I have been struggling with the curse of the scribblers recently, the dreaded Writer’s Block. So I heeded Mr Bukowski’s* advice and am writing about it.
I have come to the conclusion that mine is due to Congestion Block. In a five minute car journey, can think if hundreds of topics, plots and places, that I would like to home in on and write about. Then, as soon as I sit down in front of the keyboard, the big freeze takes over my brain.
I have been reading through some of my old, dusty and, mostly, rejected manuscripts recently. Looking for inspiration? Or am I trying to remind myself that I used to churn out a short story a week? And I would achieve that during the course of an evening after work. I have always thought I would rewrite them one day. They maybe 20 years old but the plots are all there and I would be able to incorporate the twist of 20 years experience and savvy to make them work.
When I was starting out I had someone, affectionately known as ‘My Guru’, who offered me unwavering encouragement and advice. She painstakingly ploughed through all my manuscripts, taking notes, then passing on her handwritten comments to me. It was enormously helpful and I have kept all her notes. I am a squirrel at heart. She was the driving force behind my various attempts to get published. Once, when referring to the excellence of Ellis Bell ‘Esq.’**,she laughed and said that at least I didn’t have to disguise myself as man to get my masterpiece published. Well, I confess I have used pen names, because I thought they sounded more sassy than my own, but not a bloke’s name. Writing is not a male domain any more.
Sadly “My Masterpiece” is still a long way off getting published. I need to harness my train of thought. I have to stop my brain flitting and floating. It did give me heart when I read recently that J K Rowling’s original Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by no less than 12 publishers. I bet they are kicking themselves now! I do realise there is chasm of literary prowess between J K Rowling*** and myself which is not just Writer’s Block, but if I could achieve an nth of Ms Rowling’s success, it would make me one very happy blogger.
“I’ve only suffered writer’s block badly once, and that was during the writing of Chamber of Secrets. I had my first burst of publicity about the first book and it paralysed me. I was scared the second book wouldn’t measure up, but I got through it!” (J.K. Rowling. Chat, October 2000)
I guess Writers’s Block, along with getting your head around the rejection letters, just comes with the territory. You will get through it, because you can’t stop thinking about it. So thank you Charles Bukowski, I have just unblocked nearly 500 words. It’s a start.
Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer.
**Ellis Bell (pen name of Emily Brontë)
*** J K Rowling
31 July 1965 (age 49)
Yate, Gloucestershire, England
Pen name J. K. Rowling
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater University of Exeter
Genre Fantasy, tragicomedy, crime fiction
Notable works Harry Potter series