Losing Yourself and Finding Some Chocolate: Beating the Writer’s Block

You're sitting inside feeling sorry for yourself...

Every writer has dealt with that massive, invisible beast that plants itself squarely on our desks, preferably in front of our computer screens, and leers at us in a mocking sort of way, just daring us to get anything accomplished.  Sometimes this beast teams up with Facebook or another soul-sucking website and we lose hours without knowing where they’ve gone.

And our story sits tragically abandoned.

There are lots of ways to get around writer’s block.  We all have our tried and true methods, so I  thought I’d contribute a couple of mine.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes (quite frequently, actually) I just need to get away from my work.  And I don’t mean Facebook away or even read-a-good-book away.  Those have their places (especially the latter).  But little treats that allow me the sense of escape can make all the difference when it’s time to go back to the proverbial drawing board.
A perfect setting for a story...

So here’s my first solution:

Get Lost.  No, I’m not kidding or trying to be all philosophical. Leaving your desk, your house, your chaotic world behind and losing yourself in the outdoors can be incredibly soothing.  You might be lucky enough to have a beautiful setting to explore right out your front door – city streets, rambling countryside, a dimly lit wood – or maybe you need to hop in the car and drive a little ways to find it.  Either way, give it a try. Get a little lost on purpose and see what you find.  And while you’re at it, bring a camera and try to find the beautiful, bizarre, and interesting things you normally miss when you’re out and about.

If you do take some photos, please post them on your blog and link them here so I can appreciate them too.  I love seeing what others have discovered.  A recent find of mine is this Chinese restaurant called Karen’s Unicorn.  The name just makes me smile…

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to write a story about Karen's Unicorn.

Now for your second escape from the dull monotony of a desk, a room, a house, a schedule.  You’ve taken a walk, snapped some photos, and now you need a snack. This one should suit just about anyone, so long as you enjoy chocolate.

Have you ever felt like a delicious, home baked treat, but you just don’t have the time, inclination, or ingredients to make a complicated dessert? Don’t resign yourself to store bought snacks just yet!  Before you settle back into your chair for a good one-on-one with your story, make yourself a five-minute chocolate cake.

I’m totally serious.  Five minutes.  And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen (if you don’t, feel shame and go shopping immediately).

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

1 average sized mug

  • 4 Tbs plain flour
  • 4 Tbs white sugar
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 1/2 beaten egg (yes, annoying, but just save the other half for another cake!)
  • 3 Tbs milk
  • 3 Tbs veggie oil
  • Splash of vanilla extract (if you use imitation, you make me very sad)
  • Handful of chocolate chips or any chunks of a good candy bar.  Be creative! (I use broken pieces of Swiss baking chocolate because it’s actually cheap here)

In your mug, mix up the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder (I use a fork).
Add the beaten egg.  (It will be a bit gummy.  No worries!)
Add the milk and oil.  (Now it looks like cake batter!)
Add a bit of vanilla.

Life just got better...

Stir in your pieces of chocolate.  You might simply sprinkle them on top to keep them from sinking to the bottom, but I actually kind of like the melty, chocolatey bottom of my cake.  It’s up to you!

Stick your mug in the microwave.  My golden time was 2 1/2 minutes on medium setting.  You may find that more or less is needed.  You do NOT want to overbake it!  Fudgier is better.  The cake will rise up over the top of the mug while baking and will then sink back down a bit. Fear not.  This is normal.

(Warning: When you remove your mug of cake, your kitchen will begin to smell decadently of chocolate.  It may draw other members of your household into your immediate vicinity, so be prepared to defend your treat, unless you plan to share – which would be silly.)

For an extra flair, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on top, like I did, because I had it lying around.  Or maybe you have cool whip or vanilla ice cream available.  If nothing else, at least grab a glass of milk.

Now, this is my kind of work environment.

Let it cool a bit before eating! Remember that microwaves bake from the inside out so the middle will be very, very hot.

Make your way back to your desk and return to your story in a much happier frame of mind.  You took a beautiful walk.  You have your very own fresh chocolate cake.  And you have a story in the making.

Happy writing!

P.S. – If you try the cake in a mug and vary it in some amazing way, please share!

P.P.S. – A happy birthday to my little sis who is celebrating her sweet sixteen today!  Wish I could be there!

416 thoughts on “Losing Yourself and Finding Some Chocolate: Beating the Writer’s Block

      1. Hi,
        I loved every bit of it! I’m a writer and could empathize with all that you mentioned in the name of writer’s block, though I suffer from another one, which is procrastinating a project. Everyday, I come up with some random schedule to discipline my writing and I won’t say, I’m no good. I, at least, follow it for a couple of days, before I call quits. Very lately, I’ve discovered the reason. It’s the feeling that nobody is out there to monitor my work, my write ups and hence the need to see comments or an increase in viewership of my blogs keeps me going.
        Thanks again.

    1. I have to say that I really enjoyed reading through your post. As a writer myself, I have never had harsh struggles with writer’s block. It seems that I always have numerous ideas and threads of inspiration which run through my head, but finding that starting point presents the greatest challenge; at least in my experience. At times, finding the right starting point can be overwhelming in itself. Figuring out what to say and how to say it could possibly be even more difficult than contemplating a single idea. Anyway, in relation to what you had mentioned about getting lost in foreign environments, I could not agree more with your brilliant suggestion! Within my own area, I frequent a total of four local parks right here in my own area. At times, whenever the weather is a bit brutal (in terms of cooler temperatures) I resort to navigating St. Paul’s downtown skyway system. I feel that it is important to get exposure to the outdoors or foreign environments in an effort to absorb physical/mental exercise, a fresh environment, and new faces. Absorbing all three will definitely help any writer in the struggle against writer’s block. Every writer will encounter this much dreaded happening, but it all comes down to our ability to manage, cope, and overcome its aftereffects. Again, thanks again for posting this. I look forward to reading more posts.

    2. Actually, I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I have, however, experienced “lack of quality”. I’ve also experienced not being able to read my own handwriting. At such times, I comfort myself with the knowledge that there’s more where that came from, and it all comes from the same well (though from different depths).

  1. OK, here’s the deal: As a full-time freelance writer, I experience writer’s block so often that your “cake in a mug” recipe would be my doom. Here I sit today even, avoiding work, kids are at school, clients are satiated for the day, blog posts are looming: And I have ALL the ingredients in the pantry. Hmmm…


    I love the idea of getting lost. Because I often write about my life, I have to actually live life in order to have fodder for writing. It’s often a which-came-first-chicken-or-egg conundrum: I can’t write without getting out and living, and yet I can’t write if I’m out and living and not writing. But balance is key…

    Fun post!

    1. Yes, the cake can be both a win and a fail depending on your own degree of self control. I just figure if you take the long walk it should cancel out the cake right?

      Well… mostly….

      It does seem to me that people either get trapped completely in the story world or get tempted completely away from it. Writers just need to find a bit of both to make things work, I guess…

  2. Here I am, craving chocolate like no other, and I happen upon your post. (Great ideas, by the way!) I have all the ingredients too, except for an actual chocolate bar, I think. I’m gonna go raid the kitchen now.

    And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  3. Nice. My way of working out writer’s block is to write something every single day. It’s not always quality, but it gets my brain working so that when I work on serious subject matter I am in the right mindset. I do strive for quality, but most of the time I’m aiming for something short and sweet to be done in 10 – 30 minutes. My own blog is about that, actually, just stories and horoscopes. I’m going to make this chocolate cake and then die of chocolate awesomeness.

    1. If you are disciplined to write a little bit every day, you are my hero. I have so much trouble doing that! I blog here weekly for Lantern Hollow and writer short stories for a quarterly e-zine for our press. In the meantime, I am writing papers for my Masters here in Edinburgh. But there is also a novel to be worked on and that’s where I tend to get stuck with the Writer’s Block beast. A little escape into the world and some chocolate do help a bit!

