Friday, 7 October 2011

A cure for writer's block?

I know I (foolishly) claimed a while back that I don't suffer from writer's block. Turns out that I do. Only mine is not a case of sitting down and having nothing to write. I use writing prompts to get going and take it from there.

Mine is an odd internal resistance to writing. It's finding excuse after excuse, day after day, for not putting in the few minutes I promised myself I would. I don't know why I have been battling this. (Okay, not so much battling as capitulating.)

Only it turns out that I do know why - that there are lot of reasons, from being discouraged by my lack of success to being distracted by my wonderful but ubiquitous iPad and its many wonderful apps.

Actually, I think I knew about those, but I unearthed plenty more yesterday: it just so happens that I was on the chapter of The Five Minute Writer which deals with the "I am not writing because..." syndrome. You write down your reasons, then you write down positive statements to counter them. Things like, "I may not have been published yet, but plenty of people have enjoyed my work, including one or two agents." (Cheesier things were, in fact, suggested, but I didn't quite have the stomach for them.)

It sounds like a load of nonsense, doesn't it? The idea that this should somehow get me writing again? I only really did the exercise to assuage my guilt at having let yet another day go by without my daily quota.

And yet, today, I have found within myself the self- discipline to switch off the internet on my main computer while I wrote, and then agai later while I watched the West Wing and then wrote. (I have, in fact not checked Facebook for, oh, three hours now.) And lo, the West Wing inspired me again. This morning, I did a writing prompt and continued until after the timer had gone off. This evening I typed up almost 3,000 words and now I only have 12,000 to go till I can resubmit to the agent who liked me but wanted a longer book. Most of that is not new writing. But the inner resistance has gone. I want to write again. And now I feel like me again. And mightily relieved.

Now, it could be completely unrelated to the exercise I did yesterday. After all, as all West Wing fans are aware, "post hoc ergo propter hoc" (after it, therefore because of it) is hardly ever true. But hardly ever is not the same as never.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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