... when creative blockage sets in, the blank page before you grows to the size of a tablecloth. The grey laptop screen seems to hum with malignity. You feel you have nothing of interest or amusement to impart to the world. Words refuse to shift – as they always have done hitherto – from the vast lexicon in your memory to the sentences half-forming in your brain. You can't for the life of you remember why your character X has fetched up in a Wyoming mining town when, according to the plot, she should be falling in love with her tutor in Cambridge. You have not the faintest clue how to begin the next chapter.John Walsh explores the phenomena known as "writer's block" in the Independent today, following British poet laureate Andrew Motion's admission yesterday that his own words dried up.
Along the way he finds that :
Some of the history's most famous, and prodigiously fluent, authors suffered temporary cessations of text: Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad, Katherine Mansfield.Perhaps Joseph Roth's story is the most remarkable :
(His) Depression-era novel, Call It Sleep, was written in 1934. Roth tried a second novel without success, and gave up writing to work as a firefighter,There are of course those authors who deny that there is such a thing, and I must say I like Will Self's attitude :
teacher and labourer. After his book was rediscovered by readers in the 1960s,
he resumed writing and, at 73, began a series of novels called Mercy Of A Rude
Stream. The first, A Star Shines Over Morris Park, came out in 1994, an amazing 60 years after its predecessor.
I have never experienced writer's block. Writing is a muscular action and, like any other, all you need to do is exercise the muscles. I don't even think of it as writing – it's typing.