One of the questions posed on my Goodreads author page, was ‘how do you conquer writer’s block?’ I said I didn’t believe in it. I said, ‘just push through. Keep writing. Write anything, even if it’s drivel.’
I think the best thing you can do is allow yourself to write nonsense and all of a sudden, breakthrough occurs. Simply put: speed write.
I must just point out that speed writing isn’t anything at all to do with drugs. No, that’s called ‘I’m going to prison now writing.’ Speed writing is where you simply blast out all your thoughts in one long, stream of conscious flurry not stopping to worry at all that you might be writing garbage. And yes, you’ve guessed it; this blog post is a speed writing exercise. Thank you for noticing. And look out, it may be somewhat unpredictable. One minute, I can be telling you something and then (oh look, a new pencil that needs sharpening) I can go off at a tangent because, wow, (my nails need biting some more, hold on a sec), my brain is off the charts odd.
But I believe this is an incredibly effective way to break what you perceive to be your writer’s block and using your blog to do so is the perfect place. This is where I put all my lesser edited, stream of conscious writing, so it’s perfect. But I do think writer’s block is your perfection obsessed self simply stalling you. Stop it and write!
Having said that, I have become a bit of a new-age hippy lately and taken up meditating. But not before I spent an age trying to teach myself how by searching for YouTube videos for guidance and practice. I’ve tried listening to and watching so many bizarre things on there, but keep finding myself side-tracked by my own, zany thought processes that don’t ever seem to switch off when I’m watching or listening to someone else.
‘Now,’ says meditation guru number one. ‘Imagine your whole body is loose and limp.’
I sink down into my pillow, not being able to help imagining I’ve fallen off the top of a tall building and everything is broken. Hmmm, this might not be good…
‘Imagine your hands are loose at the end of your arms.’ What? Like coming off, loose?
‘And your head is loose on the end of your neck.’
Holy hell, now I’m decapitated. Next!
Then there was the ‘ASMR Ear To Ear Whispering’ video, where I plugged in my earphones and listened to a young woman ‘awakening my creative self within’ by leaning in to whisper ‘you are wonderful. You are creative,’ into each of my ears at a time.
‘Ah, what a lovely, hypnotic voice,’ I thought. ‘This could work.’ Only, WAIT! Is that a penis under the chin of the sun behind her?
The soft, male voice on my little free meditation app says, ‘imagine yourself on a beautiful, tropical beach.’
Ah, this is better. Yes please.
‘Now, you see a small rowing boat on the horizon and it’s heading towards you.’
I really hope it’s Gerard Butler with a case of champagne, wearing a thong. Do they make thongs for champagne cases?
‘When the boat reaches you, you climb aboard and sail away.’
Oh, Gerard Butler is wearing the thong. Okay, now I’m really not relaxed.
‘And then you come to a small, uninhabited island and disembark. Then the boat leaves.’
What the…? Gerard has left me marooned on a deserted island! How is this helping again? *panic panic*
So you see, I can’t do it… the whole ‘switch off your mind and relax’ thing. Even downloading the famous Paul McKenna’s app for my mobile phone didn’t work:
‘Do not listen to this tape whilst driving or operating machinery.’ (Puts down the chainsaw) ‘Wait for a time when you won’t be disturbed. Get into a comfortable position and switch off your phone.’
Okay done. Why has he stopped talking…?
So now I simply sit in silence for ten minutes twice a day and empty my thoughts to only focus on my personal mantra. Which I cannot tell you, as it is very personal; but I can reveal that I changed it from ‘I am’ to stop my mind wandering further as I attempted to finish the sentence with a comedy retort.
‘I am… probably asleep.’
‘I am… missing Coronation Street.’
How have you conquered writer’s block?