      1. Excuse? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I only eat chocolate cake when absolutely necessary. For research. Or inspiration. Or other things of the sort.

  4. i don’t usually seem to suffer from writer’s block. in fact, if i’m not writing, it’s because i’m allowing myself to do something else that i shouldn’t be doing.

    HOWEVER – that has nothing to do with how great that chocolate idea sounds!!

  5. Oh I feel your pain. There is nothing worse than endlessly looking at a blank page wishing the pen would pick itself up. I am writing my Ph.D. thesis and when I am stuck I go play with the kids or take a long hot bath and have an early night. Will definitely have to try that chocolate cake in a cup though! congrats on being freshly pressed!

    1. I can’t say I look forward to PhD writer’s block. That must be the most terrifying! I am prepping to write my dissertation for a Master’s and that’s bad enough!

      I miss hot baths. My flat has the tiniest shower stall imaginable. Hmm… chocolate cake AND a bath… that might be too much happiness at one time.

      1. Haha, it’ll probably be in the summer when I’m back in NYC… currently in New Mexico. But believe me, a Mad Hatter party has been in the works for a while, and definitely blog worthy. 🙂

  6. I’m new at blogging, and I’n not much of a writer. I truly enjoyed this piece and now I want a cup of chocolate cake.. 🙂

  7. Ooh, that looks so good- I’m going to have to try that! I’m also a knitter and designer and look for inspiration all around. Sometimes I need to just get up and out and around and OUT of my own head for inspiration. But chocolate is always welcome! 🙂


    1. Hmm, knitting is yet another thing that I need to learn how to do myself. I am excessively fond of crocheting, but here in Scotland, it’s all about knitting!

  8. I have found that when it comes to Writer’s Block, denial works great for me. If you deny it exists, then it isn’t there to rear its ugly head and annoy you.

    Meantime, I’m very glad your chocolate cake in a mug recipe exists.

  9. I appreciate the suggestions, I find that if I take my dog for a walk, change my scenery or go for a long drive it seems to unjar something. I have seen studies that suggest that caffeine is NOT good for creative juices, which both coffee and chocolate have. It is hard for me to NOT drink coffee because then I fall asleep on the keyboard.
    It is always nice to be reminded that everyone faces the wall every once in a while, when that happens I wish I had a bulldozer.

    Keep on Trucking,


  10. The ONLY way I can get ideas going is to go for a walk. I don’t remember the last time an idea/a poem/a story came to me while I was in front of my computer. I go for walks, memorise pages of verse that comes to me as I’m outside, and write it down as quickly as I can when I get back home! If I can’t get to a computer/notepad quick enough, the idea vanishes forever….

  11. I usually use chocolate pretzel M&Ms to cure my writer’s block, but that cake in a cup looks too tempting to resist! Yum! Although I am contemplating whipped cream or caramel sauce for the topping….

  12. I don’t get writers block, but I do get readers block. Does anyone else get that? It’s like.. I can’t read any of the books I have.

    It’s usually cured by a good fluffy book of fiction, something in the young adult genre.

    Then I can go back to reading “a parenthesis in eternity.”

    1. I know what you mean. I leave it to you to discover if these cures of Writer’s Block work on Reader’s Block as well. It’s worthy of investigation.

      When I have trouble getting myself to work through a book, I like to go find a pretty library to read in. Being surrounded by books makes me feel like reading and the quiet, busy atmosphere inspires me to imitate it.

      1. This is good advice Melissa. I find that I like to read a lot of really intense heavy books and after a while my mind just can’t function anymore. Some light reading usually fixes it though.

        Enlightenment must come little by little-otherwise it would overwhelm.
        Shah, Idries

  13. I always find that an excursion out of the house is the most tried and true way to cure the ‘beast’. I enjoy longboarding down my country road during the warmer months, but of course it is slightly more difficult to escape whilst in the throes of cabin fever during winter. I also find that releasing myself of the guilt of an absent muse is key to moving on and letting our minds ‘reboot’. Playing a little music has also proven to help relax my mental muscles.

    After looking over your blog, I wonder you have any tips for somebody trying to start a collaborative writing blog while simultaneously juggling work and school schedules. I have what I believe to be a solid concept, though I only have the time to post periodically, and even less time to seek out contributors. Thanks if you get the time to respond, I respect your blog and am glad I stumbled upon it.

    1. Well, we at Lantern Hollow Press are fairly new at the blogging game ourselves, having only started a little over a year ago. It takes time and patience, for sure! Juggling a busy school/work schedule along with the blogging is tough, but I’ve found that combining the two works great. I blog about my work and my school. I’ve been surprised at how many times I’ll be thinking of something in class and realize, Hey, blog idea!

      We didn’t seek out contributors to begin with since we had already collaborated as a press, but sometimes when one of us meets someone who we think has something to say, we invite them to post as a guest. Keep your eyes open and if you meet someone or have a friend who you know has an interesting perspective, ask them to type it up! Good luck! 🙂

  14. Reblogged this on Health Care and Legal Writer and commented:
    Definitely reblogged! I love the photos and after having lived in Europe for several years, I can definitely use the photos for inspiration! I’m making that cake in a mug thing as a treat for my daughter when she comes home in a few minutes! Thanks so much!

    1. I am here in the UK for a year and as an avid photographer, I am in love with my surroundings! Edinburgh is particularly delightful, but I hope to see some of Europe before I head back to the States. It’s definitely food for the imagination.

      Of course, cake feeds the imagination quite well from anywhere!

  15. Love your post – it made me smile on a dull and gloomy day and although I’m not a serious writer, your ideas make me look forward to future writer’s block.

  16. Good. Gravy. Where has the mugcake been all of my literary life? Thank you for this, I immediately set to making it, and am eternally grateful. 🙂 Unfortunately, (because I am a poor newly wed) I used artificial vanilla, and olive oil. (the olive oik just made it heavier I think). But I love this. I wish that I had confectioners sugar with which to whip up a peanut butter frosting.

    1. As a starving student myself, I still set aside money for pure vanilla… but then, baking is probably more important to me than it is to some people. You are forgiven. 😛

      Peanut butter frosting sounds like it could be pretty epic… hmm… also one could purchase Reese’s peanut butter baking chips and toss those in… oh the possibilities!

  17. My only problem is that most of my mugs aren’t microwaveable. Clearly getting a few mugs for chocolate is now a priority on my “to do” list!

  18. I am surprised people who were thrilled at this recipe. Its been passed around on the net for years. Any how, I was thrilled it too at first. Chocolate is an empowering flavor no matter how bad it is, its still edible. It s more like a rubbery pudding than cake and got me sick of chocolate for a change. Oh high heat, it s ready in a minute I guess microwaving on medium is the trick.

    Writers block and Readers block. I get a lot of that!

    1. Yes, I found it in a few places, but the one that suggested tossing in chocolate chips was what made me actually risk trying it. My first attempt sounds a bit like yours, but when I microwaved it for a shorter time on a lower heat, the texture was much yummier and the bits of melted chocolate really raised it up a level. Good luck!

      1. I did that too, throwing in chocolate chips to camouflage the bad cake. Then just ended up eating plain chocolate chips.

        Nevertheless, its a not a bad cake. Doesn feel like having had cake. But its still quite discovery. I did seriously believe it was the best 5 mins of my life when I first tried it. Obviously thats the max we can hope to get when wanting a dessert and wanting it in 5 mins!

        1. Well having just spent a few hours going to and fro from the kitchen working on chocolate mousse filled cream puffs, I certainly appreciate the distinction between a proper dessert and a quick fix!

