Friday, 8 June 2012

Writers Block Or Writers Cramp?

In My Craft or Sullen Art
By Dylan Thomas 1914–1953 Dylan Thomas
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages  
Nor for the towering dead
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of ages
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.
Dylan Thomas is widely regarded as not only my country's greatest poet but as one of the greatest ever. Yet he suffered the same indignity as the rest of us - writers block. He alludes to it in this poem when he speaks of the sometimes painful process of writing as his "sullen craft or art." Apparently he frequently laboured for a whole day just to produce one line. Having said that I would happily labour for a whole week if I could produce such lines as he produced!

Still the fact remains, all who strive to write have been in the same boat. So what do we do to overcome it? I do not claim to have a magic potion. Imagine if you could sell a cure for writers block? Given the phenomenal growth in the number of new Kindle authors appearing almost by the day it would not take long for the inventor of said potion to be relaxing on his yacht moored alongside his own island in the Caribbean. 

Back to reality! How do we tackle writer's block? 
  1. Forget About The Muse! There isn't one. Yes, there will be times when the words flow more easily but if you wait for the Muse's mythical call you will most likely end up like Greyfriars Bobby.
  2. Be disciplined. Set yourself a time and place and stick to it. Determine to write and take Winston Churchill's words, "Never give up, never give up, never, never, never," and make them your own.
  3. Set Yourself Deadlines. Start a blog and commit to writing a post once a week. Enter writing competitions and mark the final entry date in your diary.
  4. See yourself as an author. If you have committed yourself to write then you are not an aspiring author - you already are an author. Your novels are just waiting for you to commit them to print!
  5. Begin to build your audience. If you know you have a readership already waiting for your novel that is powerful motivation to persevere. My book Google+ eXplosion will help you reach your target market even as you write.
  6. Multi-task. This is definitely one for the ladies! If you have more than one project on the go then you can always switch from one to the other if you find yourself getting mentally bogged down and that brick wall is looming closer (pardon the mixed metaphors).
Let's just take a look at a snapshot of a few of my Twitter Followers:

 Michelle describes herself as a 'Paranormal romance writer about to take the indie plunge.' good on you Michelle - go ahead and dive straight in! R.W. sounds a bit like me and describes himself as an Epic Fantasy Writer. Gina is an 'Aspiring Best Selling Author' and this is really positive because she already sees herself as succeeding. Self belief cannot be underestimated. We should all try to visualise ourselves as being successful. There is one thing however I would say to all of them. Don't pigeon-hole yourselves.
 First and foremost you are writers whatever your preferred genre may be. In my last post I described how to download and use KF8, Kindles latest formatting tool that will enable you to embed pictures in your Kindle book. It is now possible to write graphic novels and picture books. Many of you have interests or hobbies that you could write about. Non-fiction is actually a more profitable area on Kindle for more people than fiction. If you enjoy say, creating rock gardens but see yourself as a writer of vampire based fiction why not write about both? If you feel yourself getting jaded take a mental break by switching to the other project. This will help you keep fresh and more importantly it will help you to keep writing. Writers write, that's what they do, that's how they master the craft and find their voice. It's how we grow.
Just to illustrate my point here are the projects I am currently engaged in, apart from my blog:

Billy lives in socially deprived community in the South Wales valley. A family crisis leads to the the discovery of an ancient family album. The secrets Billy uncovers within it's pages will change his life forever.
"A stern gaunt individual stared at Billy from a frozen distance in time. He wore a flat cap and crumpled baggy trousers. A long jacket covered what appeared to be some kind of vest. His dark eyes and hooked nose reminded Billy of  a hungry watchful sparrow-hawk. A long drooping moustache made him look miserable, as if he had just missed a kill. He could certainly do with a good feed. Billy couldn't imagine anybody messing around if he was headmaster. But what impressed Billy most was the fact he was covered from head to toe in what appeared to be black dust."
Ensure Children Succeed At Math

"The program teaches universal math concepts in a way that is totally child-centered.
Children discover math is creative and fun. Concepts are discovered through play, games and open-ended tasks and challenges.

The program is designed to compliment the way children learn best and because of this is invariably accelerated compared to children exposed to more traditional or formal methods. Math need no longer be the source  of stress or conflict in the home."

"Let’s just take a closer look at Google+ the new social media kid on the block. He’s growing up fast! When Google+ first appeared it grew by 10,000,000 users per week. It is now well over 150,000,000 and counting.
It’s still well behind Facebook and not yet nearly as attractive a place for the Big Dogs to promote their brand - which for us is great news!
There will come a time when Google+ will dominate the social media universe but for now the little guys, and those taking their first steps into the often confusing world of internet marketing, have the field mostly to themselves.
Although Google+ is not yet as active as Facebook it already has one great advantage. With little or no hassle it allows you to grow a list of followers without having to worry about auto-responders or squeeze pages and the steep learning curves that they demand."

As you can see I am trying hard not to pigeon hole myself. Let me just say, if you have an idea for a series of books or a trilogy or whatever, good on you. I am not arguing against creating a raft of books on the same theme or around the same characters - that would obviously be stupid - just asking you to consider diversifying to keep your writing fresh and your brain challenged. Billy is probably another year in the making, Google+ eXplosion will be available on June 28th while Ensure Children Succeed At Math is already complete but in need of formatting with KF8. I already have further projects in mind and once Google+ eXplosion is completed I will start one of them. This process works for me in defeating writers block but not writers cramp!

In the next post I intend introducing a new feature. I want to showcase new writers' work. This is not intended as a review but more of a showcase. All I require is a paragraph, a book cover and any link you wish to add. I have room for two more on next week's post so if you are interested send me an email with your paragraph - any paragraph you like - a graphic cover and a link to If I don't receive anything I will choose three people at random. You have been warned.

Now meet this week's  featured Indie Author: David P Perimutter

David's  book "Wrong Time Wrong Place" has only just been published on Amazon Kindle.

"Having lost everything, I leave memories of a London police cell behind me and head for Spain with its promise of adventure and fun. Little do I know that I’m about to be thrust into the most terrifying time of my life. Wrong Place Wrong Time is a gripping true-life story of an unimaginable nightmare and how my ticket to a new life turns out to be a one way ticket to hell."

David's book is available here:

In the next post we'll consider digging where we stand.

No comments:

Post a Comment