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Unblocking Writer’s Block

March 11th, 2011


Calvin: You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.

Hobbes: What mood is that?

Calvin: Last-minute panic.

I couldn’t have put it any better – some of my best work spouts out when I’m squeezed by tight deadlines. Gone are the days when writers were supposed to be the temperamental sorts with sudden creative flashes. These days, armed with a Delete button, the race against the clock seems to produce erratic, but edited, brilliance.

This has taught me an important lesson about writer’s block – it doesn’t exist. (Pause) OK, it does exist, but only in your mind, and is nothing more than a congestion of your creative cavities. And certainly nothing that cannot be cleared by the following fast-acting decongestants.

Type away!

When we claim we are struck with the mighty block, all that has really happened is that we are merely afraid to write something ordinary. I know; that word can have disastrous consequences for a writer’s fragile self-worth when you find yourself spewing dull-as-dishwater words instead of creating foamy, fragrant, bubble-water words. Regardless, keep typing – if you don’t write anything, what will you work your magic on?

Get away!

Surf the Net, read a magazine, or play a game. The aim is to stop thinking about whatever you’re writing about and do something else, so when you come back, you find a new angle for the writing. Do come back though, when you’ve had enough time away!

Start any way!

On his blog, my tutor, Alex Gazzola, has written about what a mistake it is to wait for inspiration to strike before writing. Inspiration evades the best of us sometimes, so without pushing yourself to write that magnificent opening line that sets the pace for the rest of the writing, just start any way you can.

The more you push yourself into writing, and disregard the other factors surrounding it, the more you are bound to have copies of work that you are proud of. And when nothing works, try nasal spray – it really may just be a blocked nose!


Shefali Sunderan Harsha is a student of the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course. She is also a freelancer who writes for magazines, consults on e-learning projects, and provides editorial expertise for a living. These are mostly what come between her and WB assignment submissions. To provide tips on how Shefali can stop being lazy, give better excuses, or to gently chide her, you can contact her through her blog at http://discordantthoughts.wordpress.com.

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