I’ve always wondered what it might be like to suffer from Writer’s Block. I’ve heard about it, seen characters in TV shows staring at blank screens, or glaring balefully at half-finished manuscripts, but it’s never happened to me. There have been times when I haven’t had time to write, and times when I’ve written myself into zombie-like exhaustion. But up till now I’ve found that just sitting down and writing something – anything – will get the words flowing again.
So today’s been a bit of a revelation to me. After a week spent working through some ideas for my next book, and finding that there were plenty to spare that I wanted to note down as well, I sat down this morning to write a blog post. And… Nothing.
I didn’t panic. Because I know what to do here, right? There are a few simple remedies, guaranteed to get me back on track.
- Go for a walk to the park/the shops/the post office. Who knew that the post office was such a useful place, even when you’ve no requirement for a stamp? Normally, just joining the queue is enough to get my brain back into gear and bursting with ideas.
- Comfort Food. As far as I’m concerned, tomato soup and cheese and cucumber sandwiches can cure pretty much anything.
- Take a long bath. Getting too wet to jot anything down is generally a good way to ensure that something worth taking a note of floats into my head.
Or I could try Agatha Christie’s remedy. She is quoted as saying that ‘The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes’, and after all that comfort food I’ve just eaten, there are dishes to do. (A few chocolate wrappers to hide, as well, but we won’t mention them…)
But today, despite all my exhortations to myself that there’s no such thing as writers’ block, and doing all the things that are guaranteed to fill the space between my ears with something other than fresh air, nothing seems to work. I’m beginning to realise that I haven’t taken any time off at all recently, and it’s time to spend a couple of days just smelling the flowers, and letting the well re-fill itself.
So here’s the question I want to ask. We all need ideas and solutions, whatever line of work we’re in, and we all have days when those ideas elude us. What’s your favourite remedy for when the ideas don’t seem to come?
[And, of course, there’s one thing I haven’t tried yet. The ‘Publish’ button, in the corner of the screen 🙂 Because as soon as I send a manuscript off, or click ‘Publish’, it’s pretty much a given thing that I’ll get an idea about something I really should have written and didn’t. So here goes…]