Writer’s Block

I get writer’s block all the time. Sometimes I use it as an excuse to lay down my ‘pen’ and forget about the piece for a while; do something else – which usually means either sticking the tv on and adopting that semi-vegetative state which constitutes relaxing for me, or else reading a book, or baking a cake.

If the block goes on for months (as has happened), then I use the downtime on my novel to write short pieces or flash. Some of these I stick up on my website.

Lately, I have learned that leaving my novel for months is not a good idea. I get nothing done. Well, ‘duh’, you might say. The thing is, I only realised recently why I got writer’s block – and it was because something had gone wrong in the last chapter, or the current one. So I now know to go back to where I was last in the zone, and try and identify where, from that point on, I went wrong. Sometimes it’s because the characters are acting out of character. Sometimes it’s because the situation they find themselves in is of my making and not theirs.

I don’t delete the wrong scene or dialogue, I save it in a file so I can use it at another time, or  maybe glean another story from it.

I was stuck yesterday on a chapter. Today I sat down and re-wrote it and I am much happier. I expect I will get stuck again, but it’s Christmas soon which means I can relax with a glass of bubbly…


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