          Perhaps it is not so much the quality (which I still think is quite decent) as it is the joy of an instant cup of warm, chocolatey something out of the ordinary. Not, I would say, for everyday use.

  19. Hi Melissa,
    A truly wonderful post with good writing advice. Getting away from the desk to the outdoors is something I do on a regular basis to keep ideas fresh and flowing–works every time! In fact, I just returned from a walk in the woods in the rain, and then read your blog. Now I’m off to the kitchen to make cake in a mug! Thanks for sharing.

    1. A lot of people decide not to take a walk because of bad weather, but sometimes the rainy, windy, gloomy, or snowy days are the most beautiful. They don’t know what they’re missing!

      Of course, I’m in Scotland, so if I only went out when it was sunny, I’d be in trouble…

      1. Just finished cake in a mug, and it is absolutely delicious! And yes, I used pure vanilla extract : ) The one ingredient I didn’t have, however, was cocoa powder, and so I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate powder, yummy. On cooking, it went the full 2 1/2 minutes, and came out perfect! Love this recipe: quick and easy.

        Thanks again Melissa!

  20. This sounds like heaven in a mug. Too bad my waistline can’t currently afford it! I’ll just focus on the other part of your blog and go for a refreshing and possibly inspiring walk next time I suffer from writer’s block. It’ll be hard to get lost in the tiny town I live in, though!

  21. I have a solution for your 1/2 beaten egg dilemma……make two mugs of cake. The second may be to share or you may just really NEED cake.

    Loved the post. We must be of the same mind. I just blogged ‘Do)nt( Push’. A blog about not forcing your writing.

    1. Yes, definitely save the other half of the egg for another cake. The only question is now or later? Because clearly sharing it with someone else would be… well, okay, very generous and probably a nice thing to do. *grumblegrumble*

  22. “You’re sitting inside feeling sorry for yourself…” Yes! ;} The outdoors does wonders. I enjoyed the article. I especially liked the fact that you discussed food within the context of discussing ways to deal with writer’s block. =)

  23. Oh my goodness! How could life possibly get any better than chocolate cake in a mug in five minutes! I will definitely be trying this, writers block or not!

    1. Is that the Chinese word for unicorn, then? Because that would not only be explanatory, but also quite genius! And my mind would be put at ease as to why a restaurant was called that… Puns make it all worthwhile.

  24. Nice way to get over a writer’s blog and a nicer way to get fat!!! The vision I have of the cake melting in my mouth while I’m enjoying the outdoors just makes it all worth it though…..I loved this piece because it blends simplicity, inspiration and fun!!

  25. Yes, cake in a mug is divine. I mix one pkg Devil’s food cake mix and 1 pkg Angel Food cake mix and leave that in a container where we can scoop out when we want to make a cake. We add 3 Tbsp water to 1/3 cup cake mix mixture and stir together. Then i pour a Tbsp or more of choc syrup in bottom of mug, put cake/water mixture on top of that, add a few berries on top,then microwave for 1 minute. I keep plate underneath in case it bakes over. Then I dump it out after it’s cooked so it’s chocolatey goodness spills all over. I’ve never thought to use it for Writer’s block…but it’s not a bad idea. I usually use Zombies to overcome the Block.

    1. I love the cake mix idea! And the syrup. And the berries… You have this cake in a mug thing down to an art form and I can only applaud!

      I am compelled to wonder if, when you say you use Zombies to overcome the Block, you mean that you kill them to alleviate stress or you have a tamed army of them which you then unleash upon the unsuspecting Writer’s Block? Either method sounds attractive.

  26. Great post! I personally think Writer’s Block stalks me, ninja-like, and shows itself only when I have saved my writing for the last minute.
    Haha, I never wait for a problem to go for a walk or eat chocolate… I don’t need an excuse 😉

    1. Yes, and then it is the epic showdown of Last Minute Inspiration (aka Panic) vs Writer’s Block. Who will triumph?

      And let’s not call it a need for an excuse… just another reason to enjoy a treat. 🙂

      Your blog looks lovely!

  27. I’ll try any chocolate – Will definitely try your recipe!! :o) My top tip for writers block is to break up your routine- take 3-2 days, and do nothing that you would normally do… even beter if you can take a mini holiday somewhere… refreshes the mind…

    1. I love a good mini-holiday! That’s my favorite thing about my current place of study – Edinburgh, Scotland. Whenever the stress of studies becomes too much, I call up a few friends and arrange a ‘castling’ expedition to a nearby old ruin. Nothing soothes the frazzled nerves like wandering through a castle.

      Chocolate does pretty well, though.

  28. owww, unfair. Getting lost where you are seems so much more appealing than where I live – it’s either 20th century housing, industrial areas or bush. The housing looks all the same and is dull, the industrial areas are creepy and, well, I would not recommend getting lost in Australian bush. Good idea about eh chocolate in a mug though. You know it might sound strange, but a good flick usually gets my creative juices flowing.

    1. Hmm, yes, you might need to take a drive to find somewhere that appeals to your aesthetic sensibilities… and will not threaten your life. Though I do think that if you take a camera and make it your mission to discover the odd and interesting about your surroundings, you will be surprised!

  29. I love this post! As a full-time writer I struggled to find inspiration just sitting in my apartment. I ventured out and discovered the loveliest cafes and landmarks in my cities ( New York and L.A) I ended up writing and publishing little guide books on the best places to write and find inspiration. They’re available on Amazon and this cute little indie bookstore in New York named McNally Jackson.But tomorrow I will stay in and try your recipe!

  30. I would love to do this but I don’t have a microwave! what would you suggest?

    Great idea about the adventurous walk. I think we forget that we can take a break even when we are so stuck.

      1. And it will make for a longer distraction from the writing you are supposed to do, but the result will still worth it!

        Thanks for the recipe!

  31. I loved this advice. So much advice is given to writers with writers’ block that involves doing writing exercises, journal entries etc. But sometimes, like you’ve said, you just have to abandon your work altogether. Get out there, get some fresh perspective, open your mind to the world beyond your desk!
    Excellent post!

    1. Sometimes a writing exercise will do the trick, but for me, at least, I have to get outside of the writing world to be able to see back into it more clearly. Like you said, a fresh perspective is a good thing! By escaping our writing world for a little while, we can come back to it a bit stronger, and also remind ourselves of what the other side looks like!

  32. Didn’t feel there was time to read every response. Notice quite a few focused on your chocolate cake in a cup. My comment will focus on that too. I think I can relate in being outside, ie doing something different besides writing for a different perspective. Perhaps to incidentally pick up new writing ideas. Maybe somebody else made the following complaint concerning ingredient substitutes. As a person with diabetes type2 Can one use low fat milk or soy milk. A sugar sub. eg stevia, splenda? Egg white such as eggbeater or other brand. My primary told me my overall cholesterol is 148 and I would love to keep it that way. I love delicious deserts. Conversely like many other people I need to watch out for my health. I hope you are not offended.

    1. My youngest brother has Type 1 and it’s definitely always on our minds to keep that sugar down, so I understand your concern. This recipe is a deliberate indulgence, so I haven’t really considered alternatives or means of making it a little more healthy. I would guess that since it is a fairly simple little cake, using Splenda or Stevia would probably be fine. I used skim milk when I made it and that works great! I have no idea if soy milk would work having never used it. Egg is a bit tricky, but I have seen one recipe that suggested leaving it out altogether for a more fudgy texture, so you may be able to play around with that or possibly not use egg at all.

      The best thing about this recipe is that it is such a small batch, there is plenty of room for trial and error. You can definitely test it with healthier ingredients and see what happens. Worst case scenario: you lost a handful of ingredients and five minutes of your time!

