Monday, 30 May 2011

The Dreaded Block.

imagesCAO7951USo it’s been a while, eh, blogosphere? Much as I would like to blame my busy and exciting lifestyle (which would be sort of true, given that I haven’t had a proper lay-in in, oooohhh, a month?) it wouldn’t be wholly correct.

Confession time: I think I may have writer’s block.

Now that’s not exactly shameful. Not like kicking puppies or stealing sweets (neither of which I condone. Obviously). But it is really hard for me to admit because until now I never believed in writer’s block. I was pretty vocal about it too:

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Just write. If you feel blocked write your way through it. Anything else is laziness.”

Oh the naivety. Also, what an annoying git I sounded – why did no one smack me upside the head??

Whether it’s flash fiction, short stories or novels, it always takes me a while to get into the story. The first 100 – 5,000 words are never great. It’s like wearing in a new pair of shoes. I start by feeling my way, then once it’s comfy I can go back with a new awareness of what I’m doing and tighten up (or scrap!) those first words. But with this new story I’m suffering The Curse of the Second Album. The first novel flowed, I could think of nothing else, I enjoyed every word, half the time I couldn’t type quick enough. I was really proud of it in the end.

But now… I had a big writing sesh, saw the problems and stopped to regroup. Only instead of regrouping in came the doubts. Could I really churn out another 100,000 words of coherent plot and character? The ideas evaporated or just couldn’t be heard anymore. And the truth? Haven’t touched Novel Number 2 for a month.


I thought writer’s block was a lack of ideas and I’ve been there before – how do I get out of this corner? What happens now? What is she going to say to that? And yes, writing can get you out of that because it gets you thinking. Turns out that I was wrong though, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Writer’s block is fear. It’s the fear of not being able to do it again, not being good enough, it’s the fear of having no ideas.

But I still think I was right. The solution to any writing based problem is to WRITE MORE. Yes, the first 100 – 1,000 – 5,000 words will probably suck but there’s no other way to shift the block, to clear away the debris and come up shiny and new again. The beauty of writing is that you don’t have to stick with what you got the first time round, you can change, polish, rearrange. No one has to see your purple prose!

So now I’m going to take my own advice. In between the weddings, the cinema, the BBQs, I will be writing. Fear be damned!

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