So, when people mail me asking for advice and/or guidance, what I tend to do is to be either as supportive as I can or point them in the direction of the seemingly endless websites, blogs or even perish the thought, books (old school I know, but I am old) concerned with the world of penmanship. That way, I can’t be blamed if it all goes horribly wrong. There is however, one exception.
You see when it comes to writing, there is one topic which is guaranteed to get me going and that is the thorny subject of writers block.
Wikipedia defines writers block thus: a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand or, at the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.
Well I’m sorry, but I’ve written a lot over the years and with 15 books on my backlist as well as three features on IMDB, I feel reasonably qualified to comment on this subject and say that as far as I’m concerned, writers block is bollocks. It’s merely a term invented by writers as an excuse behind which they are able to hide.
So with that in mind, if there is anyone reading this who actually thinks that they are ‘suffering’ please take note of the following:
- Not being able to sit down and write is not writers block, it is called laziness. So either man up and get on with it or give up altogether and do something else.
- Not being able to get past a blank screen or empty page is not writers block, it means you are devoid of ideas. So either get off your arse and get out into the real world for a while to find some inspiration or forget the idea of writing and find another hobby.
- Not being able to get over a hurdle in your plot is not writers block, it means that either your idea doesn’t work or you’re simply not clever enough to make it work. So again, either find a way to get over it or give up on it and start afresh.
- Thinking that what you’re currently writing is inferior to your previous work is not writers block, it means that it probably is. So trust your own judgement, bin the lot and start again rather than flogging yourself to death.
I could go on, but you get the general idea.
Now I’m not saying people don’t get stuck and to be honest, I’ve hit an obstacle in pretty much everything I’ve ever written. But for me, dealing with problems is part of the creative process and in many ways, one of the most exciting. Not least because it forces you to look at your work from a totally different perspective and in my experience that’s always a good thing for a writer because it’s often where the best ideas are lurking.
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