Vox pop – July 2009

How do you go about unblocking writer’s block?

Fiona Thompson

The best way to cure writer’s block is to have a deadline in half an hour.

Roger Horberry

I’m not at home to Mr Block.

Rob Self-Pierson

Where do I start? No, really, someone tell me.

Severe writer’s block is only remedied by distance. If a page or screen seems to be getting whiter, it’s time to leave the pen, the keyboard, the room, office, house, town. I walk and breathe. I think. Then all the best ideas flash into my head. And I’m nowhere near a page or screen or pen or keyboard or house so I can’t write them down. So I curse. But when I next see the blank page, I fill it with my walk and something usually comes out of that.

The best writing sprouts from periods of blockage: long walks, loose thoughts then have another go.

Nick Asbury

The best cure for writer’s block is a looming deadline. Either that, or just lower your standards and get on with it.

Jim Davies, totalcontent

‘I Wanna be Sedated’ by the Ramones. Three times cranked up to 11 usually does the trick.

Rachel Lister

Find a cat and stroke it, you’ll emerge all wordy from the purring alone. Failing that sit on the top deck of a bus – this works best if you’re not going anywhere in particular. Somehow the lack of a physical destination acts as a catalyst for a mental one.

John Simmons

Follow Nike’s advice – “Just do it”. Do a rapid burst of automatic writing on the subject you have to write about – that means you write and write without stopping. Use a pen or pencil on paper, write whatever thoughts come into your head. From that you might just take one word, or one phrase, but you’ll have started, you’ll have something you can edit.

Martin Lee

Sorry, I need more time on this.

Sarah McCartney

As some of you know, I’ve been writing about Lush products for 13 years now; some products have now appeared in the Lush Times 52 times. I’ve written 52 descriptions of Bohemian lemon soap, I get quite a few people calling to ask if they can buy me coffee and pick my brains about how on earth I don’t dry up. (So many, that I’ve started to run workshops on keeping your inspiration topped up (please excuse small plug there).) If you plan ahead and constantly try new things, noticing – and noting down – feelings, experiences, changes, lovely things, and charge up your creative batteries with films, art, music and friends, then you’ve got a lot of material to call on when you’re stuck. For me, observation leads to inspiration. Picking up a good quality notebook and a fountain pen gets me started. I’ll scribble things in different parts of the page. Current favourite is one that has blank pages, squared ones and lined ones for different kinds of thoughts. It’s not the same as a word processor; one word doesn’t have to follow another in a nice neat line. Then again, when the chips are down, I do find that a deadline unblocks anything that’s standing in my way.

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