I sometimes have too many ideas, I wouldn’t say this is a block as such. It’s like I cannot write quickly enough – and that’s the truth.
Ernest Hemingway famously maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing. But it was alright for him- he was Ernest Hemingway! He had a point though; after two and a half years of self publishing and almost five years of writing full-time I know that it is more important to actually write than spending all day talking about it. And by talking, you must know I mean social media, not just writing groups. Dorothea Brande agrees in her 1934 book ‘Becoming A Writer’ (I am recommending this book) when she said that although talking about writing can be valuable, too much of it is draining (a paraphrase of a quote).
I would much rather write than talk, my goodness, there is so much out there on the internet and I feel it has put me at risk of THINKING I have writer’s block, and I don’t. Do you know, the other day I finished doing all the formatting nonsense on KDP for my latest book Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue and then I wrote 31 first draft lines of a 40 line poem I have to write for my degree, and I still thought I ‘hadn’t written anything’ know what I mean?
Let’s find out what the experts say.
Larry W Phillips edited Ernest Hemingway on Writing this is a collection of diary entries and letters (Scriber 1984/2004) in it, Ernest Hemingway talks about some books being easy to write, some are like drilling rocks (not a direct quote). Thanks Ernest Hemingway, to me, that means GO FOR IT, sometimes it’s meant to be hard.
Stephen King hardly mentions writer’s block in his 2000 book On Writing from what I can glean. I read this book studiously three years ago and often return to parts of it. King talks about only experiencing true writer’s block when he was at university studying Creative Writing! His advice is to write anything you want to as long as you are honest (paraphrased quote) .
Dorothea Brande in her book I mentioned earlier talks about the ‘Artistic Coma’ again, this book is well worth reading. The Artistic Coma is about the importance of writers having time to dream- I love that, from that I took the notion that I am writing subconsciously, even when I’m not writing.
And what of the actual Creative Writing degree I am studying? The advice I have picked up, without directly quoting, is to leave your ambitions at the door when writing because they are not part of the experience of writing itself. I felt a whole lot better after realising this.
What’s my advice? GO FOR IT. If life events sabotage your writing time that cannot be helped, but worry not because more than likely, you will be writing subconsciously when you are stuck in traffic, or some other distraction. Rejuvenate those creative brain cells, make sure you read loads and if you still can’t think of ‘something to write’, then tough love is telling me to tell you ‘don’t’ – well not today anyway…
Happy writing, Samantha