HELP! WRITER'S BLOCK APPROACHING
By Georgia Wright
Collage by Brittany Hendry
Q: Writer's block: Do you suffer with it? Do you have any tips to help me get my pen back to paper?
First of all, I want to say yes. Yes, of course, I have encountered writer's block, and any writer that says they haven’t is lying. Personally, I spend too much time in my own head. I will see a girl, or a building, or a change in the light- and instantly think about all the ways that I can turn them into a story. When it comes to my writing ideas when I find one I really believe in, I become totally consumed. Mid-conversation I’ll drift into the world I haven’t even created yet, with characters I haven’t even named yet. Mostly this results in my girlfriend hitting me on the arm and saying something like “I’ll just talk to myself then shall I?”
But I think it’s the same with all people who love to create, not just writers. I think we all become consumed in our own way, which is why any kind of creative block is so unbelievably frustrating. Your frustrations should be eased though, by remembering that not only is it totally normal to be uninspired, or resentful even, of your own work, it is what is needed to remind you that nothing you are doing is easy. If it were easy, everyone would be writing masterpieces and hanging their paintings in The Louvre.
The first stage of dealing with and overcoming your creative block is accepting that it is always bound to occur. The second thing to do is to remember that it will only ever remain in that moment. If you’re a writer, think of all the words you have ever written before the moment in which none are coming out. Remember the last time you wrote something you truly loved- where all the words seemed to fit perfectly into place, only meaning more to you, the more times you read them. Go back and read that piece. Remind yourself that you are indeed capable of writing, and it is just a temporary moment in which you cannot.
"Not only is it totally normal to be uninspired, or resentful even, of your own work, it is what is needed to remind you that nothing you are doing is easy."
The third thing to do when you’re struggling to create is to do anything else. Sitting at your computer waiting for the words to come out isn’t going to force them to. For me, the best remedy for writer’s block is a coffee and a cigarette. Yes, smoking is bad kids so please don’t take up the habit if you haven’t already. It is not the cigarette that solves the problem or the coffee even. It’s the notion of doing anything else that doesn’t revolve around you trying to pull art out of yourself. Like wading through treacle, the sweetness comes once you stand still, stop fighting and let it swallow you whole.
If all of the above fails, there is a technique that has yet to fail me. I find one of two books- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, or Patricia Highsmith’s Carol. After finishing each book, everything seemed to change around me then. I read them both years apart, Sargasso Sea being the first book to have ever stayed with me after I finished it. Carol, leaving me with the same unshakeable ache of admiration and inspiration that told me I had again been changed by a book. The books that make you feel this way will be different to mine- if they’re the same then let me know and we’ll go for coffee.
But whatever piece of art it is that made you feel something first before anything else, find it and feel it all over again, when that happens I find it’s hard then, to keep the words in.