I have previously tried to analyse what writer’s block actually is:
and now it’s time to share some of my top tips for dealing with it. No matter whether it lasts for an afternoon or a year (or longer) writer’s block is painful, debilitating, numbing and horribly frustrating. Where does it come from? Where does it go? It seems to arrive like the wind, out of nowhere, and to disappear equally mysteriously. Whatever your particular brand of writer’s block, some of these may help:
- Set an alarm and write for 10 minutes without thinking, revising or stopping. Any old junk that comes into your head is fine. Don’t even worry about sentences.
- Sign up to writing prompts such as writerswrite.co.za
- Describe what you can see from your window. I can see a quiet street with several vehicles parked, one of which has ‘Integrated Building Solutions’ on the side. I might choose to write about what the hell that means and why everything is a ‘solution’ nowadays instead of saying exactly what it is ie ‘builders.’
- Go through old notebooks for any ideas you can harvest. If you haven’t got any notebooks go out and buy one; there’s nothing like a new notebook for stimulating ideas.
- Take one item on your desk and write about its history. At this moment apart from a laptop, I have two digestive biscuits on my desk. I could, if I chose, write one of those stories they used to give us at school – The Life-Cycle of the Chocolate Digestive (‘I was made in a factory from flour and sugar…)
- Do something else. Dig the garden, go for a walk, do the washing-up. The unconscious mind will keep working while the conscious mind is occupied with something else
- If all these ideas bore you to tears, recognise that sometimes boredom is necessary and, like land lying fallow, can prove fertile ground for new seeds.