I’ve been struggling with a chapter in book three for weeks. It’s not like me to get so stuck. I know the action that I want to happen, but for some reason my brain has stopped effective communication with my fingers. I think there’s some kind of war going on between them that they haven’t told me about. It’s like having two naughty children who have declared each other mortal enemies over some small spat and there is just no talking to them.

I’ve tried it all

– I’ve ignored the book for a few days hoping I can come back to it refreshed

– I’ve physically forced myself to write even though I know the words are awful and will need a heavy edit

– I’ve tried reading a new book to see if that will spark the imagination.

None of it has helped.

I don’t want to call this writers block, because as I said before, I know what to write, I know what happens in the scene/chapter, I’m just struggling with the ability to write.

Then I had a mini breakthrough. A small nugget of character dialogue popped into my brain and I know precisely where it belongs, right at the end of the chapter. So I wrote it, leaving a big gap between the linear parts that are done and the bit I’m working towards. All I have to do is fill in the stuff in-between. Now I have that goal to work towards it feels as though a fog has lifted and as soon as I have the time to focus on it properly (preferably without being bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep), I know I’ll be able to move on.

So next time you’re stuck, try the back-to-front approach. Write the end point of a scene/chapter/entire book and with any luck it may clear the miasma of ineffectiveness.

Good luck

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?

The Hump

A camel has one. I’m told I get it at least once a month. Some roads have them to slow people down. None of these are the subject matter for today’s post.

If you have ever sat down to write anything of length, then I’ll wager you’ve experienced ‘The Hump’. I am not talking about writers block, which I consider to be a different kettle of fish. Writers block happens when you don’t know what to write. ‘The Hump’ happens when you know damn well what you’re going to write, you just-can’t-do-it.

Call it apathy, call it laziness, call it Irene, call it whatever the hell you like. It exists. Sadly.

Can I give you an easy way to get around it? No.

Can I give you a painfully horrible way to get around it? Yes. Why is it painfully horrible? Because it involves sitting your backside down – UNPLUGGING from the internet – TURNING OFF the TV and mobile phone and any other distractions and just fucking writing.

If you scream “I don’t wanna” at this point, then ok. I’ll give you a small respite. If it’s that bad, there is nothing wrong with taking a break. A short break. Two days tops. Why? Any longer and the apathy will make a nest in your brain and start breeding baby apathy creatures with wings but they can’t fly. The Apathy Dodo. You don’t want those, no matter how cute they sound. So, go take a couple of days off and come back to me. I’ll be waiting…

You done? Good. Go back and do as you’re told and sit down, shut off from the world and start typing. New sentence.

“Character X woke up, the first order of the day - trying not to sneeze. He’d been sleeping so long and drunk so much Dodo juice the night before that his bladder was at bursting point. The little fleck of dust on his nose had just reached the top of his list of enemies.”

Do it.

Go wake up your characters. They’ve been sleeping too long and they won’t thank you for it. Once you climb over that awful hump, you’ll find the nice slidey part the other side (shush ‘slidey’ is totally a word).

Happy writing.