I’d like to stress that it is important, maybe even vital, that a writer in any area, of any form and of any calibre, recognises and accepts that no matter how much the writer thinks he/she knows, there is always something else to learn, something waiting around the corner of the literary consciousness to trip him/her up, then lending a helping hand and a valuable, even priceless, lesson. That best-selling novelist has been tripped up so many times, he is agile and deft in his creations. The child? If she’s lucky, she has it all to come…
Some Do’s & Don’ts Concerning Writer’s Block
No writer has escaped writer’s block. Especially at an early stage on the writer’s journey, it can be a worrying thing to be faced with. But the key is to not let it get to you. The bottom line? Writing is easy. Writing well is not. It’s not supposed to be and if it was, there would be an even greater mass of best-sellers in the world (and there already seems to be an overwhelming amount). But don’t panic. Though the page stares back at you defiantly white, if the urge in you to write is strong enough and you’re willing to put yourself in the way of ideas and inspiration, that page won’t stay blank for long.
DON’T expect ideas to come to you
I’m going through a bit of a dry spell at the moment. Never mind, the ideas will come to me eventually. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this sort of thing to myself and to others. Those words are dangerous: they’re steeped in laziness and presumption. They’re unrealistic and they can easily lead you into a cycle of creative occasions. I’ve learnt from experience that this attitude doesn’t get you anywhere. What you’re ultimately aiming for is consistency; some kind of routine whereby you’re never too far from catching an idea or the potential for an idea when it presents itself. If it doesn’t present itself? Keep looking! Open your eyes, lace up your boots and get out of the house. The world is at your doorstep, with myriad poems and stories and all manner of ideas waiting around every street corner, in every park, up the hill and under the bed. Find them.
DO be prepared
Just because you feel the ideas aren’t there for the taking doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared at all times. We all have our favourite pens and paper, notebooks, applications and those little rituals that help us translate our creations into the written interpretive word. Whatever your personal favourites, have them on you. Don’t leave the house without that little pad in your back pocket. Remember to pack a pencil or pen. If you use a notes application on your phone, make sure your phone is charged. It is one of the worst feelings for a writer to have had an idea – a fleeting phrase or a couple of words – only to have no way of recording it. You’ll return home, remember that you had some kind of spark on that lunch break. It was a great line. No, it was the way that beautiful word jumped out when juxtaposed with that other word. But what was it? It may be lost forever. Be prepared.
DO be open
Writer’s block can have a knock-on effect, but you always have the means to overcome it. I stress again that if the ideas are not there already, waiting to be captured and put onto paper, you must make sure to put yourself in their way. Here is an example: I started writing this piece a couple of hours ago, shortly after waking up and eating breakfast. As I sat at my desk with my coffee, I knew I wanted to write about writer’s block, as I had recently gone through it for the umpteenth time and have now come out on the other side smiling (kind of). I had gotten to about the second “DON’T” and thought to myself: Why not head out of the flat now and finish this piece off in a coffee shop. After all, this is about preparing yourself as best as you can for new writing. So I lead by practice and consequently find myself here in said coffee shop, a short walk from my flat, drinking a good cup of coffee, occasionally gazing out of the window at the people going about their cold but bright Saturday morning, and generally putting myself in the way of it all.
So what now? Well, I can tell you one thing. Between here and wherever I may go next, and between there and the next place, and the next, I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open and my pen and paper to hand. Who knows what I’ll find…