Friday, 26 June 2009
Writer's Block: N M Browne
First of all I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in butcher’s block – I used to have one in my kitchen and plumber’s block – the kind that costs a fortune to unblock in my experience. I even believe in builder’s block the process whereby nothing can happen because the electrician can’t start before the plasterer, the plasterer can’t start before the plumber and there’s no way the plumber can do a thing until the electrician’s finished, but writer’s block, no. Writer’s block is the figment of an author’s imagination, an excuse for melodrama, existential despair and excessive drinking ; it is another word for idleness.
Secondly, I would like to explain that I am not personally ‘blocked’. I eat plenty of prunes, walk my dog regularly and, apart from the red wine, caffeine and chocolate habit, have quite a healthy life. The only reason I am not writing at the moment and indeed haven’t written for months is...
Well there’s the weather – we get so few nice days and I can’t see my screen outside and I can’t remember how to write with pen and paper – I get cramp just signing my name these days ( and not because I do so many autographs.)
Then there were the exams and the fact that now they are over, well,it seems only kind to let my poor overwrought children take over my work space. They do need to catch up on Facebook, MSN and Youtube so much more than I need to write a new novel. And again I think some ideas need to – how shall I put this - germinate slowly. This is especially true of ideas you haven’t yet had. The unthought story seed is as elusive as a windblown dandelion clock, that great high concept thingy waiting in some kind of inchoate state for the mind to be receptive enough to allow it to exist, needs time and patience. Of course this is not another way of saying I’m clueless, how dare you suggest it! I’m merely waiting, biding my time, not stuck at all.
In the meantime, I feel the author’s mind needs plenty of sunshine – to aid germination, fluid (preferably of the pink variety, rose, kir maybe even pink champagne) and rest. I also recommend plenty of visual stimulation, sales shopping is particular good for this as it also allows the writer to engage in useful imaginative thinking: this yellow, sleeveless sundress would look wonderful if I got a tan, worked out, lost the bingo arms, had breast augmentation surgery, botox, new teeth and wore very high heels.
What me? Got writer’s block? Whatever gave you that idea?