Nicola Monaghan's news, events and general thoughts about life and writing.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Writer's block

"Maya was stuck. That’s how she liked to think of it; stuck, like when you come up against a particularly difficult maths problem at school. She refused to use the word blocked because that sounded too serious. It sounded like something that could happen to an artery, or to your windpipe. It sounded like something that could kill you."

A short snippet from my work in progress, about a pop star on the run. It's interesting to be able to write about the creative process but remove myself from the equation a little. I'm finding out lots about what I really think. Bizarrely, quite soon after writing this, I got a little stuck myself. A few bumps in the plot became difficult to negotiate. I find train journeys useful for this, or cafes, a change of scene can make all the difference.

Sometimes, not thinking about the problem for a while is the best answer. Your subconscious keeps working then, without interference, and it's a clever beast. It's my excuse, anyway, for long walks and staring out of the window.

Writer's block is an important part of the process, I've always found, unless it lasts too long and stalls you completely. I'm fortunate that's never happened to me. But I do perhaps wonder if thinking about a blockage can be self-fulfilling and lead to more serious problems. I'm wondering if some alternative terminology might be useful. Intellectual regrouping. Subconscious planning. Or just being a bit stuck. I think Maya's right; it's a healthier way to think about it.