So, you sit down to write the next part of your novel. You have everything ready; laptop, cup of coffee, biscuit… that’s about all you need. You are comfortable, calm, eager, fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to go. And what happens?
It’s probably because your feet are cold. Cold feet are notoriously distracting. Go get a warmer pair of socks.
So you run upstairs, rummage through a drawer, pull some socks on, run downstairs. Right. Sit down. Let’s go.
A sip of coffee might help. And that biscuit. You wipe the last crumbs from your mouth and stare at the screen in front of you. Okay, here we go…
Maybe another biscuit would help.
You go to the kitchen cupboard, take out another biscuit, eat it before you have even made it back to your laptop, spin round, head back to the kitchen, get a replacement biscuit, walk back to your desk. Right. Get on with it now. Fingers over keys and….
I only have a couple of tricks to try and combat writers’ block, and to be honest neither of them has been very successful, but they’re worth sharing because they are solid theories that I’m convinced should work. The first one I usually try is to tell myself that it doesn’t matter what I write because it can always be re-written later, so I just need to write something, anything, just to get the creative juices flowing (I usually end up writing a couple of lines of gibberish and then delete them, knowing perfectly well they’re not good enough).
The second one I try is ‘the race’. Right, you have five minutes to write two hundred words. It’s an exam. When the clock says nine-fifteen there need to be two hundred words on the page or you have failed. And the time starts…NOW! Go, go, go!
Time is running out! Think of it like an exam! You’re going to fail! Write something!
Agh! Okay. Andy. No, delete that. James? Rory? Alex? That’s it, Alex. Alex was a small round strange clever man with a love of numbers women poodles hats. He had all kinds of hats; red, blue, green, yellow, brown…
Okay, delete all that, because now I’m just listing colours and starting to feel quite stressed.
As I watch the minutes ticking by the calm enthusiasm with which I approached my writing is gradually replaced by frustration. But what can you do? I’m sure there’s lots of advice out there on how to deal with writers’ block (brainstorming, meditation, banging your head against the desk), but I have come to the conclusion it just goes with the territory. If you want to write it’s going to happen, whether you like it or not. You just have to suffer it, have faith it will pass, and wait for as long as it takes. What else can you do?
But in the meantime, there’s always more biscuits….
Maria's book, From The Kitchen of Half Truth, is out this month and we will be reviewing it soon.
Maria Goodin's Website