take anything you do too seriously or else you’ll be torn apart by your own pretentiousness.

Have fun, write what you want and in time with a good foundational education about writing you’ll just become better. It is kind of how this all works.

Write, Learn and Grow.

thanks for the question

Anonymous asked:

I have a blog where I write and lately I've been receiving a lot of comments that are discouraging. This one person in particular said that I am ignorant and should not be writing at all. I've contemplated deleting my blog so I wouldn't receive anymore of these comments, but I don't want to give them that satisfaction. What do you do when you receive rude comments?

Passive/Voice Answer:

I deeply apologize to whoever sent me this ask months and months ago. Don’t give up, keep going - but listen - truly listen to what people say about what you do.

Writing is a two way street - for yourself and for an audience. If your audience doesn’t enjoy what you do, you must think about who you’re writing for - ultimately discovering that fact will lead you to understand what you enjoy writing.

Your critics are your best tool, use them to discover your weaknesses. Without an outside voice telling us who we are, we’re left to internal devices that can be obscured with both ego and lack of self-esteem. Finding the middle is the key.