Monthly Archives: February 2012

Overcoming “The Block”


I don’t mean the reality tv show based around renovating a set of old houses, I mean writer’s block. It happens when you sit in front of your computer and stare blankly at the screen. Maybe you know what you need to write but you just can’t bring yourself to start. Other times it may be that you know you should write something but there is nothing in your head. Is there a systematic method for getting over it? I think so.

What is the trick?

I think the trick is probably different for different people. As it turns out I’m rather disciplined person with a strong will and the capacity to force myself to do thing even when I don’t want to. I can clench my jaw, suppress my feelings and get on with whatever it is I’ve decided needs to be done. I discovered this super power when I had finally had enough of being over weight. I made myself go to the gym and work hard and a forced myself to eat only greens, lean meat and low GI carbohydrates. When I was feeling hungry, when I was craving a pizza, I clenched my jaw and told myself I didn’t need it, that I had consumed enough nutrition for the day, and I pushed on. So I do this when I’m stuck. I just start writing a sentence. Make it into a paragraph and keep going. It often feels awful and I fidget and get easily distracted, but I continue. Sometimes it is like that until I think I’ve done enough. Most of the time I forget that I’m forcing myself and I just get into it. This is the same way I run marathons. I know where the end is and I know that if I put one foot in front of the other enough times, I’ll get there.

What else might work?

I’ve spoken with others and they look at me with pity in their eyes and sometimes a little awe. This is how I know my way is not the only way. When I’ve asked what they do I’ve been surprised and I look at them with pity and sometimes a little awe. It seems other people regain their focus by going for a walk and listening to music or by picking some random topic to research on Wikipedia (or … gasp … in the library). The theory being that you can distract your brain from whatever lock it is in and get it moving toward your goal by subterfuge. Inspiration may hit while reading about the political intricacies of the lead up to the first world war.

Are you stuck? Have you been stuck?
Did you use a different method to what I’ve mentioned? I’d like to hear about it.

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Progress


It’s been a few months since I last prattled on about my progress. It’s all well and good for me to sit around saying how much of a writer I am but if I’m not writing then I’m actually just a reader. So I finished revising The West Queen and sent it out for beta readers to have a look at. They’ve come back with some useful critiques and pointed out some good changes I could make. But I’m moving on.

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Is There Another Way?


For the past one or two hundred years authors have been paid based on each sale their books make. In many ways this is a fair way to do business as it rewards merit and those that are more popular get more money. However it discourages diversity and penalises those who have trouble, for whatever reason, in bringing their books to market. Is there another way to compensate content creators that is not directly tied to book sales?

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The Secret Inner Life


In trying to make characters more lifelike we often push hard to examine and explain to the reader the character’s feelings. However, if it were that easy we wouldn’t need psychiatrists and therapists would we? Sometimes we feel inner turmoil, a struggle with something that we can’t understand. Sometimes there is just a coiling feeling of ‘something’ that gnashes and claws at our guts, pushing us to act, to do anything to try to relieve that feeling.

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