Am I suffering from writer’s block just now? I don’t think so. I hope not. It’s just that I’m not entirely sure what story I want to tell and at the moment it feels as if the various component parts of my proposed novel are straining to get away from each other.
If that’s a kind of writer’s block, then this is my solution….
Before I start to write, I find it helps to put myself into something like a meditative state. You’d be forgiven for thinking that I was simply staring out of the window, but it’s the beginning of a process of submersion which makes my pulse quicken with excitement and my thoughts flow. I don’t breathe in a particular way, or chant, or focus on anything specific. I just allow myself to be. The only thing I need in order to achieve this is quietness.
If you are suffering from writer’s block at the moment, here’s a little exercise that you might like to try. I took the picture above when I was in Cornwall last week.
Think of it as the hidden slipway of the imagination. Picture yourself standing in the shade at the top of the steps, feel the grit of the concrete under your feet, imagine the salty, wiry grass and the scent of the ocean on the wind. Start to walk down, listening to the sound of your footsteps; perhaps you can hear a seagull wheeling overhead or the lumbering sound of a fishing boat’s engine. When you move from the shade into the light, you can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. You keep walking, down and down and down, beyond the steps, following the gentle incline into the sea. Spring hasn’t reached here yet and the water is freezing. It laps your ankles, then your knees, your thighs and your waist. It is cold enough to deprive you of breath and for a moment you feel precarious, still earthbound, your feet scudding into rocks you cannot see, but then you take a deep breath and launch yourself and the cold stings your scalp and shocks your brain into action, but already you have imagined all of this and as you start to float, to swim, you find that you are ready to write…
Now strike out from the shore and keep on going, until the tide turns and brings you home.