When asked; what is the hardest part of writing I will always give the same answer; WRITERS BLOCK! It is by far the most frustrating thing about the job. Especially when working to a deadline; I always set myself deadlines and most of the time will meet them. But when writers block hits it is like running into a brick wall. One minute everything is flowing; your fingers can’t stop the idea’s and words are flowing that well then out of nowhere it just goes and you are left staring at a screen and everything you have written just doesn’t look or sound right.
For any other author/journalist or any other form of writer who has experienced this; as I am sure you have in some form or another I am willing to bet you will agree that when this happens it feels like you could scream or cry, or in some cases both. For me I don’t know which is worse, when you are just starting a project or finishing it. Either way I have personally spent days looking for inspiration in some bizarre ways.
Take for instance when I was writing Mistol A New Beginning; at the time I was living in a studio flat, a good sized one granted but after a while even a good sized studio flat can turn you stir crazy. Especially as when I write I rarely leave home. In fact it got to the point that the artist who was working with me at the time would bring me in supplies. Now I don’t do drugs (I think they are a waste of time), and bar a stint when I was younger I don’t as a rule drink (maybe one every now and then) but I do have my vices. I do smoke and I do drink coffee (more so when I am writing). In fact at one point whilst writing Mistol several people mentioned I had dropped a lot of weight (mainly as my diet had consisted of Caffeine and Nicotine for about four months) NOT something I would suggest! In any case back to the writer’s block… I remember about halfway through the first draft I hit the block and I was heading towards a deadline I had a month to finish the next four chapters and I had only done one. Not too bad, couple of days and I could shake it off and keep going. Two weeks later I was banging my head against an actual wall; my daily deadline was 1,000 words a day, weekly 5,000 words which gave me two days to step away from the computer; it also meant that if I was under by a couple of hundred here or there I could make up for them. By the third week I was sat in the bathroom writing just for the change of surroundings. Still nothing came. I was in trouble; so as a last ditch attempt I did something that others may find strange.
Now again; this will sound strange but after three weeks of nothing I started talking to the characters. I would sit on my bed with a pen and pad and ask them where they saw the story going. I grant you that most of it was mapped out for me as I was rewriting it on behalf of a family who lost their daughter. She was the one who wrote the original manuscript. Which made it harder as Bannesa wasn’t there to give me direction. So as I spoke essentially to myself and jotted down notes of what I should have included, changed and taken out (baring in mind I wanted to keep it as close to what Bannesa had written as possible) I slowly began to build up the next chapter. After a couple of days of this I had the next chapter plotted out and was back at the computer, needless to say I did not make that deadline despite working eighteen hour days for the next week.
There are so many ways to tackle the block you have to find your own way. For me it is completely embracing the story; completely living it, allowing myself to be drawn in. For others it may be stepping away from it. It’s just a wall in your mind, there are so many ways to break it down, and so many people who have been there and can help. Just ask them; myself included.