First blog of 2016 and I’m rolling out the big guns. This “issue” has affected virtually every writer who has ever existed at some point in their writing experience. It’s upsetting, distressing and can leave you in a rut for months if not years.

Do I have a solution?

Not directly, BUT, I would like to offer a different perspective. Thinking about it a different way has helped me to get through these moments a lot quicker.

The majority of time wasted in writing involves us making a decision.  I came to a full stop the other day when I had to name a new character. I wasted over an hour trawling through my facebook friends names and baby names and name generator sites until I got the answer. That’s a whole bunch of time wasted on one small issue. It would have been easier to stick a placeholder in and keep on writing.

Bigger decisions need a different approach. Consider you have put character X and Z into situation A and we want to move them to situation B. A and B might be a universe apart physically and/or conceptually, so the journey between the two needs to be seamless. The trouble comes when we don’t know how it happens. So we sit and stare at the screen and then go waste time on social media whining about writers block. None of which is going to help you fix the problem.

If you’re a plotter, the answer is easy, just keep writing down options and ideas until you find the one that fits best and then go write it.

For me, the only way I get out of this is by forcing myself to write. I’m not much of a plotter. I’ll make vague notes about certain key points that I want to hit over the course of a book, but the rest is pure flow. The solution is virtually the same, stop worrying about the how and just start writing. If the first thing you try doesn’t work then don’t be afraid to delete and start over. Frustrating as it may be, it’s part of the process, a necessary evil.

Once you know WHAT you’re writing, the block will pass.


Write on!


Anyone can write. I don’t care if you have a low grade ability for English (or whatever language you speak), or if you’re dyslexic, or have a master’s degree in writing, all it takes to be a writer is imagination. The rest comes with time, patience and practice.

Not everyone can write successfully.

It’s a lonely profession. As much as there are writers forums and groups and we join and share our progress (or lack of) and discuss all manner of writery things, when it comes down to it, when we’re sat staring at a blank page or screen, the author is alone. Doubt creeps in through the little cracks in the corners. You can get to the end of a three hundred page epic and think, “boy, what a crock of shit and waste of time.”

You spend half your time with a crippling fear of failure and the other half worrying about success.  On occasion, when you’re not stressing over these things, you manage to drop a few words in. Writing is hard work. There are days when all the plotting you’ve done falls to pieces. When you realise you’ve got a gaping great hole in the middle - DESPAIR! There are times when you want your character to do something or go somewhere but you can’t seem to make it happen naturally – DISASTER! There are times when you realise the whole section you’ve spent ages writing needs to be cut completely taking your word count back to where you were three weeks ago – WHY DON’T I JUST QUIT NOW?

Writing is torture. It’s a horrid experience from start to finish with the occasional nice bit in the middle where everything goes right. It does very little for your self-esteem and while we spend hours daydreaming about being the next JK Rowling or Stephen King, the reality of our situation is dreadful. There are too many of us flooding the world, writing our hearts out. No matter how good you are, there will be many more who are better and even they struggle to make a success of it.

Why then, do we subject ourselves to it over and over? Are all authors would-be masochists? Possibly. Do we enjoy the suffering of the process? Not really. But you know what’s worse? Not writing.

I can’t not write. It’s like a drug. There are words inside my brain scratching to get out and if I don’t write them down then I feel sick. That doesn’t mean I write all the time, no matter how much I want to, there are times where I can’t write a thing. Those are the really bad times, when you want to write but for whatever reason, you just can’t. Writing impotence. Not fun. Writing hurts, but not writing is worse.

Blood sweat and tears are our bread and water. No-one tells you that. After all, who would dare admit to such pain and anguish?