Sunday, 5 July 2009

Writer's Block

Does Writer's Block really exist?

My son Mike is home from Uni and after a couple of weeks recovering from flu (swine or not it floored him) and getting his breath back he's now on the job hunt. One thing he has to do is prepare a showreel of his work to put in with his CV.

No problem, you'd think. But he suddenly feels so blocked he can't get started.

Hence the question. What is the creative block exactly and why do we find ourselves crippled by it just when we need to go full steam ahead?

Well, I think a lot of times it's fear. I've experienced the same thing - usually when I come to the end of the mandatory research period and the time comes to start writing. On my first project I'd been researching the subject for years and had imagined the shape of the book for a long time, so you'd expect it to be a cinch. Yet, it was the hardest one to start. And I think there's a connection there. If you have invested a lot of time in the preparation you are going to feel more than a bit anxious the prose won't do your effort justice. And because it was my first attempt, I literally didn't know where to start.

One thing I'm currently learning from the revision process is not to be so precious at the start of the writing because I now know in all likelihood those first few chapters I worried so much about will end up in the bin anyway. This is a very liberating discovery. Nothing is so important it should be sweated over. Get it wrong, by all means, but you must GET IT WRITTEN!

But of course job hunting brings a whole new level of anxiety to the equation, so all I can do is give motherly encouragement and wish him the best of luck!

1 comment:

Sophie Playle said...

I totally agree with you - fear has a lot to do with writer's block!