Ways round writer’s block

5 Aug

What?  Writer’s block?  Yes, I’ve been there before, too. Should be no such thing, old chap.  Or at least, staring at a blank page, banging your head against the typewriter (or computer, these days) has very good remedies. Supposing the detective on Drambuie absolutely refuses to move the plot forwards, or backwards, or sideways even – he’s too young to digress into tangents which eventually lead you back  to where you started. Whatever, let’s assume you’re wondering what on earth to write, and that blank page is blanker than a dummy bullet,  best thing to do, as everyone says, is write about something else. Your aunty Mabel. You suddenly remember she has a fondness for smoking pipes. Or something  ordinary like a day at the boring office job. You remember that the tea tastes like dishwater. Why? Alternatively, out there on the internet are dozens of creative writing prompts, some quite straightfoward, like write about your first day at school, or select a random three words from a dictionary and make a story by linking them – they must be included in the story. More bizzarely but definitely creative, think you’re a sock, or a pair of headphones. You’d be amazed at how that boring day at the office turns into an powerful discussion about how to make real tea and suddenly it occurs to you that the detective could be a tea ‘snob’, one of the suspects, like your dear old Aunty Mabel, has a fondness for smoking pipes ( maybe your character smokes something more colourful and pungent than tobacco). Even if it doesn’t fit into your novel anywhere, you could think of it as a piece of writing that could be used elsewhere. for example in a short story or poem or the start of another novel to be deferred until later – better some writing than tearing your hair out. It’s difficult enough re-writing your deathless prose.


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