There is no such thing as writer’s block – end of story.
Anyone who says they have this so-called affliction is just being lazy and stalling for time.
If you call yourself a writer then that is what you do – write, about anything or anyone. The key to becoming a good writer is simply to write.
I have held many classes for creative writers and I always start with one simple exercise. I tell my students to choose any object in the room – a pencil, book, glasses case or whatever is within easy reach. Then I ask them to describe that item – the way it looks, feels and smells or even tastes. Take a pencil for example. It may be six inches long and painted red with a logo. It may be a lead or coloured pencil. It could be blunt or sharp. If it has been recently sharpened perhaps you can smell the wood shavings. Then you might think about who used the pencil before you picked it up and what they may have written with it. After a few minutes you have a description about a seemingly ordinary object and you have a little story.
When you have a bigger project such as the beginning of a book, or the opening of a chapter, simply write. Our minds are always ticking over and quite often you know what you want to say but you just can’t find the right words to put on the paper. So start with the wrong words, any words, but just start writing. Once you get your initial thoughts on paper you can come back later and rearrange the words to mean your intention. If you think you don’t even have a thought, then you are wrong. The thought may not be related to the subject of your book, but right down your thoughts anyway. Once you start the process of writing then the right words will come to you.
Like actors, a lot of motivation and ideas for writers come from observing people. To get inspiration, take yourself off to the local bus stop, train station or shopping mall and just sit still and watch the passing parade. You will get descriptions for your characters – what they look like, the colour of their hair and eyes, the clothes they are wearing, the things they do – and you can create your own characters from the people you observe.
Always carry a little notebook with you and keep a pen and paper by your bedside. I often have great ideas last thing at night but would never remember them if I didn’t write them down before I go to sleep. Sometimes in the morning the idea doesn’t seem as great, but at least it’s there in case I need it.
In summary, there is no reason for anyone to ever say they have writer’s block. If you are truly a writer, then you will always find something to write about. The more you write the better writer you will become.
CARMEL McMURDO AUDSLEY – AUTHOR: FAERIES, FARMS AND FOLK
Carmel McMurdo Audsley is an Australian Journalist, Editor and Author who lives in Brisbane with her husband Iain.
Carmel has written, and had published, thousands of news stories and feature articles and has now turned her research and writing skills to digging up the past and breathing life into the characters she finds. Her first historical fiction novel, Ours, Yours and Mines, about the mining families of Ayrshire Scotland, was published in 2012 and captured the hearts of readers as the story unfolded about the harsh living conditions in the mid-1800s and the sad loss of life. Far Across The Sea continued the story with a young man from Scotland travelling to the sunny shores of Australia. Carmel’s third book, Faeries, Farms and Folk, details the lives of farming folk in the south-west of Scotland who were uprooted from their ancestral homes at the time of the industrial revolution. The books are all based on Carmel’s family history. She now devotes all her writing and editing time to producing Scots News Magazine for ex-pat Scots in Australia, and researching and writing historical fiction.