  33. Wow, chocolate is popular, more popular than feet it turns out. Is this really what it takes for other people to read While We’re Paused? Well whatever works.

    As much as I love chocolate, I want to try this recipe as a cinnamon and brown sugar cake. Mmmm, I’ll try both, what muse could resist?

    1. Yes, well, we’ll take it! 😀

      And if you successfully create a cinnamon and brown sugar cake in a mug, you are honor bound to share it. Immediately. With me.

      I hope we are clear on that.

      1. The cinnamon brown sugar cake is officially awesome.

        I used 5 Tbsp of flour, 4 Tbsp of brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp of cinnamon. And I added a sprinkle of salt. Everything else was the same. And for my chuinks I put in some leftover toffee that I made last week.

  34. I’ve always wondered what people did before microwaves and the possibility of having chocolate cake at a moment’s notice. If I always had to put in the effort of making an actual cake and wait for it to bake, I would probably have gone crazy many times over… Wonderful writer’s block beating tips!

  35. Chocolate always tempting. Sure we need a break once in a while from our routine task. A long walk will sure give us a new and fresh idea.
    Thank you for sharing. Let’s beat the writer’s block . Cheers………………….

    1. I know, right??? I love it so much that I’m learning Medieval Welsh so I can translate it and getting a Master’s in Celtic Studies so I can wield my knowledge in degree form!

      1. Yes, it is definitely a dream come true! I’m loving it!

        Have I read The Mabinogion? Not only have I read it many a time, but I’ve also translated portions of Branwen and Pwyll from the original Welsh! Oh yes. I am that cool. 😛

        My favorite thing, though, is listening to my native Welsh prof reading from the text. Talk about a thing of beauty!

      2. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! You’ve translated parts of the Mabinogion. OMG. Yes, you are THAT cool. 🙂

        Ok, you are my role model. Whenever you have time, could you suggest books for me to read, i.e., which particular translations of the Mabinogion do you find most faithful to the original text?

        Have you read The Dream of Macsen Wledig?

        Our last major bookstore closed in Puerto Rico, and now we have to order everything online, and I think I’m going a little insane. I need to fill my life with Celtic and Welsh mythology.

        And you get to listen to a native Welsh professor…swoon. Have you heard Dylan Thomas recite his poem “”And Death Shall Have No Dominion” on YouTube? It’s like he’s singing the lines. Is that what your professor sounds like? Is that what Welsh sounds like? One word: wow.

        And by the way, when is it not a good time to eat chocolate? Never. In fact, I just had chocolate for breakfast.

        1. Haha, thanks. I feel pretty cool some days…

          As far as a good translation goes, I would suggest Sioned Davies. Her translation is fairly recent and it’s a faithful adaptation. I use it to check my translations. Jones and Jones have an older translation that uses ‘thee’ and ‘thy’ which makes it sound pretty, so that’s another option.

          Yes, I’ve read the Dream of Macsen! Welsh medieval tales are odd, but interesting. I like Peredur quite a bit!

          I think Welsh in general sounds very musical. The inflection they put in the words and the flow of the language is absolutely beautiful. I could listen to my prof all day. It is a bit lowering to read a line out loud and then hear her do it properly, but I’m learning!

          Aled Jones is a Welsh singer with CDs on iTunes. His song Aberystwyth has a verse in Welsh and the song in general is absolutely stunning!

  36. This is an amazing recipe that I am going to try as soon as I finish writing this comment (with real vanilla extract.) I’m suffering from writer’s block and I think this will do the trick! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Love this post! I do the exact same when I am having writer’s block. Sometimes I read a book or watch a TV show and then come back to the writing project at hand. And you can never go wrong with chocolate! 🙂

  38. The idea of the ‘beast’ teaming up with Facebook made me laugh out loud! Pursuits like that truly are soul- (and time) sucking! Loved your suggestions – and the laughs! Thanks!

  39. I find going for a walk to be incredibly good at getting the old creative juices flowing… so much so that I now carry a pen and notebook with me because my notes won’t fit on my phone!

  40. Hi Melissa,
    I’ll leave a link to my blog so you can explore the pictures as you’ve requested. They are from my journey to Everest. I’m sure you’ll enjoy some of what I discovered in the Himalayas.

    1. Haha, fair enough, and believe me, I do love a good homemade whipped cream (I just made chocolate mousse this afternoon with British double cream whipped into it!). But I’ve always enjoyed cool whip for some reason.

  41. Now this is advice that I actually live by and I concur wholeheartedly. There is nothing more relaxing and better for the block than getting out of the environment you are in, and into someplace different. I like to go to a local coffee shop it has two of my favorite drinks that I trade off each time I go. It is the place that has been the start of many a poem or short story.
    Thank-you for the recipe I do not know if I will try it tomorrow but it will be soon. I need to figure out a way to make it red velvet style.

    1. I love watching the world through the window of a cafe! There’s one called Chocolatesoup here in Edinburgh that has, you guessed it, delicious chocolate beverages. And now I’m envisioning a cup of red velvet with a dollop of cream cheese frosting… oh dear. Let me know if you have success with that one!

  42. This is excellent. Thank you for the great advice on curing my writer’s block. Also, I just want to point out that I enjoy the part in your ‘About Me’ section when you say, “bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind…”

    1. Why thank you. You can blame my friends for the bunny bit. It’s a nickname of sorts. Well, I also actually own a pet bunny. And I would argue that they are a lot more dangerous than people realize!

  43. This is a pleasant post, and I’m glad you wrote it.
    I must say my favorite get away place is defiantly the ocean…any ocean that has big enough waves to surf on. I loose myself every time I am out in the water and feel instantly refreshed and ready to do anything when I am done and on my way home. Sometimes I even go before work to relieve stress from the day before 🙂

  44. I must admit, that cake recipe sounds amazing. Currently living with 5 other people in a crappy house near my university. I actually think that if I beg, bribe and borrow from – at least the female members of the house – then I might have what I need for a cuppa-cake! (minus the Vanilla….I’m a student, sacrifices must be made).

    I’ve always struggled with writers block. With distractions in the shape of nights out drinking, uni work (or lack of in my case), plenty of TV shows and the almost hypnotic sound of my neighbors’ loud music habits, I’ve given up!

    I have a camera… I even have legs. So I might try your suggestion. It cant hurt I suppose.
    Nice post! 🙂

  45. Reblogged this on Escaping the Inkwell and commented:
    I hate the ‘reblogging’ on wordpress, but I could not resist this. This post is just truly amazing, and I HAVE to try the chocolate cake, even if I hate using the microwave. I think I shall try some of this the next time my brain blanks. Oh wait, wasn’t that today? Hmmm.

  46. I’m glad to find this blog, it’s nice post! for me chocolate is always tempting and your recipe is great.. I couldn’t be patient to try it soon 🙂

  47. I have never really seen a chocolate treat in a mug before except for Cocoa drinks. This recipe is absolutely a MUST- TRY for everyone.

    I am renovating my kitchen right now, and I would definitely try this when my kitchen is done!

    Thanks for the great and easy recipe!

    PS: Does this treat really taste like a cake or is it more liquid like?

    1. It actually has a cake texture and everything. This is definitely not a drink! Granted, it’s not going to be equal to a gourmet cake that was lovingly prepared from a complicated recipe and baked in an oven, but what can you expect with such a simple recipe? And for such a simple recipe, it’s a pretty darn good little cake.

