Tag Archives: writer’s block

Conquering Writer’s Block (Without Your Head Falling Off)

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?

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Next!

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?

Creativity Blocks,Distractions and Oh, What Was That Other Thing Again?

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Steven Wright and I share a birthday in December and I just love that he sent me this last month. PS this has bugger all to do with this post.

I read a wonderful post on blocks to creativity just this week, which I subsequently posted to my Facebook page. Should you go there to read it, why not LIKE my page while you’re there? I promise to only appear in your news feed once a day and never try to sell you any books in a way that you’ll be able to notice. Okay? Lovely.

As I was saying about the creative blocks/being easily distracted/procrastination thing… After reading this marvelous post I began thinking about how I put off trying to be a writer for so many years and that yes, the reason is I have been a victim. I don’t mean someone fuffed me in the pie-hole with a duster and ran off with my copy of Woman & Home Magazine in some facepolish-and-grab incident. I mean I have been a victim of that old murderer of creativity – perfection.

I’m going to be honest here. I have stopped mid sentence in new books by other authors and skipped to the ending wondering where all this nonsense was leading, only to find I couldn’t care less if Sissy Burans grew up hating the fact that her name is an anagram of Sainsbury’s but it all ends well because she meets the man of her dreams there in the cheese and cream aisle. I’ve thrown books down in disgust and thought how much better I could do. I’ve done it for years and years. And yes, I’ve followed these thoughts up by actually putting pencil to paper and spilling my brains on the page, only to find the prose I told myself would be fine wine was just plain old juice. And not even nice juice. It was sour, cranberry juice – the stuff that nobody drinks unless they have a bladder infection. Apt because I had that burning desire to write and then, after having read my first few paragraphs of cranberry juice-esque ramblings, the burning was gone.

I’ve started writing what in my head was Jayne Eyre and ended up with Jane Eerie. I wanted to call my current novel about a woman who marries a porn addict, ‘The Secret Life of B’s’. I’ve written clangers worthy of a whole episode of ‘It’ll Be Alright on the Rewrite’.  (That, by the way, should be a writer’s Twitter hashtag). Corkers like: ‘His contorted mouth said nothing, but his eyes begged me to get him and his erection out of here now’. Oh yes, this line IS on my cutting room floor. I’m so ashamed… and yet comedically proud at the same time. 🙂

Finally, in my forty-first year of life I got the courage to keep going, writing a novel to completion. Then I shared it with a few trusted friends and family members, feeling sick at the thought of letting my little lamb go out to play with the other children. And as the feedback trickled in, perfection began to attack me again. It tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me I wasn’t good enough. Which is just as well because it wasn’t and as a matter of fact, the first draft NEVER is. For me, the second and third wasn’t either.

The real magic happens in the rewrites. You have to let your creativity run round the garden naked in front of a select few neighbours if you want to be a writer or creator of anything good. Perfection is still trying to attack me all the time, but persistence is my taser gun of choice these days. I won’t give up like I did ten years ago. I know I will keep writing, I will keep creating because it’s what I’m compelled to do. I’m currently on the first draft of book two and I’m not stopping to edit until all that cranberry juice is out on the table. But at least it won’t hurt when I break for a wee.

If the old me sounds like the current you, let it all flow. Write for pity’s sake!

And so, unpublished know-it-all writer that I am, I leave you with one thought: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ It isn’t my own thought because I was afraid mine wasn’t perfect enough for the occasion. 😉  Now, get back to writing your next bunch of #It’llbealrightontherewrite clangers.

Ohhh, I forgot to say something about being easily distracted…

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