Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Writer's Block

What is writer's block?

Can't write, won't write? Writer's Block happens to everyone at some stage in their writing career. It has its roots based in fear, the I'm not good enough to write fear; the why on earth would anybody want to read what I've written; or I've written so much the vessel is empty - nothing left, all gone - I know NOTHING. Of course one can always write something; for example there is the writer's journal - forget about fiction for a few days - FORBID yourself to touch a drop of the fantasy stuff. You are only allowed to keep a journal - about anything and everything - what time the postman put the letters through the door - how he did that - shoved them in without care or rang the bell and said, 'Good morning, this package won't fit through the letterbox'. Try writing about the mundane stuff for a while - your imagination will soon be screaming for relief - TAKE ME AWAY FROM HERE, QUICK!

Of course there is another type of Writer's Block and this one is more worrying. It's the, I've got loads to say but no time to say it in. This is a sort of Writer's Block, it is linked to procrastination or that psychological word that means doing anything but writing: deflecting. The washing up, telephone calls, hoovering (yuk), sorting, filing, emptying bins. This sort of block is a little more worrying and it tends to happen to people without routine in their lives. For example, I know a published author who religiously sits at her desk everyday from 10am-2pm without fail - oh the green-eyed=monster just quipped: 'Well it's alright for her, she doesn't have to work.' It's true she doesn't have to go out to work but she does work, very hard everyday at her desk refusing to move until something is written on the page. And unfortunately there is no magic wand that will take those words in your head and get them down on the page without your help. You have to find some time and just sit there and write - even if it is on the train or bus on the way to work and back - that's a couple of hours a day, ten hours a week, forty hours a month and precisely five hundred twenty hours a year - which brings me to my next question: How long does it take to write a novel?