  48. I’m suddenly so inspired to do this! I’m doing a post-something for 366 days and I’m losing topics to write about!! This is a good idea to go back to the creative zone without having to force yourself and undergo disappointing procedures. haa

  49. hello, melissa,

    you baked the cake in the mug, haha! ^^ i love the pic that shows the cake doesn’t clutter the writing space… yes, a drive or a walk in the city discovering unknown corners make a lot of sense. this is a wacky and amusing piece, thanks for sharing… cheers! 🙂

  50. As a journalist-in-training, I have a writer’s block at least once a month. Whether it’s struggling to come up with the perfect lead, or organizing a story to make it readable.

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and I’m glad that you shared some tips with us. When I experience writer’s block, I make a point of not having anything to do with writing at all for a short period of time. I go outside, read a book, watch television, play video games, or listen to music. Within a short matter of time, I can finally write again. XD

    I think what causes writer’s block is too much exposure to writing. Sometimes your brain can’t handle all of the work that it has to do (thinking up of leads, titles, characters, stories, etc), and it temporarily shuts down. That’s why it’s always important to take a healthy break from writing, even if you love it. 🙂

    ~ Wes B.

    1. I agree! There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Even if you love to write, you can overdo it!

      Now, I’m not quite sure if the ‘too much of a good thing’ rule applies to chocolate cake… doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

  51. Are you sure this will cure me? Knowing me i’ll be so into the cake i’ll forget that the point was to eventually write something. Regardless of whether this helps fight the writer’s block gremlin or just aids in adding inches I loved this post! Thanks for the tips!

  52. I write a short story everyday in spanish in my blog, and I didn’t know what to write today until I read so I followed your tips and I wrote about Karen’s Unicorn Restaurant, here is the translation of what I wrote
    Karen’s Unicorn: Its a Chinese restaurant in a town of the United Kingdon, where the rumor has it that all the food there is magically delicious, becuase Karen’s Unicorn is the one who prepares them.

    And here is the link of the short story in spanish: http://www.365microcuentos.com/2012/02/415-el-unicornio-de-karen.html

  53. I can’t wait to try this Cake in a Mug! It looks like an amazing delicious treat 🙂 I’d love to make this at work with my fellow co-workers!!!

  54. This is just the sort of thing I was hoping for. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I never actually thought about walking around town. I am sort of lacking in the department of nice places to get a picture of, but I will still give it a go.

    1. What I’ve learned is that people think they have to be at some epic mountain vista or in some other incredible place for a good picture, but some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen are in completely normal spots. Just be creative with the camera. Get a close up of something unique. Pay attention to the architecture, the little things, the people. You’d be surprised what you can capture.

  55. Just came across your blog for the first time as it was on the WordPress homepage! Nice. Love the look of all those books on a desk by a window, overlooking the weather. Love the chocolate with writing, I’d sneak in some ground coffee just for a kick. ^^

    1. Not a fan of coffee myself (collective gasp from the audience!) but I know that many people substitute coffee in cakes that call for water, so not a bad idea. Maybe a Tbs of fresh coffee or two will make this cake even more epic. Only one way to find out!

  56. This absolutely made my day! Now i feel like snuggling up with a mug-o-cake and my laptop and getting back to work on that next chapter i’ve been meaning to finish… I’ll definitely try this out at some point! 😉

  57. OH…MY…GOD This is the most awesome snack ever. Even better next to my keyboard and writer’s block. I love it. I will definitely try this over the weekend. Chocolate cake in a mug ooooh…you had me at hello

  58. I like the one about “losing yourself.” I agree with you. Sometimes, you just need a break…a break away from the computer, from the apartment. I love the idea about wondering around and finding inspiration.

    Thanks for the post!


    1. I would say, ‘As many as it takes!’ but I feel like there are a lot of us who might take advantage of that and go a bit overboard… but it’s chocolate! And we hard working writers deserve it!

  59. oh my goodness! i’ll definitely give the chocolate mug a try! i like your recipe. it makes me feel like even a lousy cook like me can do it. thanks for sharing! : D

    i agree on the first advice. i always go cycling when i have a block.

    oh, and instead of typing on a computer, writing things down on papers with a pen/pencil helps as well. : )

  60. My cat actually chose this post from the Freshly Pressed page by walking across my keyboard 🙂 (She obviously suffers from writers block, likes picking a direction and getting lost, taking photos while she’s at it, and gooey warm chocolate cake in a mug)

    Makes me wish I had a microwave….! I can feel the baking monster rearing its head and totally distracting me – no ‘writing’ (I’m not a proper writer – just a random blogger LOL) for me anytime soon today!

    Glad my cat found for the post though 😉

  61. These are nice tricks, indeed, I feel like I lost my words some years ago, and now I can only stay still and write for such a short period of time, usually not getting more than a few phrases. I ill try to get lost in the city these days and thank you for the recipe! Will definitely try it! 🙂

  62. I happen to be suffering severe block right now! So thank you. Some gardening and a walk outside. Sadly, it’s lent and I made a promise to stay away from the sugars…. (sob!). So I’ll try the cake another day.

  63. That was a fun read! I too believe that chocolate is the solution to all known evils and then some – but have to be careful to keep my addiction secret, otherwise the whole family will be wanting some. But I know all about distraction/displacement activities: I remember my house, fridge, even oven were never cleaner than when I was writing up my Ph.D. thesis. The getting lost idea is brilliant too, exploring is always a great way to restart your brain.
    Writing something every day is the gold standard I am aiming for – however little, however trite. Let’s see if I can keep it going!

    1. It’s amazing how productive you can become with things OTHER than that one monster project when you know it’s what you should be working on! I deal with that quite frequently here at uni. Today I dedicated a good six hours to some very complicated cupcakes for a birthday get together instead of doing my Welsh translations. But I was being PRODUCTIVE! Truly, I was! *defensive twitch*

  64. Have come to the conclusion that internet access itself can equal writer’s block. I find that just going to a place that’s wi-free can be the most productive thing for writing altogether. That, and exercise. You’re so right about the getting lost thing…

  65. Getting lost is something I do and not only when struggling with my writing. I do it during my breaks at work too, I don’t know the city at all so it’s a small adventure each time, but it helps to clear my mind and to keep me sharp when I return to my desk.

    I love the chocolate cake idea! I’m definitely going to use it. Thanks 🙂

  66. I don’t really have anything profound to say here (sorry). I was going to click “like” but for some reason, WordPress wouldn’t recognize me to log in (although I’m logged in when I go to WordPress.com). Oh well!

    1. Hmmm. For that matter, it won’t let me enter an email address to follow (it says it’s not valid, but it is, I checked – three times).

      I can’t find a “follow” button either. Sometimes I hate technology!

      I will only add that I never have chocolate chips or chocolate bars on hand – because I end up eating them. So I will shamefully have to go to the store. No wait, I found M&M’s.

  67. Oh good Lord, you’ve just opened my eyes to a whole world of cakey possibilities. Who knew you could make cake in a mug? 😀 Judging by the number of comments, half the world has been waiting for this knowledge! Thank you. The only thing is, I don’t have a microwave. Which is probably just as well, or I’d be the size of a house within a week of learning this recipe.

    P.S. I love your pictures of Edinburgh. I used to live there before moving north. Isn’t it the most inspiring town?

    1. I love Edinburgh! It has so much character and I can take walks every day and see new things. But I never tire of seeing a castle when I step out my door (I live on the Royal Mile)

      1. Wow, what a perfect place to live! You realise that you don’t have much excuse for writer’s block, don’t you? 😉 (Whereas chocolate cake never needs an excuse…)

      2. Haha, indeed. I have a world of inspiration around me and believe me, I’m taking full advantage. I go on long photo walks (most of those pics go up on my travel blog So I Went to Scotland Searching for Dragons). It’s great fun and I don’t take a minute of it for granted.

  68. (First comment I’m ever leaving on WordPress! Woo!)

