There you are, pen in hand – fingers posed over keyboard – ready to write. And….nothing.
It would be a cliché if it didn’t happen to every writer, sooner or later. It’s especially a problem in the profession. Publishers get antsy if authors are late.
My advice, after several decades in the business, is not to batter your head into a brick wall. Work the problem.
I have a two-step approach.
1. Look at the issue laterally. Why are you stuck? Have you no ideas at all? Have you dried up on a phrase but have the ideas in your head? Or do you have an idea in your head and simply cannot find a way of expressing it? These are the usual causes of what we call ‘writers block’. They demand different fixes. Are you short of ideas? Often writers have notebooks with ideas. But don’t just read any notes you have. Write them down again, fresh. Or, if you’re stuck on a phrase, write down the lead-up to it in a different way. Use pen and paper, not your computer. This is important, because it changes the framework of what you are writing with – and so, re-shapes your writing thoughts.
2. Now go away and do something else for twenty minutes – go for a walk, dig the garden, do the dishes, change the oil in the car. Something utterly different from writing. Do not, repeat NOT, think about your writing problem. But – equally – don’t get caught up too far in the new thing. That’s important too.
Then get back to your computer and watch what happens.
Did it work? Do you have a favourite technique for escaping that oft mis-named ‘writers block’?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014