Staring at a blank page, not because you don’t know what to write, but because you simply don’t know where to begin.
Tag Archives: writers block
Those three words mock me from the computer screen, rising from the page and burning my conscious. Although my book’s introduction has begun in earnest and its feels like the book is rumbling into some sort of existence the all-important title somehow still eludes me.
The title of any book is paramount for not only giving the perspective reader a vague idea about the book but to make it stand out on the shelf among its other papery competitors. What would you pick off the shelf; ‘some little people with hairy feet try and destroy a piece of bling’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’. It’s a no brainer. I have tried to remedy this problem and as such have piles of post-it notes forming a yellow carpet as they litter my room. None as of yet have stayed long in the unscrumpled state of existence as they all feel wrong somehow; too cheesey, too vague, too long, too boring, too short or too off topic.
I feel like Goldielocks and none of my titles are “just right”.
Regardless of the title turmoil progress is being made elsewhere. This week I finally returned to London to discover the verdict of the visa police’s conviction. I arrived in a constantly rain soaked London and trundled my way to the visa application centre, my fingers firmly stuck in the crossed position. This time compared to the last was blissfully easy; no queue, no questioning, no problem (for the story of last time click here). Opening each envelope containing the passports brought back the feeling of results day, wincing at the thought one of us might have been rejected. My worrying, however, was completely unjustified as each passport contained the ever so beautiful Indian visa. I thanked the cashier in a very overzealous manner and rushed out before they changed their minds.
I sat in a local coffee shop to celebrate with a cappuccino and calm down, as the adrenalin wore off realization hit, hard. It wasn’t the sudden realization that I was actually going back to India; it was the pressures that going to India carried. The pressure of making sure my friends coming with me have an incredible yet safe trip, however, the biggest pressure is the book. Like a parent living their lives through their children, I want the book to do so much, not just for me but for the people I will write about and Tibetan cause as a whole.
Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Will my friends actually enjoy India? Will writer’s block return to kill me? Will I ever settle on a title?
All I know now is that the days are ticking away and India awaits with all the answers….
Previously on the blog….
I’ve cured it, finally kicked that bastard writer’s block to the curb. How did I overcome it I hear you cry? Honestly, by lying on the floor, listening to loud music and wearing fancy dress clothing. Yes I am well aware I sound and look clinically insane, to be honest I think I probably am.
This practically bonkers idea came from one of my best friends, Hayley. She called me yesterday in absolute ecstasy, her reason? She had her mojo back. Not the Austin Power ‘yeah baby yeah’ type mojo but her designing mojo. She’s a fashion student and a cracking good one at that but as of late she’s had designer’s block, much to her annoyance. This was true until yesterday, with the catalyst of loud music and dancing, the wall of zero-inspiration came a crumbling down. It hit me that perhaps this method could do the same for me.
So I pumped up the beats and began to dance or rather jiggle about in my room (curtains firmly closed). I’m not much of a dancer and it didn’t aid the flow of inspiration merely adding to my personal worries of boogying like a dad. So the dancing was scrapped, perhaps for good if I value people’s sanity. I wondered around the house trying to think of ways to free my mind from these shackles, when I stumbled upon the fancy dress box (literally, my toe now kills) and a giant light bulb above my head flickered on. I’m not proud of what occurred next, if I was living in a sitcom world a montage would have been played as I tried on increasingly awful array of crazy clothes. I finally settled on a uniform for writing: Christmas socks, baggy McHammer esque trousers, a pirate t-shirt, a red bowtie and a beret. I felt certifiable but a hell of a lot more inspired so I sat at my desk pencil in hand, but nothing came, the dam was still impenetrable.
I sat there feeling mighty stupid and defeated, slumping back on my broken extremely wobbly chair the solution came to me in a Sherlock Holmes style way: “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”. Since every other reason for the block had well hit a block I concluded that the chair and desk were the culprits to the murder of my inspiration.
So as I write I am lying on the floor, Ellie Goulding blearing out of my sound system, dressed like an absolute Muppet. I’m cured thanks to the most bizarre concoction that would make any physiatrist raise an eyebrow, but, the main thing is I’m writing again.
Yes I do see the irony and cliché in writing a blog about not being able to write, but to be honest it’s either this or a blank page. I have been plagued with this halt of inspiration for a few days now and my usual cure of vat loads of coffee has done little to relieve me (except in the bladder sense).
So what is writer’s block? A definition I found states “Writer’s block is a temporary psychological inability, associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.” Not a laughing matter if this spat is the latter type of writer’s block….
Writer’s block for me anyway comes in waves, as inspiration wavers, usually through little mental stimulation or nothing of note occurring. It feels as if my brain flicks from one idea to the next, one may appear to be a genius line of thinking, then suddenly it fades and I lack the motivation to pursue it. I end up with pages with just titles on the top with no clue how to fill the rest of the page. For the last few days I have gone to my usual temple of motivation, coffee shops, however, the only thing that marked the pages after hours of striving were coffee stains accompanied by odd looks from the people sitting near me as I swear at the pages for being empty.
So until this period of writer’s block alleviates, here are a few famous writers and their remedies:
“I have to get into a sort of zone. It has something to do with an inability to concentrate, which is the absolute bottom line of writing.”
Roy Blount, Jr
“I think writer’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough, sooner or later something will come out.”
“The only cure for writer’s block is insomnia.”
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”