    Both ideas sound absolutely fantastic! Maybe I’ll need to get lost in the woods with some chocolate sometime… Hmm…

    1. Most people would pack a travel mug of coffee… but imagine a mug filled with chocolate and a long walk… I seriously don’t think life could improve much on that.

  69. I think Larry David, or some other famous, funny writer, wrote that his life consisted of looking at a piece of paper and figuring out what the hell to write. So there’s a quote.

    Also, getting lost is amazing. It’s the best way to explore any city that’s safe.

    Also, I wish I had a microwave so I could make the cake and taunt my roommates with it.

  70. Reblogged this on the birch grove and commented:
    Happy Tuesday Readers — I found this blog post on freshly pressed yesterday and instantly loved it! It’s thoughtful, funny, relatable, and yummy! So after reading this and taking her advice, I meandered to a small pond with my two dogs and saw around four hundred geese land on the water right at dusk. It was amazing! And I received good reviews on the chocolate cake from my family, plus it made the kitchen smell wonderful quite quickly.

  71. Reblogged this on the sabbatical blog and commented:
    Wow! If ever there was a perfect reason to reblog something, this is it. Not only are you told to “Get lost” — now, where have I heard that before… 😉 — but there are some lovely tips for getting unstuck while writing PLUS 5-minute chocolate cake. That’s right: FIVE MINUTE CHOCOLATE CAKE.
    Clearly I am going to try this and report back. In the meantime, enjoy!

  72. Love the blog.. i can get lost going outside (i’m bad with directions anyways) but thankfully the beach isn’t far and I’ve always found it an inspiration.

    Love the chocolate cake in a mug recipe.. I’m going to reblog that and the hints on beating writers block.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. 🙂

    1. Yes, I too find it strangely easy to get lost simply by losing my sense of direction… But you can just turn it into a good day. Who needs maps anyway?

  73. Love the name of that restaurant! XD That would satisfy two of my on-going stories: Several about unicorns and one about travelling in China!!

    Mmm, going to have to try that cake recipe. Sounds downright decadent!!

  74. My life just got a little better by reading this. My husband is always wanting me to make cake, cookies, etc., but I rarely do because there are only a few of us and it sits around forever.
    I think I’ve just found the solution!

    1. Hmm, well, can’t help with the ticket, but I will say that chocolate in the UK wins, hands down, and then there’s the European stuff… oh my word…

  75. I’ve heard so much about this 5 minute chocolate cake in a mug but I only just tried it today after reading this… I’m genuinely surprised, it was actually rather nice! I will definitely have to try and “get lost” one day too. It’s about time the camera on my phone is put to good use!

    I find I most often get writer’s block when sat in front of a computer, but if I print out my work so far and switch to a pen to scribble all over it, writer’s block almost always vanishes for me. Unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited amounts of paper to use up and I guess it would be quite wasteful haha.

    Great blog post 🙂

    1. As a baker who prides herself of making things ‘from scratch’ and taking time to make good desserts, I was extremely skeptical of these cake in a mug shenanigans I found one day, but like you, I was surprised to find it to be a real treat. Don’t knock it till you try it, I guess!

    1. sometimes writers wont feel like writing anything say it has happened in AMY LOWELS CASE.I too have felt this non doing , yes if any body can go out see the rustic climate and enthralled with a bit of fresh air come back home and feel better to work is fine.. fine .. fine,,i have seen the photos of the beautiful cottage that DYLAN THOMAS would be working it is wonderful.



  76. Oh I love the cake in a mug recipe – sadly I’m on mushy foods for six weeks post surgery! I shall keep this bookmarked so I can celebrate being allowed solid food again and (hopefully) breaking my writer’s block that seems to follow me around like a little grey thundercloud! x

    1. Feel better soon! And I hope when the time comes, the chocolate cake continues to speed your recovery 🙂

      Your writer’s block sounds like the current weather here in Scotland!

  77. Great ideas! Sadly, my neighborhood does not look half as cool as yours. You’ve seen one palm tree, you’ve seen them all.
    I am so craving chocolate cake right now…

  78. Haha, sounds like a plan if I ever heard one. I have problems getting ideas in the first place…I think thats what stops me writing mostly. I’ve gone off chocolate for Lent…oh no. This is going to be hard!

    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  79. I treat my writers blocks the same way, go for walks, eat chocolate, or read other people’s work. I take my camera with me too. I will follow your blog so we can exchange photographs. We have lovely architecture in Bellingham, Washington, but nothing like the buildings in your region.

  80. I was wary of reading this for fear of catching writer’s block or exacerbating my chocolate . . . um. . . issues, but I’m so glad I did. I like the name “Karen’s Unicorns,” too. I would like to visit there. Happy birthday to your sister, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  81. I am buying the ingredients for that seafood pasta recipe, and which I have been procrastinating on doing, first thing in the morning. Once done and cooked, I am getting back on the computer to finish my drafts. It worked for you, I hope it does on me too. So wish me luck.

  82. Excellent post! I was having my own Writer’s Black Hole moment. Now I want to try this cake in a mug thing just because I’m a chocolate fiend. Thank you!

  83. Thanks for posting! I need to get lost AND make that cake in a mug. And it’s true, there is something wrong with people who don’t like chocolate cake. My ex- husband didn’t like chocolate cake and I just KNEW it was a red flag. Should have followed my instincts!!

  84. Me too – writer’s block, chocolate, getting lost – it all segues together beautifully
    we write, we get stuck, we eat/bake/dream – we can write again
    V much enjoyed

  85. Now why did I come across this wonderful simple recipe on the day I have given up chocolate for Lent? 😦

  86. Oh I loved this! So true…nothing beats a good walk outdoors to clear the head. Here’s what also works for me: a hot shower, listening to music, cooking, folding clothes, peanut butter on half an English muffin. The chocolate sounds delightful!

    1. I usually put music on while I take my walks. I love the sensation of being transported out of the noise and bustle of this world and into my own world of beauty and imagination and music. It’s an incredible feeling.

  87. I love the ‘getting lost’ technique. Although I live in quite a built-up area, if you walk long enough you can get onto the Green Chain Walk and follow that, which is the ‘scenic route’. A while back I went on a walk with the intention to “Walk until I got thoroughly lost and/or thoroughly inspired, and then to get un-lost but preferably not uninspired.”

    It worked, I think.

    Also, I see from your little bio that you’re into all things Celtic – that’s something we’ve got in common! I’m a massive fan of Celtic mythology too, and it manages to work its way into pretty much everything I write.

    1. I love Celtic things so much that I flew three thousand miles to study it for a Master’s degree! I am currently learning to translate medieval Welsh texts and also picked up a little bit of conversational Gaelic while I was at it. The music in the pubs around here is unbelievable… So yes, all things Celtic make me happy!

      My novel-in-the-works called ‘Danni’ actually involves a contemporary, young adult reinterpretation of fairy-lore and the Otherworld.

      1. Wow! I want to study ballet, but if I don’t get past the audition I’m very tempted to study Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic (all one course) – it’s the language, the literature, and the mythology, and sounds FASCINATING.

        I’ve written quite a few novels (not published, yet) based around Celtic mythology, and I read far too many of them too. Kate Thompson’s “The New Policeman” is all about the sidhe and stuff, and though it’s really aimed at people younger than me, I love it! It was a massive influence on me, as were Maggie Stiefvater’s “Lament” and “Ballad”. Not to MENTION Stephen Lawhead’s Song of Albion trilogy… 🙂

      2. My first Master’s thesis was on an exploration of possible Anglo Saxon and Celtic influences on Arthurian legends. I felt like I was cheating somehow by having so much fun with my research. Still kinda do…

        The Song of Albion trilogy changed. my. life. No question. It is actually one of the reasons I began looking more into Celtic studies in the first place. I reread those books (especially the first one) over and over and over!

