My advice for writers dealing with so-called 'Writers' Block'.
I was going to write a piece about smoking for this post, given that cigarettes play something of a prominent role both in my debut novel, Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good, and its sequel, Nancy Boy: for one year only…
… but then I wasn’t quite sure of what just what I wanted to say about them, about cigarettes, at least this time around, other than the fact they’re bad for you, and you possibly already know that…
And so, this time around, I’d simply like to offer my opinion on that old authors’ bugaboo: ‘writers’ block’ – I can hear it all: ‘’Been done! Boring. The irony: Chris is writing about writers’ block because he’s totally uninspired – Tell us something about cigarettes!’
And you may well be right. For, at the end of the day, all I would like to say about it – well, there’s a clue in the above paragraph, where you’ll notice I placed my first mention of the ‘ailment’ in parenthesis, as I’ve just done again, there, with ‘ailment’. Why? Because there’s no such thing as ‘writers’ block’, but a mere whim amongst authors, an attention-seeker – How I suffer for my art, I was a genius, and now I’m a fraud!
But I’ll always have my writers’ block to fall back on – the ignorant masses: the non-authors; those out there doing real work, they’ll buy it, ’work a charm.
And so it goes, as somebody once said.
‘What, then, Chris, might we attribute to the state of being uninspired?’
In a word: fatigue. In another: tiredness. Mental exhaustion.
Prescription: go and do something else – a change is as good as a rest!
‘And for how long?’
As long as required – how long is a piece of string?
Creativity is a product of the subconscious, perpetually formulating your art whilst ever you, the author, are engaged in other activities – like taking your kids to school, or playing badminton on Thursday, each activity fuelling the mind. Save that, on some days, trying to force it, the creative process, before it’s ripe, can have the adverse effect…
I won’t go on, but to say that this has been my experience since I’ve been putting pen to paper, particularly with the above novels.
But here’s what inspired this post, thus confirming my philosophy: earlier today, amid my basking in another day away from the pen, as has been the case for last few days, I was lying in the bath whilst my beautiful other half sat on the side of it. We were chatting about how we’d arrived where we are today, via many an adventure and misadventure, I’m happy to say – I wouldn’t have had it any other way; for swords evolve into pens if you survive.
Anyhow, what evolved from this conversation was my mental formulation of a novel I’m in the process of writing.
How about that! It’s just a case of getting it down now, that’s all. Which will be when it so wishes to.
In the meantime, if you are an author, I hope this post has given you a better sense of perspective – or that you’ll at least give it a thought when it just isn’t happening for you.
pic, courtesy of pixabay