by Sue Morgan
Sue Morgan is a dear friend and writer, and I appreciate her thoughtful take on the subject of writer’s block. I am proud to feature this piece on Life64. – ML
Not in the Mood to Write?
No, it doesn’t happen to me either. Only kidding, of course everyone comes across that dreaded block now and again…or even again and again and again and I have a few practices that help me to some degree.
My first line of action is just to get up and move around. A change of scene sometimes makes things shift enough in my brain to start the words flowing. This is usually just a walk to make coffee and raid the cookie jar, but if things are more serious a walk outside can really help. I live amongst rolling green hills with the view of mountains, within a hundred meters I am deep into an ancient copse of beech trees. It is difficult not to find some kind of inspiration here. This morning it was the ‘cute and cuddly’ spectacle of watching a mother squirrel show her youngster how to gather nuts.
A longer term block needs a different approach. I find that turning to another art form can help me at times, listening to music (try something you don’t normally listen to) or I looking through a box of art postcards that I have collected over time. But, the failsafe option for me has to be reading, anything and everything I can get hold of, books, magazines, cereal boxes…
I write mainly poetry though and I can almost guarantee to find enough inspiration for the next move through reading someone else’s poetry. I go through phases of having a favorite poet and so I will generally turn to the current flavor of the month first. Inspiration can come to me through their subject matter, an unusual turn of phrase or even a word. Sometimes, following T.S. Eliot’s old adage about imitation I will try to ‘copy’ a poem, using my own substitutions for various parts of language…sometimes just taking a poem apart to see how it works can throw up the most curious of effects. But, In the direst of straights I turn to the Bloodaxe anthologies edited by Neil Astley, so far he has never failed me.