  88. I too am new to the blogging world and writing in general, I am trying to write everyday but life gets in the way especially on the weekend. I loved this blog post and will definately try these tips especially the chocolate cake.

    1. When I first started blogging, I thought it was the hardest thing to keep up with. What am I supposed to SAY? But the more I do it, the more I love it. It’s a great form of creative expression, it’s good fun sharing your thoughts with others, and, best of all, it forces you to write, write, write!

      Plus, you have the excuse that you need chocolate cake to feed your writer’s soul!

  89. Great blog, fully appreciated here! Chocolate cake definitely helped me finish my book and holidays and the outdoors definitely inspired me! I even finished my book on holiday in Thailand! If you’re interested in reading some of my stuff, I’m blogging my current WIP “In That Other Dimension” as I go along, and my account of Thailand is also shared through my blog!

    PS – melted galaxy is the winning finishing touch for any chocolate cake. in my opinion anyway 🙂

  90. Great post, I love looking outwards for inspiration, may have to eat the cake and then walk it off though!

    1. I have begun to realize that my post is quite ill timed for those who are giving up sugar for Lent. I am sorry, but just think of how rewarding it will be after Easter when all that chocolate candy can be melted into a mug of cake! 🙂

  91. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:
    A fellow blogger offered some ideas on how to beat the blog monster, that terrible creature called “writer’s block.”

    It is funny and witty. And the idea of chocolate cake in a cup is fascinating.

    I hope ya’ll enjoy as much as I did.


  92. Chocolate cake in mug? Awesome idea! I’ll have to try it out sometimes when I can’t think of anything to continue my novel with. Thanks!

  93. Interesting to find this on Freshly Pressed right after posting about having the dreaded writer’s block beast on my back. It’s weird when you have ideas, but don’t really feel like there’s anything to put together at the moment.

    I really need to find a muse. I think I just wrote to continue to have something on my blog, just so I don’t stop writing.

    The chocolate cake sounds good, though – I may have to try it. And your suggestions for taming the beast, too.

    Thanks for the ideas.

    My 2 yen,


  94. Absolutely loved this! Happen to have tried your technique today and went for a walk. Though I forgot my camera, did appreciate the beauty that surrounded me. Once home, followed through with your tip and created the magnificant chocolate cake mug and was even productive while it baked – two and a half solid minutes of good dog belly rubs. Thanks so much for this wonderful post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    1. Ah, yet another soothing activity, rubbing a loving pet’s tummy. Watching the pure joy on their little faces is a delight and an encouragement.

      Pets are right up there with chocolate among the best things in creation.

  95. I just made four servings of this. It was so easy, the mess was very contained, and it solved the “kids helping to bake” squabbles. Each kid made theirs. Plus, it’s portion controlled and quick for when you just want a little something.

    1. What a great way to utilize it! I always wanted an EasyBake oven when I was a kid because the power of baking was just so amazing to me and I loved making gourmet little treats. This really is a kid friendly project and not having to share is something that I, as one of six, can truly appreciate.

  96. And to think that back in the nineties, my microwaved Procrastination Peach Cake In A Bowl was a secret guilty pleasure. Thank you for liberating the five-minute Inspirational Dessert For One from the halls of shame!

    1. Unbelievable beach photo right at the top of your blog, Vida! It’s freezing cold, windy, and gray here and I just wanted to dive through the screen into that image. Lovely.

      1. Why, thank you. 🙂 I like going to the beach a lot. I live in the Philippines – this place is made of more than 7000 islands. If you check my blog often enough, you’ll be sure to see more of that. 🙂

    1. You know, I feel like if you packed up the ingredients into little containers and made it in the office, you would be the envy of every single one of your coworkers. I may try that one day… of course, that would require me to have a ‘real job’.

  97. I love your post! You are truly a good writer! I had to chuckle. Then I realised there was a chocolate mug cake recipe and now I want it! lol

    I do have one question though. Am I the only one who doesn’t go outside when I have writer’s block? I would love to go outside, weather permitting, but I hate going alone and no one is available, so I just stay inside. I can’t go for a drive because I am one of those annoying people who has to have a destination when I drive. And I broke my camera. ^^;

    Usually, I just stay inside and listen to music, be it the radio or my iPod. I tend to make up stories to go with the lyrics of the songs, but only if I hear them over and over again. lol

    . . . I still want chocolate mug cake. . .but I made chocolate chip cookies last night. . .Hmmm. . .

    1. I never used to go outside when i was back in the States. I was a homebody and that seemed to work. But now that I’ve gotten used to walking everywhere in this city, I have grown to not only love it, but need it. But like I said, different methods work for different people, so a solitary walk just might not be what you need.

      I, too, listen to music while I write and it tends to feed my inspiration. I LOVE ‘trailer music’ – songs by groups like Immediate and Two Steps From Hell which are super intense, soaring tracks that you hear in movie previews.

      Why not try listening to music WHILE you take a walk? That way, you get that bit of inspiration from the music that you enjoy while also trying out the walking bit. I don’t know if I’d love walking as much as I do if I didn’t have music playing the whole time. It’s like my life has a soundtrack!

      1. I wouldn’t mind the walk with my iPod; there were times I was all set to go, but we don’t really have side walks where I live.

        I love the music that sounds like the movie intros. 🙂 I think I have some of that some where. lol My life is my iPod on shuffle. My song, In My World by Avril Lavigne. ;p

  98. I agree that you have to get away from your work–but why not try writing an entirely different thing altogether? Creating new worlds sometimes leads to shortcuts to the same destination.

    1. Sometimes that’s exactly what I do. I’m struggling once again on that pesky chapter of my novel that refuses to just give in and write itself when suddenly a scene or a person or a bit of dialogue drifts through my head. I think, ‘That doesn’t belong in this story…’ But then I realize that it belongs in a new one that needs to be written down! Some of my favorite short stories (like ‘Silence’ in our Fall 2011 e-zine issue) have happened that way.

  99. Thank you for the photography idea. I’m not one to usually take pictures, but that would be a different way to be inspired for sure. I finally got a schedule that allows me writing time, and I’m wasting it away b/c I just can’t get into it. Thanks again, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

    1. Please do! I love hearing if my favorite activities have become a help to others. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

      Photography is something I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with. I bought an expensive camera to take with me to Scotland, but even before then, I realized that I loved taking pictures and being the photographer of a group. It becomes a wonderful game of Find The Beauty In Your World. Now, I can never go back! 🙂

  100. Oh lordy! That chocolate MUG CAKE sounds (and looks) AMAZING. I crave chocolate cake all the time… I think I’ve found my solution for every single time it happens!

    Great post 🙂

  101. Reblogged this on Coffee Meets Cocoa and commented:
    Since I started using WordPress to blog I began to enjoy perusing the “Freshly Pressed” daily blog selection. Yesterday one blogger and real-life writer shared her recipes for an easy, quick “brownie in a mug” to help stimulate creativity, provide respite, and beat writers block. Her recipe looks good to me and after 7 months of living and breathing cocoa facts and chocolate processes I look out for new chocolate uses and recipes all the time. So, enjoy and let me know how the recipe works out for you!

  102. am very new in blogging…but surely this has caught my attention as am a big chocolate freak…..true many time we get stuck with a pen and a plan paper with lot of things running through our mind but cant find suitable word to fit in and thats when we want some inspiration and nothing can beat what we get from having a cup of chocolate 😀

  103. I’ve never considered either of those options when dealing with writer’s block before… Worth a try! and you can never go wrong with anything that contains chocolate 🙂
    Lovely blog 🙂


  104. Haha, get lost. That’s quite true I guess. Most of the time when I’m stuck in front of the monitor screen, I get out of my apartment late at night and the next thing that I remembered is that I already finished an essay. It’s too long that I fell asleep when I’m only reading the second paragraph.

