Reading in Library

Writer's block?

So far, I’ve not had a problem with writers block.

But I do have a problem of the old procrastination-beast rearing its head. When I find soooo many other jobs to do instead of sitting down and writing. Why does this happen? There are so many memes and posts out there by other writers who procrastinate about their writing. So it seems a bit of a trope for writers of all kinds.

The process of writing is fun - for me anyway - most of the time.

Yet there are times when it is difficult, like when I’m trying to knit together the ideas in my beats so that they flow. This is when it is most important to keep going. Even if you end up just writing a few paragraphs of hideous dross, it doesn’t matter - nobody else ever has to read it!

But you have to get through those tricky bits to get to the bits that flow really easily. And unless you’re actively working on your writing, then the ideas will dry up. It is almost as if the inspiration fairy decides you’re not worth the effort and goes off to find someone else to sprinkle their creativity dust over. So if you want your muse to stay around, keep working on your writing, as often as possible, daily ideally, and things will begin to flow again.

Another tip that works for me is to skip over scenes that are giving you a headache. It can be tempting to keep trying to work on it, but if it isn’t flowing well, then don’t get bogged down in it. Just mark it ‘such and such happens here’, then carry on writing the next scene and go back to the sticky bit later - even if that is a few days or weeks down the line. Chances are, something will come to you in your sleep, or the shower, or when you’re driving.

Good idea then, to keep a notebook or your phone handy so you can dictate into it what your idea was, otherwise, you know, by the time you get to it later, it’s gone like a puff of air. (Which leaves you howling into a pillow with frustration).

Writers block, or severe procrastination, definitely happen when our lovely inner critic takes over. You know the one: the voice that tells us our writing is rubbish, that we should give up, that we’ll never amount to anything and we are wasting our time. Yeah, that one.

You can give this inner critic the boot (at least temporarily, as they do play a useful role, when tempered, later on in the editing process), by ignoring them. Easier said than done? Possibly. But not impossible. The trick is, to just write. It doesn’t matter what the quality of that first draft is. It is part of the process of getting that incredible story out of your head and down onto paper. It will evolve. It can be edited. It will be made better.

But the first draft, or even the second or third, is not the place for perfection. You need to get the shell of the story out and then it can be refined and added to and perfected. DO NOT edit a first draft until you’ve got to the end of your story. If your inner critic starts bleating that your work is rubbish tell it: ‘of course it’s rubbish, it’s a first/early draft!’

Lastly, find the time of day that is your best fit for writing. It might be really early in the morning, it might be really late at night, it might be anywhere in between. What it is likely to be, is a time when you are undisturbed, at peace with yourself and you don’t have spouses, kids, pets, friends, relatives or work nagging at you for attention. You must put aside that time for you and your book, no matter what. And don’t be worried if you only write three sentences. At least you did write.

Have fun!

Claire x