  105. I’m so glad I found your Freshly Pressed blog! Thanks for the recipe – you never know when you might need a quick chocolate fix!

  106. Reblogged this on Integrative Thought and commented:
    I just got finished reading this blog about writer’s block and chocolate…and I wanted to share it with you…even if you are not a writer, you have to read…you understand when you read it…enjoy…and try it…I am going to have to at some point…just saying…

  107. What’s better than some inspiration and a recipe for chocolate cake?! Nothing else I’ve read today, that’s for sure. Thanks for taking the time to combine two of my favorite things into your blog 🙂 Time for me to go buy some cocoa powder (yes I know, shame on me) and see what inspires me on the way!

  108. I was just going through this the other day> My best writing/blogging ideas come from not being anywhere remotely near my computer. My latest idea came while taking a stroll through the city. I love myself some adventures, the only problem with me is that I better be carrying a notebook to write it all down in, I forget things easily.

    FP woo! 🙂

  109. This was great! I’m 15 and have written two books so far and it took me 2 years (mind you i am doing GCSEs and i have a social life too, but hey). Writer’s block was a pain in the butt, so now i can have a genuine excuse to eat cake and conquer the block! Thanks x

  110. Well, I have given up chocolate for Lent, but love the encouragement. I have 4 kids, ages 6 and under, a dog, a cat, a job online, homeschool part time, and a semblance of a social life. With all that being said, I love to write but hard to find the time or the freedom of my mind to think about something other than kid stuff. ANYway, thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Wow! Busy life indeed! As a homeschooled kid, I can appreciate what a mom does to keep a household running AND make sure that her hooligan offspring are actually getting their work done. Luckily for my mom, I’m the academic and I actually enjoyed learning, though I can’t say the same for my four brothers or my sister!

      Sounds like a little solitary wandering would do you some good if you can find someone to watch the kids! And just save some Easter candy to toss in the cake after Lent! 😉

      1. Hey Melissa, just discovered this post on the wordpress home page. Really like your ideas for busting writer’s block, I tend to get it a lot! And seeing your comment about being a homeschool kid makes it even better, because I’m homeschooled too. And of course any post that includes chocolate is a good post indeed. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff!

      2. Glad to have the company of someone in the homeschooling world! I was not homeschooled myself, so it’s a great experiment in our household. 🙂

        Luckily, I do carve time to run and then at times can let my mind wander. Although it seems to still just wander back to my mental to-do list and goals, instead of actual story ideas. It just seems like creativity has no place in my life, beyond finger paint of course! 🙂

      3. 1uniqueteen, homeschoolers will one day rule the world, so be proud that you are part of such a group of awesomeness.

        myjoyfortoday, my mother did the same thing with the grand experiment since she was not homeschooled either. Luckily she never had to deal with more than four of us at a time (one would go off to college at about the time that another was starting kindergarten). But we’ve all turned out decently well, so I guess it was a successful experiment. Glad you are getting time to escape from the crazy for a bit yourself. Best of luck!

  111. Thanks for the tips. I don’t necessarily consider myself a ‘writer’ yet but I certainly need something to get me in the right mindset to blog. I think of lots of things to write about but when I sit down to actually write it I’m not in the same frame of mind.

    1. A writer is someone who writes, so you’re off to a pretty promising start by blogging. I remember being really frustrated for the first few months with coming up with ideas, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed the catharsis of blogging. It’s a great way to get a feel for your voice and explore your ideas with some feedback along the way.

  112. GREAT blog! I love your idea of getting lost; what a perfect way to trigger the imagination! I also like the idea of bringing a camera. Sometimes we don’t really see things unless we’re truly looking for them… And the chocolate cake? That’s just dangerous!

    1. But, see, if you take a walk you have EARNED the cake! 😀

      Photography has been a great way for me to learn to appreciate both the grand and the small beauties in life.

    1. My favorite Hershey’s candy ever! GREAT choice! Now I’m wondering what would happen if you added some chunks of oreo cookie… this might need to be tested…

  113. Cake in a mug!!!! Absolute genius ha ha. I will definitely be trying that one out, thanks for the tip. I enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing. Writers block is such a pain, I intend to employ your tips to help relieve it!

  114. nice one!
    I thought I’m only one who do this whenever experience mind block…or sentiment..
    I mean when you got block your mind…
    but instead of making chocolate cake,
    I make hot chocolate with matching music….

    hmmm.. I’m newly in blogging and I don’t think you would like my blog,
    But I recommend you to visit my blog at mylastpen.wordpress.com

  115. Reblogged this on Manjree's Blog and commented:
    So I’m currently on a detox diet of fruits and soup for a few days and needless to say, this delicious post heightened my cravings for chocolate to feverish heights! Don’t forget to try out the chocolately Mug Cake recipe and share a bite with me…it’s only polite!

  116. Getting lost is a great idea. Similarly, just turning down that street we usually go past has a similar feeling – finding a new perspective, using our senses to see and hear and smell, rather than just living on auto-pilot! This is the great thing about travel – being in the constant state of discovery.

  117. Looking at the photos I thought you might be in beautiful Edinburgh, and reading the comments I saw that I was right. By Random Happenstance I just drafted a post at my blog http://www.unnecessarywords.com that involves both the great city of Edinburgh and my personal favourite cure for writers block. It should be up tonight, I’d love you to come check it out.

  118. Excellent post, it’s all things that we know but sometimes we need that push to get out the door when we know deadlines are calling us. As for the cake…don’t divide the egg in half, simply make two batches. Cook one and save other one in the fridge for tomorrow…or freeze it to use another day.

  119. This is excellent advice!:) Knowing myself though, I’d probably get stuck at the hot chocolate part and totally forget what I was doing in the first place….nice post!:)

  120. This post is truly genius, especially the chocolate part. I tried these tips myself the other night and they work, (not to mention they are fun!). Thanks!

  121. Can’t wait to try that chocolate cake. I’m not a baker but that looks easy enough to make and I happen to have all the ingredients. Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  122. I took my iTouch and my family (not necessarily in that order) to the Corning Museum of Glass and found it a great topic to blog about. But, that still did not take away the fact that I have two articles to write this week. And I MUST try that cake. Then I can blog about going to the gym to work it off! : )

  123. Great advice! I’m a writer and an artist, and the creativity block definitely strikes both. I love getting lost or even going to new places to get the creativity flowing again.

    I love your cake in a mug recipe! However, since I can’t eat gluten, milk, or eggs, I made a few adjustments (gluten free flour, almond milk, and egg replacement, of the same measurements), and it still tasted great! Thank you for sharing, this will definitely get me working again. ^_^

  124. Thanks for the awesome tips! I find that “getting lost” helps to squash frustration and find motivation for any task – whether it’s writing, blogging, or cleaning house 😀 I will have to try the cake recipe. What’s not to love about warm, gooey, melty chocolate wrapped in fudgy cake?

  125. What an awesome combination! Never thought to jumpstart my writing with chocolate, but love it:) Also, my hormonal teenage daughter benefitted from the recipe….from which we all benefittted! Thanks.

  126. I’ve heard of omelets in a mug, but not cake in a mug. But why not?

    BTW, what would happen if you used a whole egg instead of just half the egg?

  127. I’ve not tried making the cake, but it does sound yummy. Has anyone tried it with a whole egg (instead of the half-egg)?

    1. I don’t think I ever did it with a whole egg, but you could always save the half egg in a little tupperware container for another mug cake another day! Since there really aren’t a lot of ingredients going into it to waste, it’s worth experimenting. I think the texture would be a little wetter.

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